Drink’in With The One On High
.....Glancing over at C.S., I could tell I was in trouble. She was sitting alone and I was sure she thought I was ignoring her. I told Sara and Tom that I had to go to the bathroom, and then went to see how C.S. was doing. By the look on her face, I could see that she was not in the best of moods. “Can I get you a beer,” I said. “I’m going for another one.”
“Yeah,” came the reply, “and while you’re at it how about bringing that hunk of a man you’ve been talking to back with you, or perhaps it was that darling little girl you were talking to. Well? Don’t give me any bullshit, either. You looked like a kitten going after mother’s milk. You embarrassed both of us. Haven’t you heard the word discreet before?”
“We were just talking, that’s all,” I said. “What did you expect? This is a party. If it bothered you that much, why didn’t you come over and join us? You probably would have gotten bored, though. We were talking about astronomy.”
“You didn’t have to tell me that,” C.S. shot back, “From all the way over here, I could see the stars in your eyes. Why is it that guys drop to their knees and become asses, especially some guys, when a new skirt shows up? Why is that, anyway?”
“Shit! That’s not fair,” I said. “She, Sara, is an intelligent, not to mention talented, girl. You know, every once in a while it’s nice to talk to someone different, especially when she knows what she’s talking about.”
“What the fuck is that suppose to mean?” C.S. shouted. “You don’t like talking to me? Or is it that talking to me doesn’t make you drool. Shit, next time we talk remind me to hold up one of your Playboy centerfolds. The problems of the world ought to get solved with that conversation!”
“Fuck this. Go get your own beer!” I said. “I’m going for a hike.”
“Take the puppy,” C.S. shot back. “Do something useful. Don’t worry about me. The party is just getting started.”
Holding on to the puppy, I walked past Sara who rose to get a better look at the puppy. I was embarrassed. I told her the puppy and I were going exploring. She nodded her head, and handed me her fifth of vodka, “Here, take this,” she said, “I think you need this more than I do.” I thanked her and took a swig. “Yeah, I think you’re right,” I replied, and then I walked on, holding the bottle in one hand and the puppy in the other. I never looked back.
I needed time alone. I was glad I had left the party, and there were at least three hours of sunlight left. The fifth was still half full, and once I reached the trail, I put the puppy down, and took a long, choking, drink. I had never hiked these hills before. It was always exciting to hike in the Black Hills. You never knew what to expect. You might stumble upon old bottles, Indian artifacts, or even abandoned goldmines—all leftovers from the gold rush days in the late 19th century. You had to be careful, though; the allure of the unexpected could get you in trouble, especially if you were already half drunk like I was. In fact, in no time at all, I became helplessly lost. Hoping to see something that would get me back on the path to the cabins, or at least to civilization, I climbed to the top of a mountain. The climb--not to mention the fear that overcomes you when lost in the woods-- sobered me up. I had carried the puppy most of the way, and it seemed that I had been lost for way too long. The puppy, for sure, wasn’t up for this kind of hike.
From the top of the mountain, I could see a trail below, as dark clouds were rolling in above me. I was apprehensive, but not yet ready to panic. I decided to walk down to the trail and follow it, but first I would rest. I took another drink from the vodka bottle, and looked down at the puppy that was fast asleep at my feet. I looked up at the sky and started to move slowly around the puppy. I did not want to be lost; I wanted to be back home, in my own house, away form all the tension that had arisen between C.S. and myself. I continued walking around the puppy, looking up at the clouds, and then back at the sleeping dog. The vodka started to go down easier. I felt like I was in some kind of trance, and then my head started to spin. As I stumbled, and fell to the ground, I became angry. I looked up and screamed, “Hey, big guy, what are you looking at? Some poor lost drunk, or a joke for your amusement? Do you even care? Is voyeurism your thing? Aw come on, everybody has to get their kicks some way. I’d offer you a drink, but that’s kind of hard to do. I guess I’ll have to drink for both of us. Wow, that’s good stuff—too bad you can’t enjoy it too. Tell me; am I really worth your time? I mean, malcontents abound. I’m sure there are more interesting ones than me! Do you hear me. Admit it! You don’t need me. And, I sure the hell don’t need you. There, now we’re event!”
“Wait. Before you go, before we end this little taa-do, I have a question. Why so shitty a job with creation? What were you thinking? Being God and all, why did you have to stack the deck? Why so much unfairness, unhappiness? It’s first class for the few and table scraps for the many! Talk about shortsightedness! I mean, take me for instance, when you handed out brains, why so stingy? Talk about a short shift. Oh, by the way, you missed me in the “talent line” also. You must have been on coffee break. But, hey, we need all the Mr. Mediocres of the world—right! Maybe to make you laugh? Forgive me if I’m not amused, though. Down here there’s not much to laugh about; know what I mean!
“You just love playing with loaded dice, don’t you. We get a heart, and then you fill it full of holes. Why so little contentment anyway? What’s that all about? You’d think just getting through the bad times, the hard times, would make us happy. But noooo—no satisfaction there. For Christ’s sake, there’s only so much to go around. Those who can-- take, those who can’t, get diddly squat. You did that—what a guy! Oh, by the way, I haven’t forgot about love. Your generosity was overflowing there, or is it lust I’m thinking of? Excuse me! I know the real thing exists. I got a crash course in it, remember? But why is the grass always greener on the other side of the hill? Of course it is. You should know! You created it that way.
“‘Lucky in love, unlucky in life,’—bullshit--if lustful urges and roving eyes don’t sabotage love, then the lust for wealth, fame, and glory will. Where’s the fairness? Where the justice? ’Survival of the fittest,’ you say. Believe me, if I were given half a chance, I could have created a better world than this. Don’t give me that crap about freedom. Right over wrong, good over evil, that’s all bullshit, too! Brains, brawn, and cleverness—determine good and evil. That’s the way its always been. Reinventing good and evil has always been the privilege of the ‘ruling class.’ Go ask the Indians! Blankets for land, oh sure, smallpox infested blankets for the white man’s manifest destiny. The ‘good guys’ won—right! Don’t get me wrong; I can appreciate a good thing. We wouldn’t be having this conversation if the Indians had kept their land. But wait, you know more about that than I do. The church, your church, burnt the ‘witches,’ and ‘heretics’—right! In the end, advantage always goes to the clever, the powerful, and, unfortunately, to the cruel. And what for—a better life, an afterlife? There’s a trump card if ever there was one. Things may be shit now, but wait; in heaven everybody gets their reward! Is that it, is that your ‘Sola Scripture promise,’ your Christian message heard round the world? ‘Trust in the Lord,’ and rejoice in the glory of eternal life. Really, trust the one who offers a never-ending feast of the weak to the strong. Yeah, that makes “good sense!” No thanks! I don’t feel very trusting today, but if its trust you want, trust in this: keep your false promises, corrupt henchmen, and love, unconditional or otherwise. I don’t need that shit anymore. To false hopes, great expectations, and love gone sour—I say goodbye, good riddance. Enough already! You can stay in your precious ‘PahaSatvaMountains,’ you and Carole Sue both. Not me, though. I’m out of here. That’s my pledge! With this last drink of vodka I seal the oath---let it be done. It is done!”
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