to Jenn

To get this bad must take a serious imbalance of the humors: I find myself in Mission Beach– like literally in Mission Beach– waking up with half my face in the sand; a gnarly gash in my knee; dry, caked blood all down my shin; missing a flip-flop and burrito all over my shirt and beard. How many days have I been on this bender? I know it all started Friday at the Coaster with their $2 drafts. That's it. I'll blame it on Leah, the bartender. She keeps 'em coming like an assembly line, and that's why I got so tanked. Alcoholics have very creative ways of blaming their iniquities on other people.

I get up and stagger around a bit. Usually this is where I go grab a beer, but this time my body's making damn sure I know this ride's over. Dry heaves kick in as I check the wallet– still got a few bucks left. How much did I start with? Five, six hundred? I could've bought a flat screen or flown up to San Francisco for the weekend and a show at the Fillmore. I could've paid off my credit card. But us drunks don't think about that kinda stuff till after the fact.

My phone says 8 AM, and from the date I know this thing's been going on for five days. Five days of complete inebriation! An entire work week– like it's my frickin' job! Pathetic. Pathetic. I also see I called my ex-wife. I can only imagine what kind of stupid was coming out of my mouth. This is the last time I'm doing this. Once this hangover's gone, I'm controlling the booze! Not the other way around. I'm gonna get active and find a purpose. You'll see.

Finding a cab this time of the morning's a challenge, but I manage. "Hey, homie, I'm headin' downtown– Front St. exit," I tell the cabbie. And as we head south past Limberg Field, I look out at the Harbor Island Sheraton and the tranquility of the bay. This town's the epitome of sublime– so replete with opportunity for adventure. Most people on this Big Ball O' Blue can only dream of such a place. This guy driving me, I can tell he's from Somalia– a country with no government, where day to day life is challenging and precarious. And here I am– squandering away Paradise by living in a bottle. Utterly depressing.

After he drops me off at my condo in the Gaslamp, I go upstairs, draw the blinds, turn off the phone, put the TV on real low and curl up on my couch trying to disappear. That's when the cold sweats start, and it ain't sweet summer sweat from dancing in the courtyard. It's the putrid, viscous, endocrine and alcohol based daiphoresis from the skin helping an overburdened liver expel toxins and dead cells from my body. I wish I could dance to forget.

Some time later, flashes of memories kick in: getting tossed from the Beachcomber, getting comped at Sandbar, getting denied at the Pennant, telling Hayley I'm obsessively in love with her, asking Laura to show me her feet. People must think I'm a wack job, and maybe they're right; but I'm gonna change from now on. They're gonna see that I'm different. They're gonna see that I'm normal.

The dry heaves become unbearable. My body convulses like an epileptic. I try to yack to feel better, but nothing comes up. There ain't even bile left in there. I drink a little water 'cos I know I need it, but I can't even keep that down... That's right. I have poisoned my body so badly that my stomach rejects anything I try to put into it in a mad, desperate attempt to make itself better. At this point, all effort is exhausted, and I just lie there– one noxious and useless heap of flesh.

Anyone whose been through this knows what comes next: Short naps give you periodic reprieve from this torment, and the next day you feel good enough to at least go outside and walk around– have a smoothie and some water. By evening you can even stomach a small, healthy dinner– soup or a wrap. You're getting well. That night you only sleep three or four hours, but you wake up feeling reborn. Detox complete.

I jump out of bed and seize the day– start with a five mile run in Balboa Park and sweat the good sweat. Rejuvenated, I go home and take my first shower in a week. Then I hit the book store and spend hours reading at Embarcadero Park wondering, Wow. How have I been missing out on this? Today is the first day of my real life.

Evening rolls around, and my hunger's back in full force; so I go to Nicky Rotten's for a burger and contemplate a beer.... No. Not quite yet. I stick to water. Later in the night, I hit the Gaslamp Tavern and Bareback Grill for the Laker game, sipping O'doul's the whole time. Kobe wins it with a buzzer beater. This can't get much better!

I hang out a couple more hours, then head home sleepy like a baby. I'm gonna zonk out like a rock tonight, and it's gonna feel great! I strip down to my Dickies and crawl into bed thinking about the coming morning. Maybe I'll kayak La Jolla coves or rent one of those stand up paddle boards and cruise Mission Bay or hike Cowel's Mountain and savor the Elysian panorama of this Heaven. I'm out of the dark haze of alcohol, and my life is blessed as I doze off....

That's when I hear 'em. The people. The LOUD ASS drunk people. The bars are letting out, and the streets are filled with drunk chicks and kooks screaming and yelling a cacophony of idiocy; and their obnoxious dissonance suffuses into every corner of my pad.

It's okay. They'll be gone soon. Don't get mad.... But they don't leave. They just keep getting louder and LOUDER and LOUDER!! These cantankerous imbeciles are infuriating me beyond explanation: couples fighting, bad music, horns, alarms. I snap! I get up, turn on the lights and pace around, breathing all tense and heavy.

Keep calm. Any other night you'd be right there with them or so drunk, you'd sleep right through this; but tonight's different. And these dumb ass cops with their siren blips and bull horns only exacerbate my rage! It overtakes me....

I'm aware of what I'm doing, but it's a detached awareness– like looking at myself from the outside as if in a movie. I open the drawer of my night stand and grab my .357. It's nickel plated stainless steel with a wood grip. It's got a six-inch barrel with an adjustable rear sight and fiber-optic red front. It holds seven rounds. And yes. It's fully loaded.

Sticking it in my waistband, I head outside. As I watch myself, I don't even wonder what my intentions are because I know I have none. My actions are purely automatic, irrational and irrepressible.

I am in a state of psychosis.

I get two steps out the main door when I hear it slam shut behind me. At that instant, reality swings around and cracks me across the skull like a two by four. I suddenly come to my senses and realize I'm standing in the middle of the Gaslamp Quarter naked save my Dickie's, locked out of my complex with a partially concealed loaded gun and dozens of people all around me. A brief moment of panic ensues. Then I run to a garbage can, pull my piece, stick both hands in the trash, empty the cylinder into one hand, pocket the cartridges and dig around for a bag, big piece of paper– anything to wrap the pistol in. People look, but I'm mostly invisible– just some deranged hobo looking for a snack. Finally, I come up on one of those styrofoam to-go boxes with half a sandwich in it. I dump the sandwich, box up my gun and get out. Yeah. This bum found what he was looking for, and he wishes it was only food....

As I sit in front of my complex, I wonder if this is what they mean by "rock bottom": When you've destroyed your life so thoroughly with your drug that sobriety actually makes you worse because it removes the one and only thing that allowed you to hang on to the last tiny strand of sanity you had left. When people who once loved you reject you because you've hurt them so many times, they lost faith. When all the other wonderful experiences and potential of your time on this planet fail to make an iota of difference in the massive void in your soul because nothing but your drug can fill it, and you know that that "fulfillment" is temporary and false. When you encounter this hard, irrefutable, conclusive and final truth: There is no hope for you– not the remotest chance of atonement, redemption or expiation. I have utterly failed at every good thing I have ever attempted in my life. I am as worthless as the garbage I just dug through.

There is no light that shines from me.

Mercifully, a neighbor staggers up. He doesn't even notice me as he opens the door, and I walk in behind him. Back in my condo, everything's the same yet so different– so surreal. In this very place I briefly lost my mind. It was only a few moments ago, but it feels like ages. I take my .357 out of the box, set her on my dresser and stare at her. Some voice keeps telling me to look up in the mirror. Look up and see yourself! Gaze into your own eyes and do some deep soul searching!

But there's no way. Not right now. Right now I just keep staring at my revolver with full knowledge of exactly what it is I have to do. Before I lose it for real. Before I make innocent people pay for my transgressions. This will be quick. This will be easy. And the world will be better off.

I take the bullets from my pocket and reload my revolver. This thing I'm about to do–it's the only thing I know. And I'm too damn stupid and weak to learn anything else.

I take my gun, put her back in her drawer and head straight for my liquor cabinet.

More like this:


SDaniels June 24, 2010 @ 9:39 p.m.

Hey, beermonkey! Are you chokin' on your brew, laddie?


David Dodd June 24, 2010 @ 10:13 p.m.

Hemingway writes a story in six words, and beermonkey writes a winning blog entry using three letters randomly repeated yet somehow pronouncable, in one invented word comtaining 11 letters total. I call that pure genious.


SDaniels June 25, 2010 @ 12:45 a.m.

Agreed, refried! And as beermonkey, who may be taking a break from his career in championing public beach drinking, in order to try on a life of Dada, might reply:


[wipes foam from upper lip]


beermonkey June 25, 2010 @ 9:09 a.m.

Hey! You guys just don't understand! I accidently posted that 'cos I'm still trying to figure out how to save a draft, and that was a test save– not intended to be posted! How, oh how, do I delete it?

I write in a spiral bound notebook, in pencil. Then I transcribe the text onto the screen as I edit. And I'm very technologically challenged. So quit making fun! You guys are mean! Help me instead. Once I get this right, you'll be blown away by this story.


CuddleFish June 25, 2010 @ 9:44 a.m.

At the top of your post, to the right, you will see letters in red: Edit This Entry. Click that link and you will see your post in a box, with a preview of how it will look just beneath.

Click your mouse inside the box and edit the text to whatever you want it to say, then look at the preview and if you like what you see, then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the box that says the public can see your post, then click the Post button below that.

If you don't want to post it yet, click the box that says Save as draft, then click Post. Or if you look at the preview and there are things you want to change, then work inside the editing block until you are ready to post.

After you post, if you still see changes you want to make, you can always go back and click the Edit This Entry link to return to the editing feature. BTW, HTML tags work here.

Hope this helps.


MsGrant June 25, 2010 @ 9:47 a.m.

Beermonkey, you can draft your story in a word document and then just cut and paste it into the blog entry area. Looking forward to your story.

Hey, SD and Refried - quit being mean!!!


CuddleFish June 25, 2010 @ 9:53 a.m.

If only Beermonkey knew, he'd probably leave well enough alone and never post again.

Get out with your laurels while you can, beermonkey!!!


Grasca June 26, 2010 @ 10:32 a.m.

What is genious ? I cannot find this word in my dictionary.


CuddleFish June 26, 2010 @ 12:04 p.m.

beermonkey, whatever you are trying isn't working ...


David Dodd June 27, 2010 @ 5:59 a.m.

Hey, Grant, I called him a genius. Tell me I'm wrong now...


Grasca June 27, 2010 @ 7:01 a.m.

I thought the word used by FG was "genious."


MsGrant June 27, 2010 @ 8:31 a.m.

I stand completely corrected, refried!! Now this is my kinda story.....


a2zresource June 27, 2010 @ 11:28 a.m.

RE #5:

Sometimes previewing a blog isn't exactly what others will see once it's posted, especially when the too-smart preview gives too much information on HTML links.

I love it when the blog editor just ignores the recommendations it offers on italics or bold and just spits out a bunch of asterisks! (Or maybe that's been fixed by now?)

Isn't it funny how, after MyFarce came out with its newer enhanced rich-text blog editor, everybody just left?


nan shartel June 27, 2010 @ 11:34 a.m.

hey Refried...ur always right...almost...right again homey!!!


SDaniels June 27, 2010 @ 5:23 p.m.

Beermonkey, good job getting the text in--now you'll find that it's those damn html tags that really bite it. And you know we were just passin' time, waiting for your blog entry with baited breath!

re: #6: You're coming in late, Grantie. refried and I were only gently teasing beermonkey, whose blog entry read only something like "ftwrwrwrwrwrwth" for a couple of days.

Now, as to the actual entry!

Beermonkey wrote:

"There is no light that shines from me."

Oh yes, there is. You bet there is.



MsGrant June 27, 2010 @ 5:57 p.m.

HAHA!! I read the original post of 11 letters and was just responding to the author's pleas to not be so mean. I was trying to be funny, because lately I've found a kind of high-school thing going on (not you two!) and wanted to cap on it as a joke. This was before he posted his actual blog, which I love!!


nan shartel June 27, 2010 @ 10:14 p.m.

what is it that makes a drunk with a gun so intertaining???


Robert Johnston June 28, 2010 @ 10:46 p.m.

The first part of this thread reminded me of the song/video by Ministry--"Just One Fix." Only this was an alcohol self-detox, not heroin. Either way, it is best not to eat before witnessing such a event. Watch the video, and you'll figure it out, baby!

Oh, a couple of other points:

1) A .357 Magnum cartridge is usually fired from a revolver (the only semi-auto I know of that fires the .357 Mag is the Desert Eagle). The cartridges are located in a cylinder. You unload said weapon from the cylinder, not the barrel.

2) If this is supposed to be funny--I'm not laughing one iota. Sorry to say this, but drunks, tweeks, and other substance users/abusers are about as "funny" as standing up in church in the middle of a sermon and telling the pastor that both he and God can "Suck It!"

You know that you have hit bottom when you blew your rent-and-grocery money on your four best friends: Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Ron Rico, and Captain Morgan. You really know you hit bottom when your actions mandate "12-step meeting" attendance as part of your probation, and the meeting president has to sign off that your were there for the entire group.

Having lived with a wife that was battling substance abuse (I even went to her meetings with her for emotional support), there are only two outcomes here that I can see.

Clean up your act...and start living --OR-- Face the unholy trio of: Incarceration, Institutionalization, and Internment After Death.

Up to you, Bubba!



beermonkey June 29, 2010 @ 12:37 a.m.

First; Cuddle, Refried, nan, Grant and SD; thank you all very much for your technical help and compliments! You guys are awesome! And SD, if that's your pic, you're an absolute doll!

Placa, thanks for the correction in your first point. I don't know how missed that. I totally spaced. I'll correct it right now.

But, I have no idea why you would get the sense I was trying to be humorous. What kind of comedy have you been reading? Let me explain something to you: IT"S A STORY. It's fiction designed to make folks think and generate emotion. While I do have some experience with binge drinking, it's nothing like that of the character in the short. And I've never been booted from Beachcomber or snapped because of the loud people downtown.

Oh, and I don't own a condo in the Gaslamp... or a liquor cabinet... or a gun. So chill out, homie! You're scaring me!


nan shartel June 29, 2010 @ 8:32 a.m.

aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh...we's just lovin' up on ya cause u lit a literary fire under us Beermonkey

in some stange way we have this alcoholic literary genius thing in our head right now

our friend John Brizz is a very cool writer somewhat in the genre of this piece and he's in hospital right now much debilitated and unable to write as much before

ur blog kinda raise that standard again for us

and ur just a ding dong good writer

also ..we see comedy in anything...the break in the tension of the piece we instill for ourselves

keep writing here wilya homey...pretty please with sugar on top...hahahahahahaha


nan shartel June 29, 2010 @ 8:34 a.m.

and we've been reading DARK COMEDY ;-)


Sign in to comment

Win a $25 Gift Card to
The Broken Yolk Cafe

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!