Drinking Without Driving

Greg looked out the window in disgust. There was nothing for him inside except the booze. He blindly reached to the table beside him, feeling around until his fingertips brushed the smooth glass of the bottle that he so desperately needed. He took a long swig and set it back down, the drops of liquor glistening in his mustache. He swiped the back of his hand across his mouth and dropped it back to his lap.

The only sound in the room was his heartbeat, echoing in his ears.

A thought struck him, and he stood up abruptly, swinging his arm around to grasp the neck of the bottle. He took it with him downstairs.

One of her high heels was abandoned in the stairwell. She used to be so fashionable, before she had the breakdown. He kicked the shoe through the railing and continued down until he hit the bottom, in more ways than one.

The cab he hadn’t thought to call was waiting outside the front door. Must have belonged to a neighbor, but Greg got in anyway. They could call another one.

“Fourteenth and Marks,” he said, and tipped the bottle up to his mouth again.

“No drinking in the cab, buddy,” the cabbie announced, watching in the rear view mirror.

Greg shrugged and finished off the bottle before opening the door just enough to toss the empty out to shatter on the sidewalk.

The cabbie shook his head, but drove off.

When they arrived at the junkyard, Greg threw twice the fare at the cab driver and got out without a word.

He wandered through the broken cars, the pieces of lives gone awry somewhere, somewhen. The tall grass that grew up within the longest abandoned machines whispered against rusted panels, waving softly in the wind.

Greg sat down on the hood of an old, once-blue Plymouth with the right rear fender smashed beyond recognizability and wished that he still had that bottle.

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