It’s Friday, and you know what that means. New Fiction from the Kid, that would be me, Hannibal.
I’m posting three pieces of Fiction today, and this first one is the very first Creative Writing project I shared in public. In 2005, I had a Fiction Writing class and this was the first one I had the class read and critique, and they liked it. When I wrote it, I didn’t know where it was going to go, it was just a project to try to get a character from Point A to Point B and keep it interesting somehow. Later on, I added a second portion to it, but today is just the first part which is very close to how it was presented to the class.
When I was editing it last night, I really enjoyed it. It’s a little quirky and cynical, like me, so I think it’s a great representation of my literary voice. But you be the judge of all that. ENJOY!!
“Call It A Night” by Hannibal Alexander
“You know, I kinda wanna die tonight”
“What?” Alex blurts out in response.
Those are the best words I could come up with, and I know that they weren’t the best. Not that it even matters, Alex doesn’t care, which is part of the reason I blurted it out. The biggest reason being that I had way too many drinks already. Alex has had a lot too, but that’s not the reason he doesn’t care. He just doesn’t care about anything concerning me. I mean we go to the bar sometimes after work, like right now, and we do talk a lot at work. But he’s older than me by about 9 years. He has a family. He has his own shit to think about. So I guess I can’t blame him for his lack of concern. I can’t even pretend to pay attention when my little 12 year old brother is talking, so I can’t blame him for not wanting to hear a 24 year olds celebration of death speech.
“Yeah” he says sarcastically as he takes another swig from his beer. And I think he rolled his eyes while he turned his head away from me to get the attention of the bartender.
“Are you getting suicidal on me now?”
“No, I‘m not going to kill myself” Am I? I take a sip of my Vodka tonic and pull out a cigarette from my pack that’s laying on the bar. No I’m probably not.
“Well good, I didn’t want to have to worry about your crazy ass on top of everything else I gotta deal with”
“well… Thanks! ?” I say, not really sure I should have even said anything.
“But, do you know what I mean though.” I say, unsure of why I’m continuing to stress some point that I didn’t even make clear. I guess it’s more interesting than talking crap about our boss, like we do all day or any other time work guys are out with me. They are so boring, I hope I never ever get that way.
“Man” he says, as if he’s about to give me some big motivational, life changing speech.
“Life sucks. Deal with it” He shakes his head while he chuckles and pays the bartender for his beer.
“Damn man your genius” I say sarcastically.
“No man, just… lighten up. You been out of it all week. Try to have some fun… Hey! Go buy some new clothes. You always like doing that and coming into work and showing off” he starts to laugh. And in my defense, it’s not that I show off. It’s that those guys at work have such a good time ragging on me for paying attention to my looks. Alex is always lecturing me about how much money I spend on clothes. His lectures are so condescending, like I don’t know that I should save more money, or like I didn’t know anything about managing my money. Well, I guess I really didn’t. And, I guess I still don’t. Point is, I have a dad to lecture me already. I don’t need two.
“Shut up. And, I don’t have any money to do that”
“Get some shampoo, wash that long hair” he says and starts to bust out laughing “Make it all shiny”
What’s his problem? “What’s your problem?” I blurt out. That’s another thing, they love making fun of my hair at work. I’d swear those guys were jealous of me or something.
“I’m just joking man, but what else do you want me to say?”
“I just thought you were gonna give me some great advice or something, and your just making fun of me … as usual”
“Josh, be creative. You’re a young a guy you can think of something stupid to get into.”
“With who though”
“Oh god! Okay so I thought this was us going to get drinks after work. Not a Joshua Banks pity party. Because I probably wouldn’t have come”
“I’m sorry, I wasn’t trying to make it that.”
“Well you did kid.” I hate that, when people refer to me as “KID”. I’m practically a grown man. Practically.
“But I gotta go” he says as he chugs the last of his fifth beer down. “It’s already 7, and my sister in law and her husband are over.”
Alex gets up off of his bar stool and puts his jacket on, and begins to walk towards the entrance.
“Are you staying here? Or you gonna walk with me to the bus?” Alex asks me, stopping in his tracks waiting for my answer.
“Yeah, I think I’ll have another drink or two. There’s nothing to do at home right now”
“Alright man… well, lighten up I’ll see you at work Monday right?”
“No. I’m off on Monday, I’ll be there Sunday though”
“Damn, Sunday. Well, you said you don’t have nothing to do at home anyway so… I guess I’ll see you Tuesday”
“Alright, I’ll talk to you than”
Alex makes his way through the crowd in the hole in the wall bar. The place is packed, but now that Alex is gone I feel all alone and out of place. I know a few of the people in here, mainly just by their faces. A lot of us from work have come here time and time again, and some of these guys are friends of my co-workers. But I barely remember them, and I’m sure they don’t remember me.
The bartender comes and clears out Alex’s area, clears his beer from the bar.
“You want another one” she says to me, pointing to my drink that’s almost done.
“Sure” I say, maybe I should try to drink myself silly. Alcohol poisoning, or maybe I’ll get so drunk that I’ll stumble into a car or something? At least I’ll be lifted before I “go”. Or, maybe not. I’ll probably just end up barfing my insides out. I hate being sloppy drunk because it’s like I have no control over what comes out of my mouth, or what I do with my body. And I’d rather not revisit that feeling tonight.
The bartender comes with my drink, I smile. I should go. But, I take a sip of my drink. It’s not that the drink is so strong, but I kind of gag once I swallow. I basically just scared myself by thinking of throwing up, so I start to get ready to go. I put my cigarettes in my pocket and get up. I put on my big, old winter jacket that I used to love, but am a little embarrassed to be wearing now. I grab some cash to pay for the drink, and throw in a little tip. I head out.
On my way out of the smoky little dive bar I notice some dude that is a good friend of one of my co-workers. We’ve actually hung out and conversed at this bar before. I forget his name, and don’t really care to remember it right now. I’m actually trying to dodge out of here even quicker so he won’t notice me. But he’s standing almost right by the entrance talking to some people so it might be hard. Hopefully he doesn’t really remember me, or maybe he wants to avoid me just as much as I want to avoid him tonight.
… he doesn’t.
I walk up to him, an average height, average weight, average looking white dude who looks like he wears the same average thing every time I see him. A boring brownish polo shirt and cargo pants. I mean, cargo pants? Who wears cargo pants anymore? I give him a hand slap and suddenly remember his name is Larry.
“Whatsup” I say, not looking at him, but at his four guy friends he’s hanging with tonight.
“Hey nothing much… what you been up to man?”
“Same ol same ol, work, go home, go to sleep and do it all over again” My typical response in the ‘I don’t really want to talk to you, and you really don’t want to talk to me so let’s just end this… soon’ situation.
“I hear you… How late did you work today?” He asks
“I just got off an hour ago, but…” I gotta end this … NOW! “… I pulled a 12 hour shift, I’m hella tired man.” And I try to show tired on my face, but I’m pretty sure it looks like I’m faking it.
“You on your way out” He asks, just noticing I have my big jacket on.
“Yeah… I’ll catch up with you later I’m sure”
“Alright than Josh…” He quickly turns back to his friends, to talk about me like a dog I’m sure. Or maybe not. Whatever it is, I don’t care because I’m going home.
I walk out of the bar, go left up the block and now I’m on the main street where everybody is having fun. Coming from or going the movies, out to eat or just even enjoying each other’s company. I become disturbingly overwhelmed by the fact that I’m alone, and all of a sudden I can’t wait to get home. I look around, and see about three couples walking past me. I hate seeing couples when I’m single. I see the groups of high school and college guys just having fun and laughing at what seems to be nothing in particular. I’m wondering, if I went over there and just started talking shit to them like a crazy person, what they would do? If they happen to be crazier than I’m pretending to be they might try to jump me, Hmmm. Oh well, they wouldn’t kill me. I’d have to go in the middle of some gang land for that. I’d probably just get arrested if I started anything with these guys.
I walk up the main street. No particular place to go, just seeing what happens. I’m still hoping there’s a chance I’ll haphazardly walk into some fatal accident. Fatal and quick. And painless. That kinda stuff happens every day. I guess. I mean I don’t have any statistics, but I’m sure there have to be a lot of freak accidents, like a loose electrical wire that fries somebody. Or like a slab of concrete falling 50 feet from some construction site. That would be wonderful right now.
“Josh” I hear somebody shout while I’m daydreaming about death. It’s my little cousin, who’s running towards me.
“Derek, what’s up? What you doing out here?”
“I just met up with some of my friends… Damn that’s a nice jacket cousin”
Is he serious? “Are you serious? This piece of shit”
“No serious, I was looking for one like that the other day. They don’t make them like that no more, when did you get it?”
“I don’t know a couple of years ago” Two to be exact.
“No wonder” he says, sounding a little disappointed that he can’t dress like his cool older cousin. Yeah right.
“So what are you guys doing, watching a movie or something?” I ask, it looks like he left about three guys to come and talk to me. They are sitting by the bus stop area.
“No, we’re going to this party tonight. You wanna come”
“A high school party?” I say, I hope I didn’t show too much in my voice, but I’m pretty mad he invited me to hang out with kids.
“Well, yeah. I mean, it’s a party for his cousin. Her 20th”
“She cute?” I ask, not really caring. Even if she was cute, she’s probably not cute enough for me. And she probably already has a boyfriend or something like all the rest of the good ones. I’m not going to no party tonight no matter what
“I guess” which means no.
“Man, come on. Mitch is gonna be there” He says, practically begging now. Mitch is his friend from high school who is like the 17 year old version of who I am now. Fun to hang around when I’m in the mood to be entertained by teenagers, but I’m definitely not in one of those moods tonight.
“Tell him I said, hey. But I’m sorry cousin I can’t go tonight”
“What you got to do?”
“Nothing, and that includes partying”
“Man, why are you acting like that all the time man. You used to be fun”
“Cousin. I got work, you’ll understand when you get to be my age.”
“I hope not” He looks away, pretty irritated by me now, he looks over to his friends who are signaling him
“Oh I think my bus is coming. You sure you don’t want to come?”
“No, have fun. I’ll see you around.”
“Alright” he runs off and catches up with his friends.
Maybe I should have gone, but who cares. I wouldn’t have had any fun anyway. I feel like I’m not capable of being any fun tonight.
I’ll just go home. I take out my pack of cigarettes and light one up. This is a guaranteed 10 years off my life right here. Too bad it doesn’t kill me quicker. Damn, I hate being in these depressions. I can’t enjoy anything, not even my cigarettes. Only thing I love to do is go to sleep. That’s what I need, to sleep for about 10 years and then just to wake up, aware. And hopefully happy.
But for right now, I’m gonna take the pathetic bus to my little pathetic house. I’ll probably make a little pathetic snack and let my TV watch me fall asleep. There are still a lot of people on the streets, but I guess a bus just passed because there’s only this fat little dorky guy sitting down on the bench. I sit down at the bus stop, still puffing the last of my cigarette. Thinking if I want to chain smoke, it always seems like a good idea when I’m drunk. But I reconsider.
Oh what the hell. I’ll probably be waiting forever for the bus. I light another cigarette with the cherry from my last one and start to drag. What a boring ass life I have, going home on a Friday night and it’s not even 8pm. I just want so badly to just be put out of my misery. But, like for everything else I want, I guess I’m gonna have to wait. Alex hit it on the nail. Life sucks.
© 2014 Hannibal Alexander