Jeremy T. Melton
ENG 102—College Composition II
Jerry Baker, Instructor
Assignment: Write a personal essay.
There is a four-hour period in every late night that seems to last forever. It is between two and six in the morning, just after last call and an eternity before first call. To any normal person this is time for either slumber or the next day’s preparations, but to my friends and me, it is when things just start to heat up. This is when we gather to consume ridiculous amounts of alcohol until we can see the sun rising through the bottoms of our tilted empty bottles. Typically, the arrival of daylight signals the end of this debauchery, but this day we ignored that.
Apparently, I chose shag carpet to stretch out on and get in a few winks. It appeared that Tucker had made a better choice, since I could see his enormous feet dangling off the end of the couch just above me. Tucker is huge, both physically and emotionally. Given the right motive, he would not think twice about throwing a fierce head-butt in your direction, immediately followed by his most sincere apology. No matter what the situation may be, you want him on your side.
It was around ten in the morning when my eyes cracked open. Between the two of us, we must have drunk enough to kill a small horse the night before. Under these circumstances, I knew it would be a while until reality reared its ugly head and bit me in the ass. I figured the best defense against this was a preemptive strike. “Tucker, are you awake?” I asked with no reply. “Tucker, wake up!” this time with some meaning as I took hold of his big toe and pulled it down toward me until the joint popped.
“Hmmm.” he responded, with all the enthusiasm I have come to expect from the modern drunkard. As I staggered to my feet, the first wave of my hangover hit hard, barely leaving me upright. It felt as if Judas Priest were performing a sound check from inside my skull. “Wakie Wakie Tuckie!” I said, when really somebody should have been saying this to me. “Hmmm… is it time for more whiskey?” he asked, with a voice that cracked from too many cigarettes. He took the words right out of my mouth.
Hopping into my vintage Jeep, I took the reigns as we set off to the nearest liquor store. Happy hour was about to start a little earlier than normal. As we browsed the shelves like two kids in a candy store, we talked of what it would be like if we didn’t drink so much. “Tuckster, do you think we’ll ever stop? Drinking, that is.” I must have asked him that question a million times before. “It’s not looking so good at this point,” he replied. His answer was not quite what I was hoping for, but it was the truth. I always expected that from him. Clutching the cheapest bottle of Ten High we could find, we made our way back to the Jeep and cranked up the Johnny Cash as the wheels shot us on our way.
Arriving back at Quin’s house where we apparently stayed the night, we entered to find him still sleeping deeply in the corner, using his hoodie as a pillow. Deciding to leave him be, we helped ourselves to a soda from the fridge and continued to his backyard. By this time, the sun was directly above us, not casting a single shadow. It was as warm as late summer could be, and the season was fading as fast as our whiskey.
Upon polishing off our bottle, we were prompted by the growling of our stomachs to seek out nourishment. The drive to the local sports bar took mere seconds. We exited from the time machine and found two empty stools. We ordered a couple of burgers and a pitcher of their finest lager. By the time our food had arrived, the first pitcher was gone and another on the way. The burgers were great; but the beer was immaculate. This is when my memories begin to get a little hazy.
After satisfying our hunger pangs and witnessing our “team” make a pathetic attempt at playing football, we left. This time without the life-threatening luxury of my Jeep. At this point, the sun had long disappeared into the horizon we were following. Marching on toward depravity, our movements were shaky at best, mimicking the tossing of a burdened vessel lost at sea.
The night went on, playing out just the same as the hundreds before it. Pouring a medley of poisons down our throats, bellied-up to all the familiar bars still warm from our last visit. All the same characters were there, wearing the same drunken grins, the same masks. Reading the same dialogue from the same script. We all wear the same costume of secure insecurities, always hoping that tomorrow will bring with it our epiphany, that the curtain will fall and the new scene will be a glorious one.
Bells were ringing,”LAST CALL!” was being screamed at the top of the lungs of the sober ones. All the liquor-cured cattle were being herded out of the pen and into the streets. A choreographed running of the bulls. I was in there… somewhere. Once the space between us became great enough for me to gather what little thought I had, I turned, expecting to find Tucker. When my focus caught up with my eyes, I found nothing, and nothing found me.
The next time I would open my eyes and remember it, I was in my bed and the sun was shining in through my drawn curtains. What happened to the rest of the night would remain a mystery, until my mother cooked up some breakfast with a side of insight. “Do you remember last night?” she asked while cracking an egg. “A little bit. Why?” I said, trying to be witty but failing. “So you don’t remember the police bringing you home?” that is when a vague clicking of uncomfortable handcuffs came to mind. I was speechless. “They said they found you wandering the streets drunk.” I was still speechless. “That when they asked you questions you were too incoherent to even speak.” I remember trying to state my name and a dark figure laughing at me. “You’re lucky they were nice enough to find your address in your wallet and bring you home. You should be ashamed of yourself.” She said, and my face filled my hands. My appetite was quickly replaced by guilt.