#BlogBattles, Stories...

The Wisdom of Alcohol… (#BlogBattles: Corona)

It was a dark place full of shadows and regret. Dim lights created enough illumination to navigate the space, but not to illuminate life. The brightest spotlights reflected off the bottles and mirrors behind the polished bar, creating an oasis of beauty, an illusion of hope. Just one more drink should do it…

Two men, nondescript in the dimness, sat at that oasis, each seeking comfort of their own. The bartender approached the one on his left, whose glass was nearly empty. “Ready for another, Mac?”

“Mac” picked up his glass and studied it for a moment. “Hmm…,” he thought aloud. “No. No, barkeep, I think I’ll switch it up. Bring me a Corona instead!”

“A Corona?,” asked the bartender. “Since when do you drink that crap?”

“Since right now,” the unnamed regular “Mac” responded. “I’ve been seeing these ads on tv. Every time something ‘good’ happens, ‘a Corona gets its lime.’ I need something good to happen to me. Maybe this will help.”

“Suit yourself, Mac,” the bartender smiled. “I’m all for supporting positive change!”

“Hey, I’ve seen those ads, too,” the other unnamed regular added, not so completely isolated as he had at first appeared. “Kind of like the idea that every time a bell rings…”

“… an angel gets their wings!,” all three chorused together.

The other regular rose from his bar stool and stumbled down to sit next to “Mac.” “I think I want to try one of them Coronas, too,” he said to the bartender. “I could sure use some ‘good’ in my life.”

“First round is on the house,” the bartender announced. “We can’t usually give this stuff away, and if it helps you gentlemen out, that would be a good thing in itself!”

The second man smiled crookedly. “Looks like my luck is changing already,” he slurred happily. Turning toward his new drinking buddy, he tried to start a conversation with Mac.

“So… what brings you here on this sunny afternoon?,” he asked sloppily.

Chuckling softly, Mac responded with questions of his own. “Oh, is it sunny outside today? Is it afternoon already?”

“Ummm,” the other drunk replied. “According to my phone it is, indeed, both. Weather app says the sun is shining, and the clock says 3:15,” he explained, quite seriously. “And they must call it a ‘smart’ phone for some reason…,” he added.

Mac laughed. “LOL!!,” he said, enjoying his own humor. “At least one of us knows what’s what!”

His demeanor darkened a bit… “My wife left this morning. Says she isn’t coming back.”

“Ohhh, dude, sorry!,” his companion commiserated. “I remember that day myself. Said she’d had enough of my drinking, and just walked right out…”. He was quiet for a moment, lost in that memory. “Y’know, I don’t think she ever looked back,” he added sadly.

Mac studied his drinking buddy for a long breath. “Yeah… don’t think mine will either. How do you get used to being alone?”

“Ahhh, that!,” the other drunk answered with a sad chuckle. “Not so hard to do when you focus on the positive: completely guilt free drinking!,” he explained, raising his bottle in a drunken salute.

“Completely?,” Mac asked. “You don’t seem completely free at all…,” he added wisely, being just a tad less drunk than his companion.

“Yeah… well close enough for me,” the other man snapped testily.

Silence ensued as each man sipped his beer and settled in his misery… After a while, Mac took up the conversation again.

“Have you ever been to AA?,” he asked the other drunk.

“You mean the auto club?,” his buddy responded, confusion clouding his expression. “Is that even a real place? I kinda thought that was just a phone number to call when you got stranded in your car…”

“No, no, no,” laughed Mac. “I’m talking about the meetings you go to when you want to stop drinking. They meet all over town, mostly in churches. A bunch of ex-drunks helping current drunks to get sober.”

The unnamed one looked at Mac astonished. “Why would any self-respecting drunk do that?!,” he asked sincerely.

“Umm… maybe because most drunks aren’t self-respecting at all,” he answered honestly. “I went,” he added. “A few times. It was kinda cool, actually…”

Shaking his head in disbelief, Mac’s new friend disagreed. “Nope. Can’t even imagine how a bunch of Bible totin’ ex-drunks trying to change me could be cool. Not in this Universe or any other!”

Laughing outright, Mac responded. “Nah, man, they’re not like that at all! Once you get past the ‘program’ crap, they’re all really kinda like us. They tell great stories. Relatable, you know?”

“Hey, I think there might be one tonight, just down the street. We could go check it out, and you’ll see what I mean.”

His companion turned a bewildered gaze his way. “But we’re drunk, Dude! Isn’t that kinda against the rules?”

“Not really, man,” Mac responded seriously. “So long as we’re not disr… distrupt… disrup… As long as we just sit and listen, they won’t throw us out.”

The other drunk tipped his bottle to stare into its light amber depths. “This stuff looks like piss,” he commented. “Kinda tastes like it, too!” Turning to face Mac he added. “Why not? I could use a good story, and maybe a laugh or two.”

Mac slapped him on the shoulders like an old friend. “Let’s go then! We should leave now, though, since I’m just drunk enough to make finding this meeting difficult!”

Stepping out into the late afternoon sunlight, both men covered their eyes against the sudden brightness. Leaning into one another for support, they stumbled blindly down the sidewalk. The other drunk turned toward Mac and spoke sincerely. “Hey, Dude, I don’t even know your real name!”

Laughing, Mac responded, “just call me Corona today.”

His companion smiled. “Cool! Then I can be Lime! ‘Cause, you know, every time sumthin’ good happens…”

“… a Corona gets its Lime!,” they chorused together as they stumbled into the street.

They never even saw the bus that hit them, or felt the pain of bones breaking…

And across the street at a little gift shop, two chimes began ringing in the chaos that ensued. Two distinctively different tones, unheard behind the shouting and the sobbing and the sirens…

(1051 words)

My contribution for this month’s #BlogBattles. 😁

https://blogbattlers.wordpress.com/2019/06/03/blogbattle-corona/

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17 thoughts on “The Wisdom of Alcohol… (#BlogBattles: Corona)

  1. You do like to flirt with that word limit, don’t ya! Good little story with a happy??? ending since it’s highly unlikely these two were ever going to get past their problem in this life. Besides, I like beer drinking angels, I think they’re cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, right?! Funny thing is I was under 700 words when I started to wrap it up. Figured I’d have no trouble with word count this month. But by the time the last word was written, I was at 1170!

      I blame it on the dialogue, which uses up a lot of words apparently. Especially when the conversation is between two people of the same gender, without proper names. Drunk #1 and Drunk #2 just didn’t cut it for me, and I wanted their anonymity to be a part of the story. Still… over the word count.

      As for the happy ending? I’d like to think so. At least as far as drunks go, anyway. They weren’t alone, they were happy in that moment, and they never felt a thing. Guess you can’t really hope for more sometimes.

      But does Corona really count as “beer”? Lol! 😉

      Like

  2. Ending was just a bit obvious, but I loved the build-up. Kind of like a good pun, you know it’s coming but you can’t avoid finding it funny.
    Was that a real commercial? I aint never seen it. Just like the bus. They musta figured it was a pink elephant!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who considered referring to Corona beer this month! Alas, I didn’t succumb to temptation…but I’m glad you did! (Does that make me a bad person?) 🙂
    The dialogue was entertaining and the ending made me…thoughtful. It drips with irony, and yet I felt a little crushed (although not as much as the characters!) when they met their end while I was hoping they might turn a corner. The fact I even cared about those characters is evidence of how well you portrayed them.
    Since you managed to come up with a nickname for “Mac,” I was a little surprised you didn’t do the same with Drunk #2 (before he became Lime). I don’t know if that would have helped with the word count, but since the conversation was a back-and-forth between them, that helped me keep track of who was saying what.
    Nice job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, AE! Someone had to do it (bring up Corona beer), and being the sober drunk for over 30 years made me a good candidate. Gave me a chance to remember (and memorialize in a sense) the countless lost souls I’ve met over the years; hence the anonymity of the characters. Not bad people at their core, often quite likable, but drowning in the muck of their addiction. For so many, the “tragic” end is not really a tragedy, so much as it is a relief…

      I actually did have a nickname for drunk #2, but I found that having both named made them distinct people, rather than the anonymous drunks in a bar I was hoping for. If I could have made it work without naming Mac, I would have, but it was just too awkward; I needed a solid point of reference to ground the back and forth. Truth is, most drunks I knew back in the day didn’t bother with names. We used nicknames based solely on circumstances at the time of meeting. Not sure if it was because we knew we wouldn’t remember them, were afraid of getting close to someone, or were simply too ashamed to admit our own name (or couldn’t remember that! Lol), but most likely it was some combination of all three. And yet this bonding occurred anyway; best friends after a drink or two…

      Thanks for your continued encouragement. I learn so much from your thoughtful comments, and feel validated by your support! 😁

      Like

  4. Pingback: #BlogBattle Stories: Corona | BlogBattle

  5. Subtle reminder that drinking is neither clever or hard. A rocky trail causing victims all over, not least those suffering the problem around the one with it. Nice use of the advert and certainly an obvious use of the prompt word! Well either that or eclipses lol.

    Finally getting round to reading the entries! Great job here Lisa.

    Liked by 1 person

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