George put the handle down on the table with less than a quarter of whisky still in it, just enough to coat the bottom of the bottle. The modest watch on his wrist said it was about quarter to eight, or nine. I couldn’t tell if I was reading it right, I just knew it was before ten because by then we’d be on the other side of town meeting up with everybody.

I grabbed the ashtray from the floor and sat it on the table and at the same time someone knocked on the door. George lumbered over to answer while Travis peaked his head in front of the window.

“Just come in,” George yelled to him and walked back to the kitchen table, sitting down with me. George had one of those small, dinky places where you can see every inch of the living room from kitchen and every inch of the bedroom from either other room. There’s nothing wrong with places like that, what you sacrifice in space and privacy you save in price. Too much space, can be a bad thing as often as a good thing – even more often – same goes for privacy. Especially privacy. Privacy begins as a tendency towards keeping personal information secret, goes onto exclusively using cash and never using banks, and ends as becoming a recluse living over a mile away from a neighbor in any direction.

 

Importance of privacy,
Practicality in hiding everything,
Loneliness is a man-made construction,
The sense of belonging,
Phantom vibrations,
Hanging yourself while masturbating,
Not all ideas are good ones.
When the cops find the kids huffing glue
they’re gonna kick the shit out of them,
Put the town’s middle-aged population on Xanax,
see how much they put up a fight against anything.
Check your local newspaper for PTA meetings.

 

Travis came in and his eyes went right to the almost empty bottle on the table. I lit a smoke as he pointed at the handle.

“Goddamn, how trashed are you guys?” He asked.

“We’re good,” I said as I sank into George’s couch. I almost burned myself with my cigarette in the process of sitting down. “Actually, we could probably drink some more.”

“Fuck you guys, I need to be on your level,” Travis whined.

“So knock out the rest of that handle and go to town on this one,” George reached into his freezer and threw another handle at Travis.

“Hey, your wish is my command,” Travis started drinking. My phone rang. It was Cameron, probably primed and ready to tear into us for not being at the bar yet. “Yo, who’s callin’ man?” Travis asked me.

“It’s just Cam, probably bitching about us not being out at the bar yet.” Then Travis reached across his body and mine and grabbed my phone out of my hand. My reaction time was admittedly a little off. Travis wasn’t in hyper speed, but he may as well had been. He and Cam were closer than Cam and I were, though, so I didn’t care. He took my phone into the kitchen and was mostly saying things I already knew.He just got here. George and I were drunk. I stopped paying attention and pulled a joint from my cigarette pack and waved it in George’s direction, waggling my eyebrows while my hand gestured towards the joint. He saw me, gave me the finger gun, and plopped down next to me. Travis disappeared through the front door. With my phone. “Where the hell does he think he’s going with my phone?”

George cackled. “Whoa tough guy, he literally just said he forgot his cigarettes in his car. He said he’ll be right back.”

I shrugged, that must’ve happened around the time I zoned out. I lit the joint and took a long drag. This felt nice. I wasn’t sure of what part was the most enjoyable. The absence of any ordinary concerns was great. Work was the closest to a torture chamber you could get if passive aggressive comments, dick-headed remarks, being surrounded by ass kissers, or mind-numbing boredom were considered methods of torture. Every thought brought me closer to thinking of her. The moment that thought crossed my mind, I was distracted by almost burning my finger on the joint. I took a deep, long hit and held it until I couldn’t hold it any longer without coughing. The smoker’s dance. Another hit, don’t exhale until your brain is all but begging for oxygen, let it out and pass it back down the line. She was already on my mind, I couldn’t fight it. Danielle. That one girl you think is put on this planet specifically for you, well that was Danielle for me. The way horrible things usually start out as some wonderful things that you lose or destroy or dismantle. They really only suck when they stop being your wonderful present and memories and become this marred past of nightmares.

“What’s up?” George asked, handing me the joint.

“Oh, nothin’ dude, just battlin’ the spins.”

“Damn, everthing’s standin’ still. Trust me. Uhh, lemme get ou some water.” And George went to the kitchen. I stayed in my head with the wreckage of my last relationship. Danielle was my white whale that drowned me in every one of my dreams to wake me up and keep my mind racing so that I couldn’t get anymore sleep. It was easiest to just keep it to myself. My friends couldn’t change or fix anything. Nobody really needs more problems than their own to burden them.

 

Every streak starts with one,
One win
or one loss.
It’s win some, lose some,
lose some,
and lose some more.
After long enough, anyone’s ego will get sore.
There’s an importance in keeping things to yourself,
secrets never stay secrets,
your problems are your problems.
You’re an island, never forget.
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