by Will 511
We can't always choose where we want to end up
So listen, I’m in this pub. This real seedy place. You know the type of place I’m talking about. Red leather chairs and red leather customers. Must have been almost twenty year ago now cos’ I was my late teens, if memory serves me correct. I had got lost from my mates somehow and ended up getting drunk in this dodgy bar in the middle of nowhere. Anyway, there’s no-one else in the place apart from me of course, the barman and some old cunt, who’s even more drunk than I was.
So, I’m on a mission. Sitting there trying to be the most drunkest person on the planet that night. Working my way along a row of bottles on the shelf behind the bar. As you do. Left to right. Taking a shot from each bottle. As good a way as any to get completely blitzed out my head, don‘t you think?. It was pretty hard going though because I’d already had a bucketful before I arrived at that pub and about three quarters of the way along the shelf, I’m taking a shot of this disgusting blue Portuguese stuff and to be truthful with you, I was starting to feel the pace.
So anyway this old guy a couple of stools along, turns to me and says ‘Hey, just take it easy son, ye’ll be doing yersel’ some right damage drinkin’ that stuff’ So I look over at him the way you do when you’re in your late teens and say, ‘Don’t worry about me, auld yin, I’m immortal’ The old man just smiles before whispering back ,‘Yeah, but for how long’?
The only reason I mention it was because I recently found myself back in that same pub. Totally by accident. It was that kind of place. You could only find it by accident.
So I go inside and nothing’s changed. I mean absolutely fucking nothing. Except the barman, who was now a barmaid if you get my meaning. She’s a kind of hard looking barmaid as it happens, as you’d expect in a hard looking place, I suppose. She’s got one of these permanent ‘Don’t even think about it’ expressions on her face, one of these self-preservation expressions. You must know the type of bird I mean. Just another pussy trying to be a tom. In reality the most dangerous thing about her was her perfume. Anyway, the pub itself is just the same. Still a shady lights and shady customers kind of place.
So I order a beer, sit down and remember the first time I’d been there on that long lost night years before. I look at the shelf, still there, with all the multi- coloured bottles on it. I guess it had all these foreign drinks because the pub was situated near the docks, who knows. That first night, by the way, I didn’t make it to the end of the shelf. I think I fell off just after drinking some green French crap.
So nothing had changed. Except me, perhaps. I liked to think of myself as being a little wiser than I was in my younger years. As you do. Then I realized I was there for the very same reason I had been there all those years before. To get completely and utterly drunk. In that respect nothing had changed. Except I was no longer under the youthful illusion of being a happy drunk. Through life and experience I had lost the immortality of youth. And I got to thinking, that old guy was right in his own way, immortality doesn’t last for ever. Now I was just a drunk just like everyone else. Trying be oblivious to consciousness, thought and memory. Trying to forget there was a yesterday and a tomorrow. Drinking to forget I was a drunk.
So anyway, I’m sitting there, in this bar remembering being there years before and I’m thinking maybe I didn’t arrive there by accident after all. As a matter of fact maybe it was the opposite. See, for the record, my dad was an alcoholic. He probably drank in this very same pub, got drunk in this very same pub just like I’m doing. I mean that’s what they say isn’t it. That’s it in the genes. That it’s hereditary and all that. See, I guess the point I’m trying to make is that before I thought this was the kind of bar you could only find by accident. Sitting on that very same bar stool years later, I got to thinking.