Hello everyone! As part of Short Story Saturday, I have posted another short story, this one entitled Why You Never Celebrate in a Weird Bar. Please enjoy.
Waking up after a bender is never fun but I suppose you can get used to anything. Dealing with dry mouth and nausea became as much part of the morning routine as wiping the crud out of my eyes. That’s why I never bothered even trying to give my nightly routine of staying up late drinking at random dive bars. I gotta tell you, though, what happened last night is starting to make me reconsider especially since I’m starting to feel a throbbing pain from my chest. To think,it’s not even eight o’clock yet.
Like every morning, I awoke to the screams of my alarm clock. The noise felt like little hammers pounding directly into my brain. I did want any rational person would do in that situation and smashed it. I waddled to the bathroom, half-asleep, grumbling to myself as I scratched myself in odd places.
I was sprung wide awake upon looking at my gray and red Boston Red Sox t-shirt that I was still wearing from the night before. My bad mood turned to joy. I remembered why I had engaged in a night of drunkenness with my friends (not that I ever really needed an excuse.)
Last night, The Sox beat the Yankees and won the American League Championship. This was after being down three games to none, I mean, it was the greatest comeback in baseball history. My friends and I wanted to celebrate and what better way than getting drunk off our asses. The problem was we couldn’t find a place that would serve us because there were simply too many people who had the same idea as us.
A buddy of mine often says that hanging out with fellow Red Sox fans in of itself is intoxicating. What a tool. Crowds can’t get you drunk. Beer can, though. That’s why I insisted we go anywhere that wasn’t downtown Boston. Our plan was to go to the bus station and hop on the first bus that arrived. It didn’t matter to us where it was going as long as it was out of the city and away from the tons of people now walking our streets. Unfortunately, it seemed like we weren’t the only ones with that idea and the four of us struggled to find a place to stand.
The few buses that arrived were filled before any of us could near the door. The entire thing seemed to be a complete waste of time. We were about to call the whole evening a bust when we heard a bunch of rattling noises. We turned and saw a decrepit old, smoking dirty grey bus coming toward us. It looked like it came from the olden days or something. I think it had a wooden frame and steel wheels and headlights that looked like flashlights and thick glass windows. It looked more like a horse-drawn carriage than anything and like really small, too. I’m guessing it could probably hold about sixteen passengers but that’s about it.
A lot of people were looking at it when it first arrived and now that I think about it, it probably because it was so rare to see what looked like an antique on four wheels. My buddies and I were just going to ignore the damn thing especially since everyone seemed so interested until we realized nobody was getting on board. I walked over to the thing and put my head inside to ask the driver if the bus was in service and wasn’t merely part of an antique car show like one of my buddies suggested. He nodded his head. I shrugged and my friends shrugged. We thought, why not? Let’s see where it goes.
The driver was weird looking, I gotta admit. He had a flat nose and bulgy starry eyes looked at us funny as we passed by. After we sat down, he turned in his driver’s seat and asked whether we were sure we wanted to go where he was headed. We replied by asking if they had bars where he was going. After a long pause, he admitted there was one but it didn’t get many customers. We begged the driver to step on it.
It was a really slow trip. My buddies and I said to each other more than once that it probably would have been faster to walk but, you know, we eventually arrived though we weren’t quite sure where. It was some old town that didn’t have many stores or shops or clubs or bars. There were a bunch of buildings that I think were houses ’cause there were people living in them but I honestly can’t imagine why anyone living would want to live in a decaying shack. I guess the people there are really poor, I don’t know. I donate to charity so it ain’t my fault.
I hate to say it and keep this between you and me, but the people were strange, even stranger than the ones you meet in Boston. I shouldn’t say this either but they were ugly too, I mean, hitting all the branches of the ugly tree. And kinda creepy. When we were following the driver, even though the streets were mostly empty, I noticed that they were all staring at us through their blinds. My buddies and I did our best to ignore them.
We eventually made it to the bar. It was kind of a runed-down joint but that wasn’t surprising because the rest of the town looked like crap. We talked to the bartender and he had good news for us, the first good news we heard all night. He had plenty of booze to sell. We were overjoyed. It looked like the night was a success after all.
I smiled widely after I remembered all of this. I ripped off my clothes and leaped into the shower. I was humming a Dropkick Murphy’s song as I got the soap and began lathering. I was about to rinse myself off when I noticed something on my chest, something that wasn’t there the day before. It was a strange tattoo of a black and white octopus-like thing surrounded by a star surrounded by a circle.
I started to remember other things, like, I met this gal at the bar who really did, I mean, actually did smell like a fish. She also had these really weird, unblinking eyes. Most of the time this would have been a huge turn-off but you know something? She somehow made it work. Maybe it was the seven or eight drinks, I had, I don’t know. All I know is for whatever reason I chatted her up the entire night.
Our talk turned from the Red Sox to a religious order or something and the benefits of joining. I think I made a comment like if it guarantees the Red Sox would win the World Series I would join in a heartbeat. She assured me that the order would fulfill my deepest desires and I think I took that as a “yes” but I was pretty wasted at the time so I don’t really remember. I do remember the unblinking eyes of a man holding a needle to my chest saying this is to ensure you are truly devoted before I blacked out.
“Ugh,” I said to myself as I stood there in the shower, “That’s the last time I go drinking at Innsmouth.”
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