Death by Drinking

If I had to drink myself to death, I thought to myself last night, it would be to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Like my old man used to, I’d unscrew a bottle of cheap and nasty whisky, squash the cap flat between thumb and forefinger and start chugging.

But it wouldn’t be to Cave’s Best Of album (the only album most people seem to have), no. It would be to his 3CD B Sides and Rarities album, cause when he’s good, the man’s magnificent, but when he’s bad, my good god, he’s abrasive, relentless, angry – a god with no followers, a dog without a bone, an actor all alone…

In his younger years

In his younger years

I’ve only ever tackled an entire bottle of whisky once and it’s not really an experience I ever care to repeat. I woke up in hospital, still drunk, my face aching like nobody’s business and specks of what I guessed must have been my own blood on my shirt front.

I got up, pulled the curtain around my bed open, put my jacket back on (sleeves ripped at the shoulders, no wallet) and figured I must have been mugged.

At the far end of the hospital ward there was a sink and a mirror, I shuffled over there but the person who stared back at me through that mirror, eyes black and filled with blood, face hideously swollen, four stitches holding his upper lip together, that person who stared back at me, grinning a horrible lopsided grin, I swear it wasn’t me.

It took me three months to piece together what had happened to me, but the general consensus I gathered from friends and people who saw me was that I drank myself into a raving lunatic, some kind of slavering, violent, uncontrollable monster.

And it was in this magnificent state that I chose to start a fight with a guy twice my size and his buddy, and needless to say, I got one punch in before the buddy got me in a solid bear hug from behind while the other guy beat the snot out of me.

I still laugh when I think back on how it all ended, my friends mopping me up off the pavement, waking me up and driving me to hospital, the doctor and nurses all concerned frowns and sedatives, gentle, patient words.

‘Please tell your friend to shut up,’ the doctor had to say while he was trying to stitch my lip shut, because all I was saying, over and over again was:

‘I’m gonna eat him for breakfast, I’m gonna eat him for breakfast, I’m gonna eat him for breakfast…’

And three months later, when the guy who fucked me up walked into the bar / pizza restaraunt where my friends and I worked, that’s exactly what I did.

Revenge, my friends, is a dish best served cold.



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