A short piece about the experience of alcohol consumption from 2014.
by Marcus Jonathan Chapman
Fade up on a moment of clarity. Enter SELF.
It occurs to me the faith I will
need as one by one my brain cells
are killed in action. How many
neural connections do I require
before I divorce completely from
all logic and reason?
A shadow is cast over self. Enter EGO.
Will I transform into a carnivorous
vegetable reminiscent of a 1950’s
horror film: eating only everything
that comes close to my drooling
It’s only fitting that a man with
the caliber of a water pistol be
the recipient of a horrible, slow,
Is it actually dying or more of a
shift in existence?
Stars bounce around the periphery, disappearing before the
eyes rack focus. I, we cough.
Sober now, my eyes, ears, nose,
tongue, and nerve endings sharpen
focus. I sense the rawness of
reality manifesting on my lower
legs. A bought of eczema, just
begging a handful of jagged
fingernails to claw, scratch, and
tear it off.
(Down on knees)
Just a minuscule drop of relief. A
small taste please.
I, we wheeze.
Sobriety, the stoic’s drunkenness.
It all still feels fake.
INT. BEDROOM – NIGHT
I am visiting the set of my favorite TV show for the first
time. The dissected apartment disillusions me. A RED GLOW
bounces off my face in harmony with the electronic HUM and
CLICK of flashing signs marked ‘applause.’
1347 INT. BEDROOM – NIGHT (CONTINUOUS)
I wake up rubbing my temple. GOD, an octogenarian with a full
head of white hair, exits the building. However, its
SCREECHING echoes still crash around my head.
My son did not commit suicide. You
I step out into the light. Blinking like an old projector, I
take in the images at increasing frame rates.
24 FRAMES PER SECOND
I lick my lips.
30 FRAMES PER SECOND
The corners of my mouth defy gravity.
60 FRAMES PER SECOND
Through cracked lips, an unfamiliar voice squeezes out a
I’m out in society.
Familiar voices respond.
Is this me?
Or some other beast entirely?
I wipe SMOKE out of my eyes. The angst making a meal of my
LIVER, LUNGS, SPINE, and ever more fragile GREY MATTER.
The only advice I have been willing
to flood me has been vice.
Acceptance needs to seep in.
Drained dry and clean of my old mentor.
It has to.
The echoes of my ego still reverberate in the walls of my
skull. Spiraling down my spine, giving us CHILLS, SPASMS,
and NAUSEA while gripping a toilet bowl.
I, we stick to the script.
The new mantra begins to sink in like an unused snip of 8MM FILM in a tar pit (slowly).
One thousand raised pink SLASHES from wrist to armpit.
BLOOD drips, spelling out a phrase on the floor:
“Blood: I”M OKAY.”
An ellipsis SPLATTERS on the linoleum behind the mantra:
INT. EMPTY SHELL OF A MAN – QUITTING TIME
The partiers arrive. The bouncer lifts the rope, introducing
4,000 queer chemicals to the pulmonary party. They work the
room and make acquaintances with the rest of the body.
Reluctant to leave at last call, the SMOKE stumbles out
leaving sticky SCUFF-MARKS on the dance floor.
(On judgement day I’ll
still most likely say…)