Sean (strange_ink) wrote in _deathray_,

Friday Fast Fiction


Wallace drinks. He doesn’t drink all the time, just whenever he’s awake. Some people would consider him an alcoholic, but Wallace doesn’t feel he is. He drinks one thing, scotch, and drinks it because he enjoys it. He has never slipped past that invisible border between desire and need because he’s never hated himself or his scotch. He’s always been in love with his scotch, and in love with the way it makes him feel. No guilt, no remorse over lost loves or lives or possibilities. There has never been a sacrifice for Wallace. It has always been scotch.

Once, three years ago, he briefly considered giving it up. For a woman, of course. Her name was Elizabeth and she thought Wallace spent too much money and too much affection on his drinking. Elizabeth didn’t want to share the man she’d made room in her heart and life for with a bottle of booze. If she could work Wallace into her world, he should be able to work scotch out of his, she reasoned. It was only fair.

And Wallace considered it. He was already forty two at the time and wasn’t getting any younger. Liz, on the other hand, was in her early thirties and more beautiful than any other woman who had ever given him the time of day in the past. More beautiful, even, than his first wife, who he had long considered the most beautiful woman he had ever known. He knew he had lucked out with her. She liked him, maybe even loved him. Would he ever have a chance like that again?

Yet, while a future with Liz was a future full of promise, he quickly decided that she would never be capable of being as consistently charming or pleasing as his scotch. While human beings are subjective and emotional, scotch only gets stronger and more confident with age. You can depend on it to deliver, no matter what time you unscrew the cap and pour yourself a glass. Scotch wouldn’t wake up cranky or ask him to take out the trash or wonder why he left the toilet seat up. Scotch would never be on the rag or want to have dinner with her parents.

So, Wallace told Elizabeth that he had no intention of giving up his scotch, and if she wanted to spend time with him, she’d be spending time with his drinking as well. He even suggested she learn to appreciate scotch as well, so that they could share a mutual interest and further deepen their chances of making it through the long haul. Elizabeth was hurt, and then furious, and finally regretful. She never spoke to Wallace again. Last he heard, she had moved to Wyoming.

Wallace chooses to drink but he’s not consumed by it. He makes a decent living stuffing envelopes from home and working eBay. He watches his game shows and his Hogan’s heroes reruns. He reads books he gets from the library. He doesn’t drive, because that would be reckless and unwise, so he walks or takes the bus. He lives within walking distance from a grocery store, where he gets money orders to pay his bills, food to put in his belly, and scotch to fill his heart. Three times a week, he walks a little further and makes the rounds to the bars, where all the regulars and staff know his name. He talks to them about what he watched on TV that day or how the Dodgers are doing. He talks to his bar buddies about music and art (he used to be a painter) and politics and philosophy, and he never raises his voice or loses his temper. People like Wallace and, at the end of the day, one of them will call a cab and send him home.

Wallace has a good life. He knows one day that he won’t wake up and that’s OK. For him, you can’t ask for more out of life than being with the one you love, and he is.

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