Jump to content

Hell or a Hangover - Literary Fiction/Contemporary Fiction/Dark Comedy

Recommended Posts



            Every night starts the same. The pregame. The debauchery before the debauchery. An excuse to get drunk before the actual drinking starts.

            Tonight, the pregame is at my apartment. Graduating college was supposed to have magically matured me. I took enough social science classes, to have crawled from my cave. If the exhilaration of “SOC 2200 – Working Women” doesn’t get the engines revving on the quest to grow up, well, what possibly could?

Oh, that last blue book. This was all supposed to end after shutting that last blue book. What could another keg party do for me when equipped with the weapons of knowledge? What necessity would another drunk hookup have in this new enlightened life? Who cares, because here I am, traipsing through the aisles of my favorite liquor store. A bottle of whiskey, a bottle of vodka, and a bottle of tequila should be enough for three people, right?

            The aisles themselves are a peripheral blur; a side note to the cell phone in my hand. It’s become a daily chore trying to translate my rambling thoughts into 280 characters.

            What to tweet, what to tweet?

            My thoughts on the Israeli/Palestine conflict? Maybe, my take on the gender pay gap? I could even go with a small diatribe on the current state of the flailing American empire. But the people don’t want that. My followers don’t care and neither do I. Give the people what they want, Lou! Those crusty college professors couldn’t pull a joke out of their ass let alone teach this level of funny. Humor! My God given talent for it puts asses in the Twitter seats.

Looking back on it, college was the perennial pregame. The debauchery before the debauchery. An excuse to get drunk before the actual drinking started.

And here’s a secret, it’s more fun now than it’s ever been.

            What to tweet, what to tweet?

            I wonder what hates me more after college…my liver, my wallet or my parents.


            When I look up I’m somehow in the aisle of misfit toys. Margarita mix, tomato juice, and an assortment of bitters, all useless to me and my quest for the hard stuff. This is a regular occurrence, the look down at my phone and end up in a foreign place routine. It’s kind of like when you wake up from surgery or get kidnapped… I assume.

            There’s no line at the checkout counter and acid begins to coat my stomach. How are they letting you still do this? I ask myself without waiting for an answer.

            “Big party, huh?” the kid at the cash register asks.


            The kid resembles little Martin from high school, a past life that feels like it exists in a black and white movie reel somewhere in my mind. He is a greased-up pile of bones with a zit radiating off the left cheek, staples of little Martin’s appearance. In the confines of high school calculus little Martin and I had become friends. I would have expected to see Jesus before seeing little Martin outside of school. It was as if little Martin was a figment of my imagination—a spirit sent to save me from that dreadful class. Unfortunately for little Martin, the closest he got to a high school party was a matinee of Super Bad or Project X. This kid behind the register could hope for no better. What those movies never showed you, though, was the day after. The shattered shell of a human you are. How could little Martin have learned that, after just a few years of consistency, your entire existence can change? Why on earth would those movies tell little Martin about all the side effects? Like your brain permanently swelling or your forehead jutting out like the missing link or that for some reason the longer you go the harder it is to quit.

            “No, medicinal.” 


            I have been feeling it all day. The air imbued with life again—the temperature tip toeing above a measly fifty-two. It is as if the dry, cracked, cold earth has been drawn over with lip balm. Still, Hoboken has an awkwardness to it during the rising days of April. Seeing life outside—people drinking, laughing—it is like seeing a baby giraffe walk for the first time.

What to tweet, what to tweet?

“Hibernation is over.”

Too simple.

“Nothing better than early Spring in Hoboken”

Too soft, though true. It seems like, along with the trees and the people, even the buildings come alive again, shaking their thaw out, metal becoming moss, bricks becoming branches.

Go back in your homes #hibernationisover

That’ll do.

Sending that tweet is about the last thing I remember before appearing in front of my building. What I do remember is scrolling through my sister’s friends’ Instagram profiles. Half the battle with women these days is finding out who they are before you even strike up a conversation and professor Lou is here to illuminate the way.

            First, the obvious: is she hot? If she looks good in her pictures hopefully, she’ll look good in real life. This isn’t always the case. If a picture is worth a thousand words than a photoshopped picture is worth a thousand questions. A few pictures with big sunglasses on? Butter face. No bathing suit pics? Butter body. Only pictures with groups of friends? She’s the ugly one in the group. For the most part you can tell which girls have it off Instagram and which ones don’t but context clues like that can help.

            Second, does she have a boyfriend? Most girls that do have a boyfriend incessantly post pictures with him. It’s easy to spot the taken from the single. Many single people think this is a bad thing; they’re sick of having relationships shoved in their faces at all times. They’re wrong.

The girls that you have absolutely no chance with are the girls that hardly post pictures at all. These girls aren’t looking for any social reassurance. Their confidence is doing just fine and that does nothing for me. I want the girls who unrelentingly clog up my timeline with boyfriend selfies. The girls that need to show the world they are loved. The girls that need to parade their perfect match around until, of course, they break up. They’ll fight for the relationship, like all women do. The strong women will let go too soon and the weak women will hold on too long and the followers will sit back and watch the train wreck unfold. The memories will be deleted off the profile, and, just like that, the relationship never existed. Until, naturally, a new man comes in to replenish the profile with new pictures, and round and round the relationship circle rolls.

I’m not a homewrecker. I don’t get off on ruining relationships. In fact, I have no interest in ever being involved in a relationship; my own or others. The key here is to catch one of these girls between boyfriends. The rebound. The breakup back board. It’s easy to know when it’s time to swoop in…bringing me to my third and final and maybe most important piece of advice…

            Has she posted any emotional quotes in the last month? That beautiful aroma of a fresh break up. If any girl has posted the “If you love someone let them go. If they return they were always yours. If they don’t they never were” quote, or the millions of other recycled Instagrams then you know the relationship is over. There’s no reason to confuse morality with results here; just read the signs. Women are always begging you to pay attention, this is your chance.

            Now class, let us analyze!

“If she’s amazing, she won’t be easy. If she’s easy, she won’t be amazing. If she’s worth it, you won’t give up. If you give up, you’re not worthy. Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you, you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.”

Women have falsely attributed this quote to Bob Marley. Bob Marley, the rock star with four children from his marriage… and seven others with seven different women. A Legend indeed, but not a model for monogamy.  Whoever did say it sounds like a pussy, and Marley was no pussy. Let’s break it down.

“If she’s amazing she won’t be easy.” She’s a psycho and has ruined her current relationship because she is a psycho.

“If she’s easy she won’t be amazing.”

Chastity. A stripper at High Noon and a revered female trait. This quote, however, is not referring to easiness of bedding, which we can deduce. What the poster means here is that she is a handful and someone, most likely her largest friend, has convinced her that this is a good thing. Another oddly respected trait in the female community: high maintenance. That’s why being the rebound is so joyful. All upside, no hassle. 

“If she’s worth it, you won’t give up.” Her boyfriend could not take it anymore.

“If you give up, you’re not worthy.”  See above.

“Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you, you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.”

The relationship is over. Get on it.

Just pay attention. It’s right there in front of your myopic eyes.

And ladies, these same rules apply. Men are subtler in their heartbreak. You won’t see hate thrown in an ex’s direction. You won’t see a long post questioning life’s meaning. All you’ll need to see is one typical post: him and his friends, crowded around a table of shitty vodka and cranberry chasers like cavemen around a millennial fire. The simplest of captions will do: #allineed. Hop on it ladies, because that really isn’t all he needs.

You can call me an animal. A misogynist. A misinformed maniac. Say what you want. But, this is how it works. You don’t go in to a test without studying, do you? You don’t make a speech without practicing it, right? It’s called preparation. There is no such thing as luck, especially when it comes to getting laid. Why waste all this valuable information people are so intent on throwing at you? Luck is where hard work meets opportunity.




My building is on 7th and Willow:  a fourth-floor walkup with no doorman, which drastically decreases my chances of bringing back any sort of class.

Instead of pressing a button and gliding through walls on rope, I hold the shifty railing with one hand and scroll through Twitter with the other, a bag of clinking bottles hanging from my wrist. The walls are a lifeless accumulation of years, resulting in a muted, off white. They remind me of the film over my own, once cleaner, self. The railings too, are chipped. The red paint giving way to the shitty Seneca underneath. Not so whole. A once-bright light looms over the demented scene, now skittish and dim. Its potential waning, electricity fading. If, for whatever reason, I was to look up, I would see this.

The apartment smells sour. There is no escaping it. The smell radiates out of the coffin-like bathroom where two cups, filled with something, anything, have overstayed their welcome. Thirsty Thursday got out of hand and I had no time to clean. Fumigation of a two-room apartment shouldn’t be hard—one room being the bedroom and the other room being every other room—but it is, for an indolent male like myself. Quite the little slice of purgatory.

Unfortunately, the bed squeaks, which is a big no-no if you want any respect during sex, but it doesn’t bother me as I plop my ass on the bed  and spin my legs over and out the window like a gymnast on a horse. This is what is considered a workout now in my mid-twenties. There’s something charming and mysterious about a subtly out of shape young man. More Bond villain than Bond himself. Maybe he is out making too much money to worry about his six pack, she thinks to herself. Unluckily for me and my midsection, there is no mystery or building bank account behind it.

The small, rusted fire escape is like the bottom of a bird cage, swaying and shaking with even the slightest movements. There must be some type of code violation here, but who would I complain to? My landlord is a mystery.

Every step on this ironically named escape causes black ash to fall to the ground, which could easily be me next except less graceful and much louder.

The sun is out later, a month in to saving the daylight. This is a contributing factor in the general hysteria out on the streets. There are sundresses, sunglasses, even an odd man in shorts, everyone trying to find their social legs again. I watch the sun in the beginning of its descent behind Jersey City and I imagine, on a grander scale, this is what the pathetic parts of London, or Paris, or any other sprawling European city would look like. The sun looms over the buildings, causing a chaos of quadrilaterals, changing from shadows to shadowed. What would I know about any of those cities? This is about as far as I’ve gotten from home. Hoboken. The city next to THE City.

The ladder to the roof is just as shaky as the landing. My lung capacity is not helping matters but I still make it up the two floors, sit on the roof, and light a cigarette. The nervous excitement courses through my head and my fingers even though I’m five years into this irreverent habit. I wasn’t raised to be this person.

As I inhale, my phone vibrates…

You have 3 favorites and 4 retweets.

And again…

You have a text from Aisle in a Group Chat

Aisle: When is everyone going over?

Me: Who is everyone?

Aisle: You know what I mean, the boys.

Me: Everyone come over now so that I can start drinking. I’m getting thirsty.

Aisle: I’ll be over in 20.

VanNeece: Don’t any of you people work?

Me: Don’t any of you people drink?

Aisle: It’s 6 PM on a Friday…enough work.

VanNeece: You’re all bums.

Me: Just get the fuck over already.

VanNeece: Christian you too cool to answer?

Me: The kid hasn’t answered a group chat since college. I’m pretty sure he has a flip phone.

Aisle: Leaving now.

Me: Thank god.

VanNeece: I’ll be over in an hour.

Aisle: Do you need me to get anything?

Me: No. I need VanNeece to.

VanNeece: Two steps ahead of you.

Me: Ata boy.

The sun is down, suddenly. Pockets of light from windows come into focus. Smoke, or steam, or whatever comes out of the tops of buildings nowadays, emits from random roofs here and there. The Jersey City side is retired as the Hudson River side springs to life. It is just like all the pictures. Bright lights, big city. I see myself on the other side of that river in a few hours; hopelessly drunk and in the moment. I wonder, for a second, if this night will be just like every other night. The noise, the talking, the noise, the bathroom, the yip, the shot, another shot, the talking, the noise, a drink, the bathroom, the yip, the shot, the drink, another drink…a hopeless march.

I don’t mind if it’s going to be that. At this point its habit—without it I wouldn’t know what to do with my hands or my thoughts. But part of me wants it to be different. Part of me wants a break from the loud solitude, the glowing light. A night of anything but the same. My phone continues to vibrate down my leg. There is no turning back.

Momentum is gathering.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 0
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Days

Top Posters In This Topic

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



WTF is Wrong With Stephen King?

  • Create New...