Analogy Schamology - A Sobriety Play in Three Acts

Submitted into Contest #233 in response to: Your character, having abstained from their worst vice (big or small), finds new clarity.... view prompt



964 Boston Post Road

Winding my way through the suburban streets of Rye New York on the back of my DoorDash moped, I reach the Methodist church on Boston Post Road. I've been delivering pizzas to the alcoholics there on Friday nights and know the route well. Today is a Tuesday.

Outside their meeting room, a poster on the wall features a lighthouse with the message: Sobriety is a journey, not a destination. 

For years, alcohol has been a heavy anchor around my neck, and it's time for a change. I take the first step into their meeting room.

“Hi, I'm Greg,” a man with a sturdy build approaches, holding out his hand. His face flashes with recognition from previous deliveries. “We didn't order any pizzas. What brings you to our neck of the woods?”

With my blood shot eyes, it should have been clear as day, but maybe he wants me to show my cards first. “I've been hitting the sauce. Been down on my luck.”

“Nobody comes in here on a winning streak. You’re in the right place,” he says with a twinkle in his eyes. His gaze shifts to my moped. “We’re going to chart your ship to calmer waters.” 

“Hope those waters aren't made of Smirnoff. Where do I get started?”

“You need a new compass, and here it is, the Blue Book.”

He hands me a book. The book that will change my life.

Two weeks later, having not has a drink during that time, I feel better than I ever have in years. Overflowing with gratitude, I ask Greg, “How can I ever pay you back?”

“If you see someone struggling, offer them a hand,” he says. “Pass it on.”

374 Holton Avenue

The elegant two-story home is fronted by leafy oak trees. I open the gate and walk down a stone pathway past garden gnomes. There’s no signs of life inside.

I present my bright red DoorDash bag to the security camera, and ring the doorbell. I’m delivering a bottle of red and a black and blue steak from Frankies. 

A light turns on and the front door opens.

“You are doing me a solid coming out here this late,” a shirtless man says, seeing the wine.

I pass him his order, and our commercial exchange ends with a few manly grunts. Not the best house in town, but I see a $20 tip flash on my mobile right after he closes the door.

My earning goal for the night has been achieved. But I remember, a higher purpose calls. 

Nothing in the DoorDash drivers manual says I can’t do this: opening the lid of his recycle bin, I look inside. It's filled with empty wine bottles.

I ask my higher power for guidance, and like a bolt from the blue, divine inspiration strikes me. Turning around, I go back to the door and ring the bell.

“What can I do for you, bud?” the man says, still shirtless, but now holding a glass.

“You know, alcohol can be a prison without bars?”

“Who’s going to prison?” he says, taking a sip.

“I noticed the bottles in your garbage can.”

“Oh, I get it! The bottles are behind bars,” he says chuckling, and then becomes more serious. “Why did you look in my garbage cans?”

“Because I can lead you to a new life of freedom. A life you’ve never imagined.”

His eyes narrow as he studies me still holding my DoorDash bag.

“I don’t think I want whatever it is you’re selling, he says. He nudges the door halfway closed, watching to see if I have anything else to say. 

I extend a copy of the blue book. “This helped ward off my demons.”

He glances at the book. “Oh, you’re a Mormon!” he exclaims, looking somewhat relieved.

“A closed mind is like an oyster without a pearl.” 

“Analogy schamology. Well, thanks for the delivery,” he says before closing the door. I have no choice but to leave, and perhaps check if there’s any red wine left in the bottles in the recycle bin.

I recall Greg told me to call him if I ever consider drinking from recycle bins. So I call and explain what happened.

“It sounds like you don't know if he really needs help,” he says.

“But his garbage can is full of empty wine bottles.”

“Maybe he had a barbecue, or has an Italian family.”

“I see your point.” 

“I’m glad you catch my drift,” Greg says, sounding pleased he could resolve the situation. “You’re new to sobriety. When you’re holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Make sure someone needs help before you offer it.”

7 Byler Circle

The small suburban bungalow on a cul-de-sac. Its white picket fence is weathered and peeling, and the front porch is cluttered with mismatched furniture. 

“Sorry about the mess,” a woman in her nightgown is saying. “I think I need help.”

“With?” I’m looking around at the mess on the balcony.

“You know… life, drinking, relationships.” She winks. “Now where were we?” Her eyes are on the Chinese fried noodles I’m holding in a DoorDash bag. 

She’s older than me, yet very attractive. I'm tempted to flirt. 

“Underneath every skirt is a slip,” I mumble to myself, repeating what Greg told me about avoiding relationships in early sobriety.

“What did you say?” Concern appears in her eyes.

“Nothing.” Her eyes on me, I feel compelled to explain. “My friend says, when we drink we don’t have relationships, we take prisoners.”

“Are you drinking right now?” She studies me skeptically from head to toe.

“I'm not drinking, but I am an alcoholic. And my sponsor says the alcoholic's mind is like a bad neighborhood.”

“Bad neighborhood? Are you talking about this place?” 

We both look at the junk on her front porch.

“Sorry,” I smile. “They say death, prison, or insanity is what happens to people like us.”

“You scare me.” Her door closes, and through the curtains, I see her nervously dialing someone on her mobile.

Later, I call Greg and explain everything that happened 

“It sounds like she needs help,” Greg says, “But, next time you meet someone, don’t say anything weird. Just talk like an average Joe.”

384 Hickory Drive

The best street in Rye. I can always expect a good tip from these deliveries.

I’ve been delivering two bottles of white wine to a house on this street three nights a week. The owner is barely dressed each time he opens the door. I’m going to try the soft sell approach that Greg recommended.

“Can I talk to you about what to do if you are drinking too much?” I ask him in a polite tone, after passing his order over to him.

“Sure, of course you can,” the man at the door responds with a warm smile. Everyone else frowned and shut the door to the same pitch today.

But this is Hickory Lane, so maybe he’s being polite. From my position as a DoorDash driver, I’ve observed that wealthy men act more like women, and wealthy women act more like men.

“My worst day sober is better than my best day drunk,” I say.

“Interesting. I’d like to learn more about that. Do you have any information?”

I give him a blue book. 

“This looks like a good read,” he says. “What’s it about?”


“That’s an important topic these days, isn't it?” He takes the two bottles of wine I've delivered, and heads to a counter to look for a wine opener.

From somewhere inside the house, a familiar voice chimes in. “Who’s at the door? Come back to the bedroom.” 

Suddenly, at the top of the stairs, my Mom appears, wearing a nightgown.


“Jake?! This is not what it looks like.”

“Is that a metaphor?”

She looks from me to Mark, and back again, herself now feeling the need to explain. “Your dad and I haven’t been a couple for a long time.”

“Why not?”

“Mark here knows how to listen to a woman.”

“Yes, I think I do,” Mark says, smiling.

“Just be quiet for a second,” mom says.

“Ok,” Mark agrees.

I look at Mom, and her boyfriend.

“How could I have been so blind?” I say, tears in my eyes.

“Because you were blind drunk.”

“This is off the charts,” I say, looking at my mother. “I think I need to move out.”

“That would be a good idea,” she says, “Your father and I have been waiting for that day to come.”

“Dad knows about this?” I ask. “And, what’s wrong with Dad?”

“Your dad? He's a walking brewery,“ she stares at me, studying me skeptically from head to toe. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” She glances at Mark. “Give him a good tip.”

“That’s a good idea!” Mark says.

“Goodbye, Jake,” my mom says.

“Goodbye, Jake,” Mark says.

After I close the door, a $25 tip flashes on my mobile.  

I start to cry. My tears flow like Niagara Falls

964 Boston Post Road

I need to get this all off my chest, so I go to the next meeting of AA at the Methodist church. We try to keep things anonymous, but by now, I’ve figured out that Greg is the head of the Rye police department.

Outside the meeting, I grumble, “I can’t believe this is happening in a town where everyone pretends to be a perfect family. You must know a lot of gossip about this town, being well, you know…”

“The town sheriff. This town is…” he says, then struggles to complete his sentence.

“A shadow of its former self?” I say, recalling the town’s glorious history.

“I was thinking of something more nautical.”

“This town… is as hopeless as a ship without a rudder,” I propose.

“It’s a sinking ship!” he responds.

“A shipwreck!”

“A submarine with a screen door!”

We both guffaw like people who haven't laughed in years, and finally found something to smile about.

“This town is a basket case.”

“And it's going to hell in a handbasket!”

Greg puts his hand on his gun, The real one, not the metaphorical one, And declares, “I think it's time for you to move on from this town, pardner. You've got to accept the things you can’t change. And control the things you can.”

“This town is out of control.”

“You bet your boots it is.”


In a Joint Decision, the Rye Authorities Roll with the Times and Legalize Marijuana.  

I finish writing the headline and submit it to the regional news editor at the New York Times. I was considering the phrase “turn over a new leaf” but decided to roll with “roll with it”. 

I’m filling in for a reporter out on paternity leave. Last year, after the kerfuffle with my parents, I decided it was time to move to greener pastures. I threw in the towel on my DoorDash moped, and moved into a tiny apartment in Williamsburg. 

As luck would have it, at Reading Rhythms, a reading party every Tuesday night in Williamsburg, a woman next to me said I’m “one of a kind”. The next week, she offered me a job on the staff of Wordle. They’re running out of 5-letter words, she says. The future lies with analogies.

January 19, 2024 04:41

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Michał Przywara
21:46 Jan 25, 2024

Heh, quite funny :) And structuring this by address is a good idea for a delivery job. And the fact that the delivery guy is so terrible at delivering his message is perfect. The hammer analogy really fits. “having not has a drink during that time” - had instead of has? “Suddenly, at the top of the stairs, my Mom appears” - ha! The only thing I'm not sold on - and this is just me - is the ending section. On the one hand, it does tie things together and really stresses the analogy angle (perhaps we're even getting into deep cliché terri...


02:57 Jan 26, 2024

Thanks made my day hearing you enjoyed the mother scene;) Was thinking of this as sort of a tv sketch comedy. The main theme was, like an angry vegan at a texas bbq, I wanted to have him fail miserably at trying to convert everyone else, but himself do well at the end. I didn't want to end it on a down point, but agree on your point there could have been more of a transition there to him being a hipster working for woldle!


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21:38 Jan 24, 2024

I really enjoyed this! Separating the story into sections by delivery address was clever, as were the analogies and plot twists. Well done!


00:40 Jan 25, 2024

thanks so much for reading, and happy you enjoyed the plot twists!


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Philip Ebuluofor
16:18 Jan 23, 2024

Fine work. Speaking in tongue notwithstanding.


02:49 Jan 24, 2024

Thanks Philip!


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Jack Kimball
17:04 Jan 21, 2024

Best line: "I’ve observed that wealthy men act more like women, and wealthy women act more like men." Best interchange: “Mom?!” “Jake?! This is not what it looks like.” “Is that a metaphor?” Best word: kerfuffle Best job to meet characters to write about: DoorDash delivery person Great job Scott. You had me like 'a bird in hand'. I mean, I loved it like 'no tomorrow'. Your words flow like 'water through whiskey' (new one just now...) Jack


02:38 Jan 22, 2024

haha, thanks for getting the story! I guess these were actually idioms more than metaphors/analogies in my story. Someone dared me to write more metaphors, and I just tried to push myself with the vast plethora of self-help metaphors.


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Mary Bendickson
11:28 Jan 19, 2024

Got a lifetime job if they are running out of five letter words.


02:50 Jan 20, 2024

Analogies could be endless! But I'm so bad at inventing them, can never think of a good metaphor when I need one.


Mary Bendickson
06:50 Jan 20, 2024

I thought it was quite inventive.


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Unknown User
05:31 Jan 19, 2024

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05:58 Jan 19, 2024

Thanks, will have a look and give you some feedback while things are still live;)


Unknown User
05:59 Jan 19, 2024

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