A bottle, a drive, and a confession

Submitted into Contest #171 in response to: Write a story where someone decides to take the long way home.... view prompt



This story contains themes or mentions of suicide or self harm.

Here I am, alone, talking into this tape recorder driving these Gulf roads in New Hampshire at an hour when most people are fast asleep, the roadways are devoid of any innocent causalities that I may encounter on my mission. What mission are you on? You might be wondering. Oh, I don’t know if we’ve gotten comfortable enough for me to divulge that just yet. Ride with me for a little bit and let’s see if we get there. A few more pulls off this bottle and I’m sure I’ll spill my guts no matter what. Shit, I just spilled some off my mouth and down my shirt. Looking down I wipe what I can in a slow motion before I notice I’m about to go off the road. I over correct the steering wheel and the back tires slide across the dirt as I struggle to put the car straight. Anyway, let’s not let that little incident pull us away from the current subject.  I’m not telling you when this happened or is going to happen. It seems present tense but don’t let that fool you. This could have happened 5 years ago or will happen in 5 minutes. It will be present tense just to keep the middle ground. That’s fair right? I guess it doesn’t matter. I just want you to sit back in the seat and rub your shoulders as uncomfortably as I do and listen to the blare of the stereo as the wind whips across your face on this warm June night.

Can you feel it? Of course you can’t. This is a goddamn story. How the hell would you? I guess what I meant was could you feel the tone, the feeling I was trying to convey? I guess it doesn’t matter, maybe it does.  I’m drunk. You could tell that much. I don’t know why I want to do this but it seems right in my current state of mind. Yes, yes, I know I’m drunk but that doesn’t stop the fact that I feel it when I’m sober. You think I like drinking? You think I just get fucked up for the hell of it? Maybe I drink to drown out the voices. Maybe I drink to feel normal. Maybe I drink because it’s the best coping mechanism other than shaking hands with death. I don’t know but I know I like the feel of the gas pedal under my foot. I like the feel of the acceleration of the vehicle. I feel one with it, like it’s an extension of my body. Leaning with the curves, my body has assimilated shifting my weight with the frame. My leg muscles absorbing the shock with the sturts. Those hard turns are felt in every joint I have as well as the car. It’s like wearing some big ass exoskeleton. Remember watching Aliens? When Ripley got in that big ass apparatus and kicked the living shit out of that acid spewing fuck? It’s like that.

The headlights illuminate just enough to get me around the next curve. Rock ledges and gnarly pines overload my peripherals leaving me like a Clydesdale horse minus the blinders, drudging through the path of least resistance. Where am I going? The whole point of driving is having a destination. I have no earthly coordinate. My coordinates are ethereal or as close as you can get to a word like that. Not that I believe in that shit but my destination ends with my existence. I don’t believe in any of that halo, cloud stretching, white robe wearing bullshit. I am a Christoper Hitchens convert through and through. So where do I go when there are no tickets waiting to get into St. Peters gate? Do I scalp? Do I bribe? Or do I just stop with this foolish nonsense and just accept the fact that once it stops it stops? There is no gate, there is no happy ending. Oh, that’s right, you have to have faith. With all the bad shit that happens in the world you have to ask yourself(those of you that have that faith) if God is omnipotent then why does he let bad things happen? He has the power to stop it, so why wouldn’t he want to protect you if he loves you? You can say God has a plan but let’s get right down the possible two reasons it could be. 1: He’s not omnipotent(if he did exist at all) which means he’s powerless or not as powerful as you thought, or 2:  He is omnipotent and sits back for whatever reason a deity would, maybe it’s like a nonstop T.V. show that he can’t stop binge watching or he just doesn’t give two shits. So now your God is just an asshole if he has the power to stop it and doesn’t. You’re afraid aren’t you? Afraid that there isn’t anything after? Why do you fear that? Honestly, when was the last time anyone came back from the dead and told you heaven was the shit? That they were smoking blunts with Tupac and snorting lines with John Belushi while eating Otoro tuna off of Anna Malle’s vagina. Or how hell was just one long endless loop of the worst food, people and situations (the Devils hat trick if you will) you’ve been subjected to running back over and over like a fucked up version of Groundhog Day.  

I’m not talking about those assholes that saw a white light at the end of a tunnel, I refuse. I hate even mentioning them but it just eats at me. I’m not saying they didn’t see something, I just don’t like how they imbue religion along with it. Let’s take into consideration that the brain could experience hallucinations when it shuts down. That some crazy ass neurons bond with chemicals that are beyond our understanding trying to prevent oxygen deprivation. Dreams are some vivid shit are they not? Whose to say the same thing doesn’t happen when you’re about to croak? Like you’re body gave you one last parting gift before the big sleep. If I were a betting man I’d put my money on DMT or dimethyltryptamine, a drug that’s been used by Amazonians, or as they call it Ayahuasca, for around 1,000 years to induce hallucinations for spiritual purposes.  Medical studies can’t confirm DMT but it brings up the question that in such dire circumstances chemicals, whether they are DMT or not, can be released in the body to cope with such traumatic experiences to ease the body and mind in distress or possible death. 

My brother sold me some ecstasy, or Molly or MDMA or whatever the hell they call it a few years back. He didn’t tell me how much to do (I didn’t ask either) and I put a rolled up dollar bill in that baggie after I crushed it up and inhaled half the bag in one shot, maybe it wasn’t half but it was way more than I should have done in one sitting.  I know you’re asking: why the hell did you do so much in one shot you idiot? Well, that’s what I would’ve done with a bag of cocaine so I thought I could handle it. I’m not some lightweight for God’s sakes. That shit hit me fast. I’ve never seen colors so bright and vivid in my life. It was like a high definition T.V. on steroids.  My ceiling was white and the more I stared at it the more I thought I was going to go blind. Sweat started to bead at my hairline, my body felt like I had been in a sauna for hours. My heart was going into overdrive at the moment and I was wondering when I was gonna come down, was this it? Was I gonna stroke out? It ramped down as fast as it started and I stood up feeling like I had weathered the worst of the storm. Then it hit me again. This shit was coming at me in waves. I had to sit down it was so powerful. Could I have overdosed? Maybe, but the fact I didn’t go into cardiac arrest says otherwise but I’ve always been like that. Too much too fast. So with that experience I can testify that chemicals can alter your sight and perception (we could also bring acid or shrooms into it) but I think you get the point I was trying to impart a couple paragraphs above..  There are days where I embrace the small amenities and simple pleasures. A hot day with a cheap radio playing tunes from the 80’s while sipping a cold drink.  A good book on a slow morning. The curve of a naked woman lying in your bed as the early morning light bathes on her hip. Thinking life is good and on the other side here we are, in a car on a late night with enough booze in me that I shouldn’t be conscious, death around every corner. 

 You know you’re past the point of alright when you have to close one eye to see. Where were we? What were we talking about? Jesus, I’m drunk. I pull over next to one of the swamps and get out, sitting on the hood of the car. Taking a good swig I listen to the frogs. I wish you could hear them. They’re sitting there in the warm summer night, calling out without a care in the world. Just doing what animals do. No thinking. Just instinct. Sometimes evolution is a bitch. It’s a double edged sword really. Our brains can appreciate the things lesser creatures can’t but on the other end our thoughts are our own worst enemies. Think of your pets. What does your cat or dog have to worry about other than licking their asses and cuddling up with you late at night? They got it pretty good if you ask me. If there was such a thing as reincarnation I’d hope to be some rich assholes pet that they’d pamper with diamond collars and foie gras. I’d fill my belly and go lounge in some vast area where the sunlight floods me as I doze off without a second thought of anything other than sleep.

Are my drunk thoughts annoying you yet? No? Yes? No matter what you think of them at the very least I hope they inspire something or some conversation. In the end that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? Thought? That’s what we should be doing as intelligent beings. Asking questions, having debates. Without that what are we? No better than the frogs I’m listening to right now. In my current state I wish they were more evolved and would hop up to the edge of the water, giving me some sage advice like water logged psychotherapists that happened to make side of the road calls. Does that sound right? Side of the road calls? I tried to make it sound like house calls but it doesn’t sound right does it? Just doesn’t roll off the tongue like I thought it would, fuck it, you know what I was getting at. Drunken rambles, excuse me for those.  They’re many more to come I assure you. 

I’m sad the frogs can’t talk. I’m sad about a lot of things in this moment. It’s mostly the alcohol but listen to me, sounding like some sap who can’t handle his booze. I’m ok, I’m just…I’m just...I’m awake, nodded off there for a second. Wish I had some speed. I take another drink and look off into distance. Not like I can see anything but the sounds give me something to imagine amidst all this darkness. I wanted to lie on my windshield and close my eyes but I was already swaying and once I closed my eyes, or the one good one that I was using to navigate with, than it was all over. I got back in the car and held the bottle out the window in salute to the frogs as the tires spit gravel and dirt. Have you ever traveled a backwoods road in the dead of night? Its equal parts creepy and majestic.  Regardless how the two differ in definition the thing they have in common is they keep you looking. Your vision is alert for both the former and the latter. 

Have you figured out why we’re on this journey? Maybe you have but I won’t spoil it for those that are still playing catch up. My earliest memory of these roads were when my numerical age was in the single digits. I can’t give you an exact number but what I can remember is my father traveling these same roads, leaving Spofford lake. In the same darkness coming to the blind corner that a boulder occupied, having to maneuver past it slowly with a few honks of the horn, letting any unseen drivers who might be approaching aware of our presence. All you natives know which stretch of road I’m talking about. And those of you who read this and go out exploring; use the fucking horn before barreling past the boulder. It’s just backwoods courtesy.

When you’re in the car music has a way of enhancing your drive? Does it not? I don’t know about you but certain genres have a way of influencing the way I drive. Punk music, hip hop, and metal equals fast and furious. Alternative, country, folk and whatever else is cruising music. Fall Out Boy’s The Patron Saint of Liars and Fakes is blaring on the speakers.  I love the end of this song, there’s always one part that I sing as loud as I can.  Music is another time capsule, bringing back memories in strong nostalgic waves. You can almost taste and smell the time period. In that moment you feel a way you felt 5-10 years ago. I know it sounds weird but there’s always that one song for everyone that when they hear it it transports them back for a brief millisecond into a moment or feeling that washes over you and you can’t deny it. Reminiscence, powerful isn’t it? It’s something almost tangible; you swear you could touch it. You’re olfactory senses kick in and this smell overwhelms you and it’s something so foreign yet familiar that you taste it on the back of your tongue. Everything in you tells you you’re in a different time period but here you are, sitting in this seat brought back to reality as it moves around you.

I have myself a real Gordian knot situation at the moment. If you know what that is then you’ll begin to see my whole plot beginning to unveil itself. If you don’t know what that is, well, educate your ass. You have fucking Google at the palm of your hands, type that shit in and get your learn on. Anyway, I think this whole thing is about to wrap itself up, I’m tired. This is my self obituary. Did you think I would want anyone else to write it? So the question I never fully answered in the beginning of this story is do I want to die? I guess this is where the confession part comes in. I’ve flirted with death my whole life. It seduces me at times. I’m not afraid and I think that’s what draws me to it or towards the limit of excess. I have friends. I’m well liked (or so I like to think) but there’s always this part of me that people don’t know. This part that lives deep down and always knows the right mask to put on to conceal me from the real world. I live in two worlds. The world I let people see and the world that exists when I’m alone. I don’t know any other way to express it and even if I did I don’t know if you’d understand the way I feel it. It’s ok, it really is. Don’t be stingy pouring out that liquor for me. I want top shelf shit you hear me? I’ll know if you pour out some cheap shit. Ok, maybe I won’t know the difference but at least make the effort to do it once. Doesn’t have to be an annual thing. That’s annoying right? Having to remember every year? Do it as soon as I die and we’re square. 

Let’s get on with it shall we? I put my foot down and feel the pressure of the gas pedal. 35, the car starts to pick up, the air starts to whirl in through the windows filling the cabin. 45, the air begins to sting my eyeballs as the trees are whipping by like I was in the Millennium Falcon on the Kessel Run trying to make it under 12 parsecs. 55, everything is starting to blur, the car is starting to slide as I swing around the corners. I drink the last of the bottle, throwing it out the window as I wipe my mouth with my forearm putting a cigarette in my mouth; the flame blinds me as I struggle to regain focus. The burn of the cigarette feels good as I close my eyes and let go of the steering wheel and put my foot down on the gas pedal. In these last moments I have no regrets. I have no pain. Only the wind and the darkness. I start to laugh a little at first and then it erupts and I can’t stop. This is funny, I’m going home at last…..

November 06, 2022 00:04

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


22:47 Nov 16, 2022

Holy crap that was well written! I first thought I'd comment that it would be an easier read if you had some more paragraphs, but as I read on, the way it is presented actually enhanced the feeling of the rambling message that was slowly building up. Great great work! If I could I'd give it two thumbs up!


Ian Barrett
02:16 Nov 17, 2022

Thanks for reading it Martin. I kinda just let my freak flag fly on this one and threw away my filter. I'm glad you liked it and it will inspire me to write more in this style. Thanks again for reading and commenting.


10:15 Nov 17, 2022

Yeah, bring on more in the same style! Loved it!


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.