“Weed and Liquor, Never Sicker” by Emeka Patrick
Thursdaze (because the weekend won’t come fast enough) features original flash fiction modeled after our Drug Chronicles Series. Each story is an original one, and each encapsulates the author’s fictional experience with drugs. Our print series has anthologized authors writing about marijuana, cocaine, speed, and heroin, but contributors to the web series can focus on any drug, real or imagined, controlled or prescribed, illegal or soon-to-be legalized. Submissions to Thursdaze will be judged on an author’s ability to stylistically emulate his or her substance of choice. Submissions are also limited to 750 words, so try to focus. (They have a pill for that.)
This week, Emeka Patrick spends a night out against his better judgment.
There was a reason I only smoked weed occasionally after college—and it wasn’t just due to that one Hash Bash where I smoked too much and momentarily passed out. Sure, the experience taught me a lesson. But I was eighteen, and at that age lessons aren’t often easily learned. Coming to, lying on the floor of the local Subway sandwich shop, the only thing that crossed my mind besides, I need to get the hell out of here, was, Next time I decide to dedicate my day to nonstop bong rips and blunts, I should really eat something.
Nowadays marijuana served as more of an enabler, a facilitator of decisions to stay in and do next to nothing. I pulled it out of my arsenal when I knew fear of missing out might drag me away from my bed, couch, or responsibility I might have the next morning. A couple well-timed pulls were pretty much all that was needed to serve as an effective obstacle between me and whatever might be going on that particular night.
Friends, unaware of this, often texted cajoling me to come out and “do something.” In the rare instances when they wouldn’t take no for an answer and these texts became calls, the calls usually ended in resignation upon hearing my voice, distant and reminiscent of a record played far below its intended RPM.
This time, however, my excuses fell on deaf ears. My friends were “only a couple blocks away,” and I was guilty of not seeing them “nearly enough these days.” I tried—I really did attempt to illuminate my situation—but no amount of half-dazed utterances or incomplete, murmured thoughts would put them off. Knowing I was beaten, I got dressed and went to show face for as little time as I could possibly get away with.
I spotted my friends hovering near the bar waiting for me, shots lined up with what appeared to be more shots as chasers. Even if it was leading me somewhere I didn’t really want to go, I had to appreciate both their thoughtfulness and thoroughness.
Slowly making my way toward them I knew it wouldn’t take much, and the first shot proved me right. It didn’t go down badly, but I felt the whiskey affect me more quickly than it would have was I completely sober.
“Shit,” I said, slamming my glass on the bar.
“You got another one,” someone said and, always the dutiful friend, I picked up the next glass and let the liquid flow down my throat.
“One more man, you need to catch up,” I heard Robert say, and before I could protest another shot of whiskey sat before me.
“This is the last one guys. Seriously . . . can’t do any more,” I said, and then threw back the contents.
This one didn’t go down as well as the first couple, and as soon as it hit my stomach I knew I needed some air. I pointed toward the outside area and mimed a smoking motion with my index and middle fingers. They nodded, and I made my way to the outdoor area by the side of the bar.
It was packed as usual and, like much of tonight, I just didn’t feel like dealing with it. I turned around and made my way to the front, huddling with the others unable to fit into the small outdoor area, forced to make a choice between vices.
I reached in my jacket pocket and realized I forgot my cigarettes. Maybe this was a sign—Maybe I should just go home, I thought.
I looked up, scanning the few people standing outside, seeking a friendly face. Seeing what seemed to be one standing a few doors down from the bar, I walked over.
“Hey man, sorry to even ask . . . I know it’s a pain, but do mind if I roll a cigarette? I can toss you a buck or two.”
“Don’t worry about the money dude, but I’m pretty much out of tobacco,” he said, showing me the nearly empty insides of the plastic pouch.
“Hold up. Here, finish this,” he said, taking a final pull before he passed me the rest of his cigarette.
I inhaled deeply, immediately realizing my mistake. In my daze I missed the unmistakable odor, and in my haste I forgot to ask what the hell I was smoking.
“You okay man?” he asked, carefully examining my facial expression.
“Not really,” I said, turning toward him. “You know what? I should have just stayed on the goddamn couch.”
And then I ran to the edge of the sidewalk to empty the contents of my stomach in the street.
EMEKA PATRICK is a born and bred New Yorker, which according to the internet means he’s “automatically flyer than you.” A general enthusiast for most everything off-color, he recently finished writing an illustrated book—about a rat named Ricky who lives in Bushwick—that offers a modern, humorous take on classic children’s cautionary tales. He is currently transitioning back into the strategy side of the advertising world and completing a novel about life in New York City. You can follow his short, sporadic bursts of genius on Twitter @emekapatrick.
Do you have a story you’d like us to consider for online publication in the Thursdaze flash fiction series? Here are the submission terms and guidelines:
—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your submission should never have been published elsewhere.
—Your story should feature a drug, any drug, and your character’s experience with it. We’ll consider everything from caffeine to opium, and look forward to stories ranging from casual use to addiction to recovery. Stylistically, we’ll respond most favorable to stories that capture the mood and rhythm of your drug of choice.
—Include your drug of choice next to your byline.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission [email protected], and include THURSDAZE in the subject line. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.
About the Drug Chronicles Series: Inspired by the ongoing international success of the city-based Akashic Noir Series, Akashic created the Drug Chronicles Series. The anthologies in the series feature original short stories from acclaimed authors, each of whom focuses on their fictional experience with the title drug. Current releases in the series include The Speed Chronicles (Sherman Alexie, William T. Vollmann, Megan Abbott, James Franco, Beth Lisick, Tao Lin, etc.), The Cocaine Chronicles (Lee Child, Laura Lippman, etc.), The Heroin Chronicles (Eric Bogosian, Jerry Stahl, Lydia Lunch, etc.), and The Marijuana Chronicles (Joyce Carol Oates, Lee Child, Linda Yablonsky, etc.).
Posted: Feb 26, 2015
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