He knew he'd be sick for days, knew that it could do some irreversible damage but learned that it wasn't going to be much worse than all the bread and sugar he ate. Tonight however he was going to push the edge of what he wanted to do. He was going to get drunk.
Life didn't matter. What does a life mean if you can't succeed at anything? And when you are one of the non succeeding you find someone to laugh at the bleak existence you've created for yourself. And don't ever fool yourself into thinking it's not you're choices that put you there. You don't always know what you're choosing but you are. Brian chose poorly. So here he was alone, at a bar with no wingman nor a wingman to none. No hag — is that even an accepted term anymore? — and looking around no acquaintances to whom he’d be friendly.
He drove to this bar because ten years ago it was his last hope when the friend he called his best friend responded with "Why would I go there. There's nothing for me there." to Brian's question of "Will you go with me?" He went alone that night too. He called several people, everyone was "busy" doing, he found out later, things like staying home and watching TV.
Like normal he didn't know what to do. Mostly people spend way too much money on beverages that quenched common sense rather than thirst and talk catty to and about one another. While never actually going up to a boy they were interested in. And yet somehow hooking up with so many.
He parked, took in a deep breath and after turning off the car sat and played with the emergency break. Just holding it up and pushing the button. He could hear a hundred voices telling him he didn’t have to do this, but they were wrong. It was time to accept it was over. He was doomed to struggle through life failing at everything he did and never being with anyone who just liked him. Liked him, capital L perhaps even loved him. Thought he was worth the time because Brian was Brian. Not because Brian made them feel good, hopefully true, not because Brian was something to be put on a pedistal, but because Brian was… Brian.
A couple of jock types crossed and made some rude comment, he remembered the years of trying to just be friends with some of these guys. Not tight but a hike. He wasn’t good at sports or anything athletic. So they never invited him. He’d watch. All he needed was for a smile and a chin. That little gesture guys do when they wave by quickly pointing the chin. It say’s “you”.
And that’s the problem. He didn’t fit. Anywhere. His people were D&D, LARPing, MTG players. He didn’t like them. He didn’t masturbate to the TARDIS, he could tell you what it meant but didn’t accept that it made sense. Brian believed he was different than those ‘__ers, ‘__ees, and ‘__vians who drooled offensively on content of others living their dreams.
His inward spiral broke when someone placed an empty beer can, a primer for the bar he guessed, on his car. He got out and said “excuse me, can you remove that?”
The skinny, already drunk, if not high, queen turned and said, “Fuck you bitch. It isn’t gonna hurt your shitty car.”
“yeah, well it’s my car.”
The tight shirt, chestless, latina with his makeup, french tips and four inch platforms turned to the queen and said “girl he’s a looser, and this bitch needs a cosmo”
Brian lifted the can and tossed it at them. They laughed because he missed. He wiped his hands on his pants locked the door and followed, at a distance, the uber flames, those whom he hated the most about clubs, Into the bar.
He walked in, the bouncer asked for his I.D. which he politely handed over. With a swipe of the card through a machine, not even looking at the read out, he handed the I.D. back to Brian and let him pass.
Nothing had really changed. The boys were younger the, music louder, but it was just him. Further evidenced by the fact that the same men danced in their underwear, a newer model but still over cute and looking like they hated the world. The same Bears in their clicks and sub genres. He never did figure out all the names, but there were the biker bears who were so light in the lofers as to be twinks with bulk and beards. The burly bears, the muscle bears, silver bears and of course the chubs.
He did a round. Same Tom of Findland posters. Same back bar with smoking on the deck. The public trough/urinal was still there. Men with the bigger penises the only ones not afraid to use it. They took the benches down. Too many blow jobs he guessed. The disco room was updated but still several years behind in house music. Then back to the main room with the big bar.
Brian started to head to the pool tables, but he was already feeling overwhelmed and needed to get his drunk on. He recognized the bar tender. A friend of a friend’s boyfriend or some such he’d met at several parties. He turned and smiled, held up a finger, finished with a customer and came over
“Hey Tom.” Brian said, giving his best chin. was that bad chin work?
Tom looked a bit off balance for just a blink. He didn’t recognize Brian, nor did Brian expect him to. Still it would have been nice.
“No, I’ll have a Madori sour.”
A blink, a slight turn of the head then a smile. “Right up.”
Eight dollars, with the two dollar (and he was being cheap) tip and he had his favorite drink to whet the palate.
He continued to watch through his third drink. Switched to Long Islands because they were cheaper. More alcohol and cheaper. So he sat there and drank all the time knowing people saw him. Knowing they judged him. These fags were just like any breeder, superior acting to hide that they too were scared and confused.
He would try to interact but somehow he turned people off. He didn’t know how but he did. He tried to become aware of what he was doing as he did it but over time just gained a new level of neuraticism making his repulsive nature even more powerful. In his mind he saw the pointing and the laughing.
A tear fell before he even knew it was forming. He was out of Tea. It had only been an hour. “Tom!” He said a bit loud. “Wow that was loud. I’m talking loud.”
Tom came over. “You okay?”
“No, I suck.” He looked at his phone. “Shit I’ve been her barley 90 minutes. 87 to be exact.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out his keys. “I can’t drive but I need more tea.” He put the keys on the bar.
“I can’t take those, but I can call a cab.”
“Can’t afford a cab. But I can afford another Tea.”
He didn’t drink this one so fast.
An hour passed the room was spinning a little and he needed the bathroom. So he stumbled to the trough and dug out his micro wonder and peed. Let them know he was not what they were looking for. Fuck them.
Back to the bar, he’d pissed off three people by running into them. “I’m drunk. It’s been 27 years. Whew.”
By some fluke his seat was open. Tom wasn’t there. The angry one sold him another drink. A nice looking guy in a ball cap sat next to him. “Having a rough time?”
“Looks like you’ve been crying.”
“Just sad is all. And fuck them. I’m here to get shit faced and leave all of this.”
“The bar scean?”
“No…” He sipped and a tear fell out of his left eye. He wiped it, “sorry. No man Gay shit.”
“You’re smiling. You got it all wrong. I’m gay. You gay?”
“Good, you’re cute, but I’m drunk so Quasimodo would look good. Not that your ugly, my perception is just hindered. Why am I talking weird?”
The guy just laughed.
“Any way I’m tired of wanting this.” he wave to the room. ‘I know.” he paused and looked at the men laughing and dancing. “I know I’ll always want it but this.” he pointed to the glass. “This will remind me that I’m UGLY.”
“No, no, Really. Listen. I’m ugly. Not old lady with cats ugly but people don’t like me.” Tears started to fall.
“I just wanted to have someone to be friends with. A buddy. Sure I want sex. I always want sex, but that’s not all there is. I wanted a friend who would be brave for me and I’d be brave for him.” A voice somewhere deep inside was telling him to stop but Tea was in charge and he went on.
“I wanted a best friend, hell I’d be Sancho, I didn’t care as long as I could be his Don qui-whatever.”
“I’d love a lover but I can’t even get past ‘see you at the next party where we don’t have to actually connect. You’re funny and beyond that go away.”
Brian didn’t even see the guy anymore. he knew he was there but he was lost in his words. His tears dried and he spoke the pain. Pausing only to offer him a drink every few minutes.
Brian put his drink down and looked at its contents. To Dave he said, "This glass seems full but what is in it isn't what we want in it. Most of what is here is water cleverly held at bay by a lack of love. And water’s the good stuff”
The man looked and smiled, something that disrupted Brian's maligned thinking.
"I don't drink you know. I told the, thingy person." he pointed at the bartender, "To hold my keys. Thanks for listening to me. I'm sorry for being so sad."
The man took off his cap and just smiled and waved to the tender and got Brian's keys from him. "The car will be safe till morning?"
It was Tom. A cap, maybe there was something to Clark Kent after all.
Tom helped Brian up and coaxed him to his car.
"This your car?" Brian asked. "S'nice." His unsteady feet didn't quite agree on how to circumnavigate but he made it around the beige Juke. "I want one.”
“I’m taking you to my apartment. You need someone around just in case.”
“Thank you. I don’t drink. I just wanted to say good bye. Move to boulder and some how get my heart to accept love isn’t in the cards.”
“I don’t think you’re ugly. I’ve liked you for years.”
“You remember me?”
“Yes. You talked to me one night. Made me think. I’ve been in art classes. Slow going, but I felt seen by you.”
“I get that a lot.”
“I think it scares people.”
“Come on you and me a breakfast date?”
“I’m gonna throw up.” Brian jumped out at the next stop and did exactly that.
“I have a tooth brush.” Tom said when Brian got back in.
“I don’t get it. I’m drunk and not that has ever stopped me but here goes the scare people off stuff. If we like eachother after the first date and I’m sober I’ll be scared and…”
“Stop. I’ll stop you when you need to stop, how’s that. Other wise your candor is a wonderful break from, what did you call it the GayGay?”
“Oh man I’m so gonna regret all of this in the morning. I was a mess wasn’t I?”
“Well yeah. I trust it though. Can’t say why, but I’ve always trusted you.”
“Okay then when the world stops spinning we’ll have brunch.”
Tom didn’t say anything so Brian looked at him. Tom just smiled and gave him an amazing chin.