Can you share an intoxicated experience you had that proved to be humiliating or otherworldly?

Meg Tuite

The Blackout

I’ve been a recovering alcoholic for 25 years. I was a drinker who enjoyed wine every evening, not a binge drinker or blackout drinker, but I had a blackout at my brother’s wedding in Wisconsin. First I was drinking whiskey with the best man and his buddies in front of the church because I wanted to distance myself from the giggling bridesmaids and thought it made me cool. (A lifelong affliction, the desire to be cool.) I felt good in my blue silk dress, my long hair wavy from an old perm. A young guy with a prominent Adam’s apple glued himself to my side at the reception and kept buying me brandies. I was supposed to drive my brother’s pickup back to his house afterwards, while he and his wife spent the night in a posh hotel, and I did, but I don’t know how. I don’t remember leaving the party. I have no recollection whatsoever of driving back to my brother’s. I told that story years later, saying I was lucky I didn’t kill someone else or get killed myself, and my mother gasped: “Oh my god, all the wedding presents were in the truck.” That’s my family.

Jacqueline Doyle

“He’s an Angry One, Isn’t He?

My girlfriend wanted me to get closer with her family, so she set me up on a date with her dad. We were going to some seedy bar he frequented daily, near his house.

He’s a big softie, under it all, she told me, rubbing my back to soothe my nerves. Like you are, babe.

Four hours and a dozen drinks later, we were kicking down the door to the town’s animal shelter, which he insisted was a, quote, fucking bomb place, endquote. I guess he really liked dogs. Or maybe he really liked break-ins. Not sure which.

Inside it was savagely loud: an unrelenting drone of barking. He walked into a dimly lit corridor where they kept the biggest dogs; massive things, the victims of fight clubs, the utmost abuse, environments to turn them heartless and fatalistic. They snarled at us, defensively.

Ooh, her dad said, sticking a fat finger out at an indeterminate breed that launched itself belly-first at its cage. He’s an angry one, isn’t he?

Spit flew from the dog’s jowls as it barked. Eyes slit in seething rage. Insurmountable anger.

Paul Riker

Personality Party

We did this thing we called “Personality Party” where we drew characters from a hat; we had to stay in character the whole party. I landed the role of the 34yo stepmother, “drunk and loving it.” So I bought a crumpled satin hot pink slip from Ragstock and wore a floppy white hat and as we all scurried home to prepare, it was just me and my “stepson” at our party-house. I swanned downstairs, taking a bottle of whiskey back up, calling in my mother-voice that I’d just be a minute. I pre-partied alone, putting on lipstick I never wore, talking to myself, listening to our friends arriving for the first twenty minutes. Then I clicked my high heels together and stumbled down the stairs, drunk already, telling everyone how GLAD I was to see them, hanging on my friends’ shoulders. They recoiled—I was the old stepmother—and moved away, ignoring my florid calls for friendship. I drooped from group to group, uncooling the atmosphere as soon as I arrived, and after twenty minutes I gaily announced I was going to leave them to their party! I went back upstairs, vomited into my trash can, and cried, “in character.”

Kristine Langley Mahler

Drunk Forgiveness

Soon after my wife and I bicker into tears, I storm away, scudded on by righteousness and anger, leaving cold the heated mess I’ve made, predictable as summer. I wander to a taproom not so far from home I cannot wander back, perchance, when drunk–where the girl tending bar is blond and pony-tailed and her tank-top bulges with goodness. Where beer foam overruns the thick mug, meaning, of course, nothing, even when my private non-looks and non-talk are withdrawn, and three or four young guys from the neighborhood arrive as they always do at this time. After a few they’re able to deftly disguise the fact they’ve fought with their wives too and left home loathing them, home, job, and kids, in that exact order. Yet they are so kind to the bartender—and they, too, want so much for her to forgive them.

Leonard Kress

An English Rose

The Scottish Highlands can be a cold, lonely place, even on a late summer’s evening when the sky is still well alight with eclectic hues.

And lonelier still, when your traveling companion has eloped with a member of the opposite sex to get cosy under canvas near the foot of Ben Nevis – who’s seen and heard it all before.

Standing awkwardly waiting for an English rose outside the toilet block, he swayed out of rhythm with the freshening breeze. Warmed by the local water of life and other libations. Along came a spider or other wee beastie, in his mind at least, and pushed him over the wall into a bed of vicious pricks.

She emerged, looking for her drunken guide to lead her down the platonic path, her friend indisposed with his. He lay there dazed and dizzy, before his gallant rescue, bagpipes playing in his head.

And come the next morning, with a bear in his head. She was laid down beside him and whispered, “Do you remember that you fell in a bush? Hold still and I’ll help with the thorns.”

And with that, the new Highland day did dawn.

Jamie Graham

Songbirds

“I’ll take my shoe off and puke in it, dump it out the window. It’s fine.”

Those shining blue lights were getting closer.

“Get the fuck outta my car!”

I’d never heard her yell. She’d never done much else but squeak and smile or stick her tongue down my throat. Everyone else was silent.

I don’t think I’ve ever understood anyone that’s called themselves my friend. She could’ve puked in my car.

“Officer, I’ve been drinking,” I exclaimed as he ambled up. “I’m going to vomit soon.”

He was all dressed up in a uniform with shiny brass buttons and a curious hat. I saw a funhouse mirror version of my face stretch across his patent black shoe before I threw up on it. Everything shined that night.

You can’t put your feet on the floor of a police car but you can hang out the window to your waist, spew down the side of it.

At home I put a hand on the wallpaper wall and took the longest piss of my entire life as I watched the songbirds fly between their branches.

He let me go, but he called my parents.

I still remember the old number: 757–481–2741.

Bryan Tipton Bowie

West Princeton Street

I wake up hunched over on a curb, four beers out.
I don’t remember anything I may have said
that last hour I was in the room with all of you.
I always know what to do after the fact.

I don’t remember anything I may have said.
I’ll ask you to reconstruct the scene.
I always know what to do after the fact:
apologize, apologize, apologize.

I’ll ask you to reconstruct the scene.
I stop knowing what “enough” means.
Apologize, apologize, apologize.
I trust whatever I drink to pilot my limbs.

I stop knowing what “enough” means.
I drink like this when I want to flee the scene.
I trust whatever I drink to pilot my limbs.
I promise next time to drink with tact.

I drink like this when I want to flee the scene.
I wake up hunched over on a curb, four beers out.
I promise next time to drink with tact
the last hour I’m in the room with all of you.

J. Bradley