It was one of those nights; had gone out with some friends early in the afternoon and quickly (fourth beer in) I realized there was nothing left to be said.
We had gone to a board-game coffee shop; they had coffee and burgers, I had eleven beers (3 euro each, wallet drying up dangerously), and things got really tedious. Not even midnight and they had to leave—go home, sleep, eat, whatever.
I hopped into a cab, the beers softly whispering in my head; instead of home, I went to a nearby pub. Just a ten-minute walk from home, which is always good for when I get too drunk—assists me in not turning homicidal.
Climbed on the stool in the furthest corner and ordered a Greenberger; its sappy taste hit me good and I lit a cigarette. I noticed a lonesome bottle of Absinthe in the corner of the bottom shelf—only 60 proof—and asked its price. Four euro for a shot; I opted out, it wouldn’t help me feel like Hem, it’d just deplete my wallet even faster. I had money for only five beers and couldn’t go round wasting them.
Besides, this wasn’t one of those dim-lit dives of Aarhus, where I got (mean) drunk way too many times and bummed drinks off more fortunate bums. There was no park I could go to certain someone would share fortified wine, or lukewarm Tuborg.
The one good thing about Greek bars is that they don’t often see drunkards and, when they do, they’re quick to offer a complimentary round, because a drunkard is their only chance of selling more than two drinks to someone.
After my third beer, a free one arrived; I swigged it down, ordered another (for which I paid). Greenberger is a good beer, because it’s strong enough to get in my head after a few quick rounds.
It was Sunday night, only a few people were in the bar; last call hovered dangerously over my head, but, in most Greek bars last call coincides with when the last paying customer leaves—and now I’ve stated the two good things about Greek bars, and Greece in general.
I ordered another and checked my almost empty wallet—one more round till broke and I sipped.
“Well, hello there,” I heard a very familiar hoarse voice. “Get my man here a double Wild Turkey, neat.”
The bartender, slightly terrified, poured two strong ones and walked away, no longer interested in chit-chat.
I raised my glass and toasted one of my oldest drinking buddies. We drank it down, he ordered another; and a round of beers to chase the delicious elixir with.
“Been a while,” he remarked casually.
“Yeah,” I found my voice, after rolling a shaky cigarette. “So, what’s the price for the drinks?”
“Always suspicious, huh?”
“Know you well enough to know nothing’s free.”
“I’ve got a proposition for you,” He said and ordered Maker’s Mark. I knew the bar didn’t have it; the bartender never even had heard of it.
Satan just pointed at the top-shelf and there it fucking was; top-shelf bourbon in a bar in a country that doesn’t appreciate the wine of the soul.
Befuddled, the bartender just put two clean glasses and the bottle in front of us and left; it was good having my old drinking pal back.
“Good, huh?” He smirked.
“Oh, yes,” I nodded.
Most drinks, you swill down; some precious few, you cherish.
“So, about the proposition,” He added, after refilling our glasses.
“Didn’t you win my soul a while back? I remember a fixed poker game.”
“You bluffed your way out of it,” He corrected me. “Got me all too high and I fell for my own bullshit.”
“Right,” I mumbled, quite proud of myself. “So, what do you want?”
“To grant you a simple power, that’s all,” He shrugged inconspicuously.
“What’s the fucking catch?” I retorted, becoming more brazen.
“No catch,” He grinned. “Offer’s simple enough; the power to manifest some of your thoughts and desires.”
“Well, you won’t be able to make money out of thin air, nor will it help you get published,” He hurriedly explained. “It’s more like…materializing the thoughts you have, when you encounter someone that pisses you off.”
“What’s in it for you?”
“I give you one guess,” He winked and patted me on the shoulder—then, always the gentleman, poured me another.
“Right,” I nodded and had a nice, rejuvenating gulp.
“So, are you in?” He insisted, hopefully.
“Sure, why the fuck not?” I shrugged; with (and for) Maker’s Mark, I’d have agreed to fucking anything.
“The restriction is…”
“Here it comes!” I interjected with a guffaw.
“You can’t hurt yourself, or those very close to you.”
“Alright,” I nodded—it made sense. Considering I’ve always been suicidal, I’d be the first to go and the whole deal would become nonsensical. “How’s Emily?”
“Probably planning to take over,” He chuckled. “By the way, she’s waiting for you, but she wanted me to clarify she’s not in a hurry for you to arrive. Nor am I, to be honest…I’m not sure I could handle both of you again!”
“As long as she’s well,” a tear rolled down in my bourbon.
“She is,” He reassured me, with an all too tender and friendly tap on the shoulder.
We polished the bottle off in silence—every long gulp brought back images from the past, from when Emily and I lay on a blue foldout couch, drunk and in love. I saw the snow falling, as we stood under the yard door watching the grass turn white and seeking for warmth in each other’s arms, and a bottle of drugstore rotgut.
I got up and left the bar—quite drunk and with my wallet empty, followed (and watched over) closely by her ghost.
When the light turned green, I crossed the street; didn’t even stir, when tires screeched and a speeding car missed me by mere inches.
“What the fuck are you doing?” A man no older than twenty stuck his head out of the window and shook his fist in the air.
“It’s green, you fucking baboon,” I pointed at the pedestrian light, clenching my fists and only faintly staggering about.
“I don’t care!” He protested. “Fuck off, cunt! I’m in a hurry!”
“Go fuck yourself!” I flipped him the bird, when he sped by me in his shiny little Porsche—apparently, the offspring of a rich Neo-Greeks that made a life out of massive bank loans he’ll never pay back.
Fleetingly, I turned around, wishing I’d pulled him out of the car and beat his ass to a pulp; his engine roared, then, bam.
He lost control of the car in his attempt to gun a red light and landed directly onto a sturdy streetlamp. His small sport-car engulfed the concrete pole and black smoke rose in the air.
A few people gathered around, no one daring to go nearer; neither he, nor the woman sitting next to him, appeared to be stirring. In my drunken state, I just walked back home, quickly fading into the brilliant blissfulness of blackout.
I woke up heavily hungover, my mouth still flooded with strong bourbon; my head ached and my stomach was in turmoil—nothing a good Bloody Mary, or three, couldn’t fix.
Halfway into my second Bloody Mary, I checked the news online. And there it was, the car crash on the front page. Two dead—the son of a well-known businessman and his girlfriend. They blamed the street’s bad condition; nothing about him gunning a red light, nothing about him driving recklessly.
He was a good kid, obviously; studied economics in London, had a bright future working in his father’s company. I downed my cocktail and poured me another—my own concoction, which means 3/4ths gin and just a splash of tomato juice. No strength, nor desire, to use the rest of the ingredients.
With a cigarette hanging from my lips, I stared at the pictures of the crash and images emerged from my mind’s abyss.
Coincidence, I told myself. Reckless driving—for which Greeks are notorious—on badly maintained streets (since maintenance of infrastructure happens only when elections are due) is a recipe for fatal accidents.
I took a steaming hot shower and gargled tomato juice and some Listerine—I was to meet with friends, at the same board-game coffee shop, and couldn’t smell like a gin distillery.
Waited at the bus stop, smoking a cigarette solemnly, already losing the good buzz of my gin Bloody Maries. I stood on the sidewalk, counting the minutes till the bus arrived.
“Move it, you son of a whore!” The motorcycle’s driver yelled, revving his engine.
“The street’s over there,” I pointed out and took a purposeful step forth, blocking the whole sidewalk while the others waiting at the stop just looked on.
“I don’t give a shit!” The driver screamed. “I’ll run you over, motherfucker! Move!”
“Do it,” I shrugged. “I’ve got a picture of your license plate, anyway.”
“Fucking asshole!” He bawled as he maneuvered past me, almost hitting an old woman.
He sped up, still driving on the sidewalk; but not for long.
I don’t even know if the oil spillage was there all the time, or, if it’d magically appeared—at any rate, there weren’t any potential sources for the oil. But, it was there.
It all happened in milliseconds; the bike slipped, the driver lost control and hit a street sign. As if in a splatter movie, the bike—his headless body still riding it—dropped in the middle of the street.
I actually ran towards him, alongside two young people also waiting for the bus; someone called the emergency services and I helped a young man move the bike back to the sidewalk, to avoid further accidents.
“Shit,” he said, chuckling dryly and nervously. “That was…holy fuck!”
“Yeah,” I frowned, trying to avoid looking at the open and gushing neck of the man.
In my life, I’ve seen enough wounds—and mainly really nasty abscesses—but a decapitated body still remains the most morbid sight.
Emergency personnel arrived; an ambulance picked the dead body up and a police truck towed the bike. Cops questioned us about what happened—no one mentioned I’d gotten into a fight with the driver right before the accident, but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway.
How the oil appeared on the sidewalk, no one could tell; it was a fucking mystery, and the confirmation I needed that Satan had found the easiest way to increase his workload exponentially.
Two for two, and I just didn’t know how to feel about it.
Granted, often I’d wished the worst upon Greece—well, neo-Greeks, because Greece, as a country, is beautiful and I do believe the spirits of the ancient demigods, like Plato and Aristophanes, still walk the Athenian streets, weeping for its current state of (mental and physical) decay.
But, I’d caused three deaths in just one day—one of which was probably unwarranted, too, the first driver’s girlfriend might have been a decent person—and I didn’t feel very decent at that moment.
On my way to meeting my friends, I wondered whether Satan’s proposition had come true, or, if all these were just coincidences meant to toy with my head. Having completely lost my buzz, I swigged down three beers as soon as I arrived and they all asked me what was wrong.
I told them about the accident—without mentioning the tiny detail of my potentially having caused it via sheer mental power. They got agitated and bombarded me with questions; I shrugged them off and insisted we go back to having a good time, “what’s done, is done”.
Gratefully, subject was changed and after five more beers, I felt better. It was another short outing and I hadn’t had the chance properly to drink.
One of them gave me a ride back home, but I just walked into the fancy bar-restaurant right across the street, looking for some Wild Turkey and a nice drunk that’d help me fall asleep without boxing with my sheets till the early morning hours.
The bartender—who knew me well, especially since the evening I downed a whole bottle of Wild Turkey—greeted me heartily and poured me a triple Jim Beam neat, because they were out of my favorite drink.
“You know,” I heard a man, who couldn’t be older than fifty, say, sitting on a table with his wife (I assumed) and two friends few feet away from me, “they keep cutting our pensions, we’re gonna starve!”
“I thought,” his friend retorted, “you had a good pension.”
“I did! Five grand! Now, it’s down to a meager two. How can a man live like this?”
Public servant, I knew immediately—had a good, fancy position, probably doing absolutely nothing, and retired at the age of forty, maybe forty-five. And since then, state money that could have gone into fixing this cesspool went to his bank account, as compensation for having accomplished nothing in his life.
I swigged Jim down and immediately got a refill, with just a half-nod.
He continued complaining about his reduced pension—which was still way higher than average—while people who worked for forty years in the private sector, which means actually worked, get four to five hundred per month (if they’re lucky), and young people with Master’s and Ph.D.’s work for three euro per hour under the table.
“Things were so much better with Andreas, right?” The man said and I choked on Jim.
Of course, things were better with Andreas Papandreou, I wished to scream to his stupid face. He just threw money out of the window, money the E.U. gave him in order to improve this shithole of a country. And, instead of doing something useful and turn Greece into a first world country, he hired an army of public servants, who kept on voting for him, and suddenly neo-Greeks went from riding donkeys and eating ratshit to driving Mercedes and feasting on caviar.
Andreas Papandreou; the man who singlehandedly destroyed an entire country. Of course, it wasn’t just his fault; he had way too many voters just like that man, who wanted nothing more than make big money without doing anything to earn it.
“I really thought,” his wife said, “Tsipras would have made things right, you know?”
My blood boiled; and bourbon did nothing to quell my flustered soul. Just more voters of Tsipras, faux-pas leftists living extravagantly via undeserved pensions and bank loans they’ll never repay. People who voted for Tsipras because they actually believed he’d erase their debts, save their five houses and three luxury cars, and raise their pensions to pre-recession levels—maybe, even hire their offspring in some completely needless public sector position.
They represented the generation of neo-Greeks that had effectively ruined this country; the land where once upon a long time ago Plato and Euripides reigned. And they had the audacity to claim to be those human gods’ direct descendants, too…
Broiling within, I had another Jim and lit a cigarette; puffed long, hoping the cheap strong tobacco would somehow soothe my nerves and stop my hands from twitching.
I glanced outside the window, almost certain I’d see a nuclear mushroom, of my making, illuming the night sky—then, I recalled that Satan wouldn’t let me harm myself. So, nuking Athens to ashes was out of the question—fortunately.
Nursing my drink—as I couldn’t afford many more—I pondered on Satan’s offer and wished I could pose a few questions regarding its nature. Was it only death I could cause?
Could I, for example, somehow influence IMF and E.U. to kick Greece out of the eurozone, and maybe E.U., let it sink deeper than Venezuela in the pool of corruption and destruction? Bankruptcy and the ensuing humiliation might force many neo-Greeks to start thinking, for the first time in their lives.
But, then again, I doubted I’d read on the news that a decision like that was reached; it’d hurt the few people I care for, too, and Satan had put that out of the equation.
With a heavy sigh, I ordered another round; “on the house”, the bartender said and poured into the lowball till it could take no more.
Satan didn’t care about social justice, about fixing Greece; he probably liked Greece, and neo-Greeks in particular. They were imbecile and asinine, just like he probably liked them.
The offer was meant only to increase traffic to his realm—playing upon my innate misanthropy—not to give me a way to fix the country.
“I think I’ll vote for Tsipras again,” the complaining pensioner said and it got me all worked up again. “At least, he is not going to reduce our pensions again!”
“Yeah,” his friend nodded approvingly. “Mitsotakis only talks about investments; at least, Tsipras takes good care of us. And is going to hire ten thousand more people in the public sector; promised our son a job, too!”
“Our daughter, too!” The other replied.
And…it happened again; in the blink of an eye, all four of them dropped on their half-finished plates and never again moved.
The staff rushed to them; the bartender called for ambulances. I finished my drink and followed the rest of the befuddled patrons out on the street.
Didn’t have a very good buzz, but there was no other bar in the vicinity, so I returned home and laid down, staring at the fast spinning ceiling till everything went pitch dark.
In the following days, the death toll kept rising exponentially; reckless drivers that thought the world belonged to them, entitled brats that acted as if the world owed them everything because their parents had made money due to the corrupt system, or people with the standard neo-Greek look in their eyes that said “I’m better than you, even though it took me eight years to get my bachelor degree and have a job because at the university I sucked up enough high-ranked members of political youth parties”.
The alarming rate of ‘mysterious’ deaths made the news; obviously, no one even suspected the truth, though some conspiracy theorists came close, when they talked about the coming of the Apocalypse.
After all, perhaps it was what I’d become; besides, the best way to destroy the world is to give power to either misanthropes or philanthropists.
I stayed locked inside the darkness of home, swigging down rotgut and beer, and reading the news; I felt comfortable within the solitude of booze and music and my mind was more at ease.
And yet, it wasn’t enough; as I went through the news, my eyes fell on articles about two young buff guys raping and murdering a young woman—obviously, their family and friends were shocked by the news, even if, just by looking at their photographs you could discern the emptiness of their skulls, which they attempted to compensate for with steroid muscles.
I read about a new cycle of anarchist attacks in downtown Athens, by groups predominantly composed of offspring of wealthy families, spending their early twenties playing revolutionists, before they take over the family business, drive an armored BMW, and call for lower taxes for the rich (and less welfare for the poor).
Perhaps, because I wasn’t there to witness it, Satan was kind enough to send me live streaming in my head; an ‘anarchist revolutionist’—the 17-year-old son of a very wealthy businessman living in the most exclusive suburb of Athens—mistimed his Molotov cocktail and it exploded in his hand. Burned alive, as no one reacted fast enough, and his agonizing screams rang in my head.
The two rapists/murderers died, too; I saw them, in my head, while I downed rotgut, suffocating for no apparent reason. Not even coroners could properly identify the cause of death; heart attack, they claimed with high uncertainty.
More and more people began buying into the whole Apocalypse scenario; some blamed Tsipras (that was, admittedly, amusing) for being Satan’s puppet. Others claimed the assailant was Mitsotakis, or, even Merkel, Junker, Trump…the list was long, almost every single politician of the world got blamed by someone.
Reaching to me was impossible; I’d only been present in the first two accidents and road accidents in Greece are alarmingly common. During the rest, I was knocking back rotgut at home.
In some way, I felt like a goddamn vigilante; had the power, from the comfort of my home and of bourbon, to make the world a better place, by eradicating all those that had contributed to its current state of decay.
And I wasn’t limited to the confines of Athens, or, even Greece—always an avid reader of various newspapers, I was exposed to crimes and despicable people the world over.
In my mind, I saw plenty of them dying under mysterious, and occasionally grotesque enough to give Poe a shiver, circumstances. ISIS’ fighters; neo-nazis committing hate crimes; bankers and swindlers; etc.
It was a power trip; and a trip widely different than the ones I knew of. Booze and drugs give you the chance to explore your true self; getting drunk is the way to open up the gates of brutal honesty, say and do the things you’ve been oppressing in your head for far too long.
Acid takes your deepest thoughts and emotions and turns them into vivid images, beautiful (or morbid) hallucinations. Ice makes you mad; blow energizes you; junk numbs you. Yet, how each substance affects you depends on your psyche.
I’m not always a mean drunk punching street signs and pissing on luxury cars; in certain dives (and a specific underground strip joint) I’d been the loving kind of drunk. Hugging everyone (and sometimes anything, as in inanimate objects and plants; once, I was told I proclaimed eternal love to a plastic ficus) and buying rounds of rotgut and well tequila to perfect strangers.
It’s always about the place you’re in; physically and mentally.
It was the same with my newfound power; I’m a misanthrope both sober and drunk, but, drunk I tend to see the negatives far more clearly, there’s no doubt in my mind. Sober, I might give someone the benefit of the doubt, though that never lasts.
Satan knew me all too well—the way you know someone you’ve shared way too many rounds of cheap booze and aluminum foil pipes with.
Well into the first bottle of rotgut of the day—just one past noon—I figured I should call Him, ask for a trade; all the souls I sent him, overpopulating his realm, for a few worthy ones. Give us Plato, Aristophanes, Hem, Buk, Hank Williams, Dylan Thomas, Faulkner, a few more, and I’ll give you most modern artists; give us Churchill and you’ll get all contemporary politicians.
But, He’s not one you can make deals with; besides, I asked for too much, considering what I was offering. Not a fair deal, he had replied once upon a junk night, when I asked why we can’t trade Churchill for all current politicians.
I was getting high on power; not as high (or, good high) as on hooch and my preferred drugs, but it was enthralling enough to keep me hooked. Besides, I just couldn’t help myself getting mad at someone; however, I noticed that politicians and ‘celebrities’ (or influencers, whatever the modern terminology is) evaded my power.
Perhaps, they, too, were doing Satan’s work, via influencing, and subsequently stupefying, the masses; I just delivered the final blow.
Images of death kept on playing in my head; and I couldn’t understand whether they were of my making (deriving from the innermost, and wickedest, places of my soul), or if it was Satan’s doing.
Whichever the case, had it been a movie, I’d have applauded the director for an admittedly creative splatter film; but, it wasn’t fiction, the macabre images that’d have terrified Lovecraft (though, considering his misanthropy, he might have enjoyed the highlight reel) actually took place, and those suffering did so in reality, it wasn’t makeup and special effects.
Gradually, the story of unexplained deaths the world over became prominent in most news outlets; people grew terrified and religions spiked up in popularity. People seeking for salvation and absolution flooded churches, mosques, and other places of worship.
Despite, however, a general sense of fear, most people remained the same; some tried to rationalize the whole thing, claiming news and people overdramatized daily occurrences, giving them supernatural meaning and, for the most part, daily life continued as it always had.
It was prayers and fear that had increased exponentially, but in every other way people continued living as they always did; some swindling, some hustling, most blatantly ignoring the rights of those around them.
With a quickly emptying bottle of vodka next to me, I felt like Joseph Stalin; my weakened liver couldn’t handle the thirty shots the dictator and mass murderer could, but, as the numbers of freak accidents and mysterious deaths piled up, I suddenly (fourteenth shot in) realized I was on my way to making Stalin look like an amateur hoodlum.
The more vodka I poured down my body—cracking the second bottle of that cheap shit—the more images appeared in my head; locked inside my dark apartment, my brain was assaulted constantly by live streaming of people doing their usual shit and in my angry drunk state, I caused even more freak accidents.
Dealers cutting blow with rat poison; wife beaters; right wingers attacking foreigners; left wingers burning down cars and stores; brown-nosers trying to get to the top; big time hustlers, orchestrating the next ponzie scheme and creating the next bubble to burst, and small time hustlers tricking gullible people out of their savings…all the evils of the world (modern and ancient) bombarded my dizzy head and in my blurry vision I once more tried to bring forth an apocalypse.
The dead refused to rise; nukes did not launch; Earth did not become a vast singular ocean.
Vodka in my head and heart, I passed out on the couch; for a few blissful hours of absolute nothingness, I was free.
I rubbed my throbbing eyelids and stared in petrified befuddlement at the Bloody Mary standing majestically on my coffee table; without thinking, and desperate for anything to soothe my dinosaur-killing hangover, I had a long gulp of the most perfect Bloody Mary ever made in mankind’s history.
Another long gulp almost emptied the glass and a pitcher tilted over my glass, giving me a much-needed refill.
“Hey,” I cleared my throat, holding the precious glass with both hands, and greeted my unexpected bartender.
“You’re doing a far better job than I thought,” Satan grinned and raised his own glass. “My demons are complaining about being overworked.”
“Well,” I shrugged, “you do drive a sweat shop down there.”
“If I weren’t, I’d be the other guy,” Satan winked. “Want some?”
I dragged from the fat joint; it’d been couple of years since the last time I tasted grass and I burst into violent coughs, watering my burning throat with my cocktail.
“Feels like the old times, doesn’t it?” He sighed and leaned back on the couch. “I’m surprised you didn’t keep your old blue foldout couch.”
“Too much hassle to bring it down here,” I explained. “And, too many memories, and drug stains.”
“Of course,” He nodded knowingly. “So, how are you holding up? What do you think of your newfound power?”
“Honestly?” I glanced at him hard and finished my drink up—and, always a gentleman, he refilled it. “I’ve always wanted to change the world, make it a better place…I’ve come to realize, it’ll never change.
“It always was, and forever shall remain, a cesspool.”
“And you still wonder why no one’s gonna publish you, huh? You ain’t very good with morals.”
“Like you did all this just to change my ways.” I dragged long from the seemingly never-ending blunt and He replenished my drink—the good thing about drinking and smoking with Satan is there’s no last drink or puff. “Next thing, you’ll reveal yourself always to have been God, Jesus, someone from up there anyway, trying to make me a better person.”
“Talk about a twist, huh?” Satan smirked.
“Sure; if the real world was like the movies, now I’d be married to a beautiful supporting woman who’d have seen me through rehab and I’d publish novels about my recovery, downtalking sweet booze and drugs.”
“Probably,” he chuckled warmly. “You know, for all the work you sent me, I noticed you didn’t even bother getting back to women that hurt you, or friends that betrayed you.
“You thought about mass apocalyptic events and killing politicians—which I obviously couldn’t let you do!—but not even once did you wish to get revenge on people that personally hurt you.”
Momentarily, I stayed silent, realizing He was, of course, right; I didn’t bother with friends that’d given me an intervention about my drinking, when my drinking got in the way of their imaginary social status. I didn’t get back to women that’d broken my heart.
“Let me guess,” I broke the silence. “This is your way of telling me that, if I bother getting to know someone, I find something positive about them?”
“Not really,” He laughed. “It was a simple observation; most people hold grudges, they don’t care about the world in general, only about those that wronged them.
“You are one of the most misanthropic people I’ve ever known; you hate people. You don’t hold grudges against persons, only against mankind.”
“There are a few I like.”
“Most of whom are already dead. And no,” he added hurriedly, and quite sternly, “we won’t do a trade.”
“Fine,” I sighed. “But, you must admit the world was better back then.”
“It wasn’t,” he guffawed. “You just think it was, because you wish you could drink moonshine with Faulkner and bathtub gin with Fitzgerald and Parker. Or talk philosophy and wine with Plato.
“Yes, maybe you’d have made it back then; you’re certainly out of your time. But that’s all. And, I’m sure you know that the sole reason you don’t like much of today’s art is because it represents a time and a generation you can’t affiliate with.
“You prefer the lost highway, instead of songs about difference and acceptance. You’d rather read novels about boozing and drugs, than about young adults finding their place in the world.
“You, like the winos and barflies you once knew and drank with, are a relic of a bygone era; didn’t you ever wonder why you were the only one under thirty drinking fortified wine and lukewarm beer in Mølleparken?”
I didn’t respond; had nothing to say. I just gulped my drink down and for yet another time it was refilled by that fantastic pitcher I wish I could carry around at all times.
“I’m gonna live for a fucking long time, ain’t I?” I broke the silence, after I rolled and lit a cigarette.
“Yup,” He nodded with a wide grin. “For all your suicidal thoughts and self-destructive ways, you’re built to last; besides, there’s always one more story to keep you away from shotguns and rooftops.”
“Yeah,” I sighed heavily and a cloud of blue smoke exited my mouth.
“Most people wish for a long life, you know.”
“I’m not most people,” I retorted, my gaze fixed on my slowly burning cigarette.
“Fair enough,” He nodded. “So, you want to keep your power?”
“Are you really proposing to take it back?” I finally glanced back at him, suspiciously.
“One-time offer,” He shrugged. “Courtesy to our longterm friendship.”
“They’re threatening you with a strike, or something, down there?”
“There’ve been complaints, yes,” He nodded somberly.
“The dark overlord afraid of some demon union…either I’m too drunk and I hear things, or, things have gone rotten even in Hell.”
“So, what do you say?” He asked impatiently.
“Yeah, take it back,” I let out a heavy sigh. “If I keep it, I’ll soon be the last man standing—and the world will be even duller. No publishers to send me rejection slips and give me a reason to drink.”
“Like you need one,” He rolled his eyes and snapped his fingers. “There you go.”
“Thanks,” I replied dryly.
“Well, gotta go now,” He patted me on the shoulder and got up. Always with impeccable manners, he refilled my glass one last time, before He (and the pitcher) vanished in a cloud of smoke.
I gulped the Bloody Mary down, my mouth flooded with tomato and spices, and cracked the last bottle of beer in my fridge.
Unwilling to let the sun see me, I got dressed and headed for the nearest liquor store, with just enough money for a couple bottles of rotgut, perhaps some well tequila for more felonious writing.
I crossed the small street and a car, that drove the wrong way, honked.
“Watch it, you moron!” The driver yelled, shaking his fist through the window.
“You’re going the wrong way, you orangutan! Go back to your village, or at least try to pretend being a human!” I flipped him off and kicked the side of his car as he drove past me.
Despite the hard palpitations of my homicidal heart, a tiny part of me rejoiced that he turned right into Kifisias avenue without a fatal accident.
George Gad Economou holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy of Science from Aarhus University and currently resides in Athens, Greece, freelancing his way to a new place. His stories have been published, predominantly, in the literary platform Jumbelbook and his novella, Letters to S., has been published in Storylandia Issue 30.