Writing With Wine (excerpt) 3.

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I leave the restaurant but do not see her again.  I’m feeling like I have done something good and I have.  I have put good food into my belly and stumbled into the one and correct restaurant where one of the mysteries of my recent life has been solved with the opportunity of seeing and talking to this person again.  The warm night has attracted a lot of people to the street.  Every bistro and café I walk by is very busy and everyone is eating and drinking.  For a second I feel sad knowing I am not alone in my love of consuming the grape.  I’m really digging calling it ‘the grape’ now instead of wine.  Everybody says wine except me.  Then I realize I’m looking at the people in these joints but I’m looking for Alice.  I need to see her again right now.  I feel in my pocket to see if the napkin is in there with her number on it; it is.  Damn it.  I am so in the mood to drink more out here than at home but my feet are doing their feet thing and taking me home.  The closer I get the more I am able to understand why.  Writing.  The feeling is almost foreign to me.  There is something inside I must release and the only means to accomplish this feat is to sit and write.  Man I hope I’m not coming down with something.  I get into my apartment take off my clothes and sit in front of the computer.  I feel my forehead and it’s warmer than I think it should be.  I forget about it.  My fingers have placed themselves in a sort of floating stance above the keyboard.  I look at them and determine they are capable of many different movements: I wiggle them and they feel fine.  I decide I do not want to know how I feel.  I only want the fingers to get in gear.  I’m thinking too much because I have convinced myself I don’t want to think too much.  Neil Young begins to sing in my ear, “helpless, helpless, helpless, helpless.  Shut the fuck up Neil I am not caring about anything you have to say.  Canadian bastard.  Besides where the hell did Neil come from when the name bubbling under and inside my blood is Alice.  Alice, I’m going to write about you!  I see now.  Simple.  I have become infatuated with the woman with the long blonde hair in the ponytail.  I am enjoying myself thinking about the way her face is put together.  Deep set brown eyes and the blush on her cheeks says something about enjoying life from the inside instead of a pasted on kind of glow.  When she walked away from the table tonight I discovered she had left a trail of perfume, which is something I never notice, but tonight it felt like a kind of hook floating up my nose, which is why I believe I turned in my chair to see her disappear into the crowd.  I don’t usually like to watch people disappear unless I happen to be running away from them.


My fingers remain in hover mode.  I had anticipated a rush to freedom, an explosion of emotion spilling from me but see I have no idea what to say about Alice accept what the fuck is wrong with you to possible hurt somebody like you did?  Hurt me you idiot.  What the hell were you thinking?  Now you have the nerve to sit with me in your cozy way hitting on me.  I have to think if I’m going to accept your apology.  Now that I have your phone number I might want to strike back at you.  Want some candy little girl?  Pick you up after school so I can drag you home and demonstrate the joys of my basement.  Power tools Alice?  Just more of my usual deranged self-coming to the surface.  What I really want to say is; I love you baby.  You’re the baby I’ve been waiting for.  Hold me tight, never let me go, etc., etc. Yawn.  I give up.  It must be the oysters doing their aphrodisiac best to set me on the trail of this smoking woman.  And besides their efforts to drag me once more from my home in search of Ms. LSD they have also begun a chant now becoming very disturbing to me.  It goes, ‘Forget about Lizzie, forget about her, forget about Lizzie, forget about her, in this sickening singsong melody making my skin crawl.  Giving me the old heebie jeebies.  Disgusting.  I make a decision to go lie on my bed which makes me growl in disbelief.  The point of going out to dinner, treating myself and moving out of the house was to convince myself I was coming back into my energy field but now because again of circumstances beyond my control I seem to have returned to the place I was running away from.  Back to bed young man, where the hell do you think you’re going, as long as you live under my roof you’ll do what I say!


What I totally have to move away from is the pattern of my nights ending something like this.  My self-loathing has morphed from something I used to be able to laugh at into an anvil hanging over my head.  A giant magnet pulling me to places I dare visit no more except to sleep.  My energy now once again locked up tight.  My focus ruined.  I need desperately to finish what I begin.  I close my eyes but all the lights are still shining.  When I wake up the sun is doing the same.


I don’t make coffee.  I look over at the computer so I go there and touch the keyboard the thing is still on.  I begin to type.  I never write in the daytime but now I’m breaking the rules.  I’m slicing the knives into my wrists for the sheer thrill of watching the blood flow where it may.  The phone rings, the clock ticks, the refrigerator decides to run.  My blood is thick like syrup, looking at it is giving me an appetite.  I grab a necktie from the floor by my dresser and apply the tourniquet. I have decided I do not care to consume my own blood but I like the way the red puddle on the floor glistens in the light creeping in from the slit in the blinds from the kitchen window.  I wish I had a camera and knew how to post photographs on the Internet; some real excitement.  I bet Alice would get a kick out of my puddle of blood.  She could leave a comment like, oh Henry that’s the color red I’ve been searching for all my life.  I’m betting she already has a tube of lipstick exactly the color red of my blood.  I’m betting as she continued to pour my red wine the now infamous trippy evening she was thinking what a perfect match the Cabernet was to my blood.  Isn’t that what she really wanted from me, my blood.  Those creatures of the night scouring the bars for any simple sucker just so they can drain the life out of them so they can absorb the energy there.  Now I am beginning to see all too clearly where my energy has been siphoned off to; bloodsuckers in the night.  A modern day version of a vampire; no castles, coffins, sealing wax or running from the sun, only a very spooky indirect contact with victims with no blood being spilled until it is much too late to change the course of history, to change the course of the way the blood is flowing.  It’s like a river, wide and deep lapping the shores, filling in each minute crevice of every ancient pier and then later the sun cakes it dry while the birds come with their life on the edge.  Their beaks all pointing in the same direction which is down, down, down as they shake their heads and wiggle their feet; prehistoric scaly feet, talons sharp as Gilletes gouging the red cakes loose and with hearty consumption clearing the pier.


The day is passing so slowly.  Thinking about what I’ve written gives me a smashing headache and unfortunately Red wine does nothing to alleviate this kind of head pain.  I know I do not have in my house the appropriate painkiller so I am forced to lie on my bed and cover my eyes.  I don’t make a sound because I don’t want to.  After a while I raise myself from my sick bed and go to the table to check the time.  I thought I had fallen asleep for a few hours but it was only one hour gone by.  I can see the clouds have lowered and become thick outside making the afternoon a dark grey.  I put my hands across my forehead and ask them to help draw the pain into my fingers so I might be able to shake it off.  I say this out loud like a mantra for a few minutes and as I do I press with more pressure then with less on the forehead until I feel I have a rhythm going.  I begin to concentrate on the rhythm I’m doing instead of the pain in my head and then I think I feel some relief so I repeat the procedure several more times until it begins to tire me and I have to lie back down but this time my head is not throbbing and I’m able to keep my eyes open.  It almost feels pleasurable to keep my eyes open so I do and then I decide to gently rub them with my fingers, well I rub my eyelids, not my eyes and I begin to think or my head has decided to send me a message to the effect that headache number 654789 is now a thing of the past.  At first the message makes me hold my breath and flex my feet so that every muscle in my legs now feels quite awake and anxious to do something.  I assume that means walk but I decide to ignore the walk sign and just continue to flex the feet. 


Then I fall asleep again and do wake up after several hours have drifted down the hourglass.  I can see the streetlights glow once I sit up in my bed.  I’m remembering a fragment of a dream, which occurred, in my apartment like only a few minutes ago.  I was quietly walking around the apartment lighting about a dozen votive candles.  I like this idea and decide to make it a dream come true.  The dream I believe was born from the fact that last week sometime I saw a bag of fifty votive candles on sale at the drug store for only a couple of bucks so I bought them and now I am actually striking matches and putting the lighted candles around the pad.  Why haven’t I done this before?  I love the atmosphere they create and the way the flames behave from the little drafts created as I walk by them.  I decide to put them everywhere so the kitchen and bathroom also become candled.  The candles put me in the mood for a glass of wine but I’m wondering if I should so soon after the passing of my horrible headache.  I can’t resist and I need to open a fresh bottle.  As I walk into my kitchen of the flickering shadows the phone rings.  I stop and stand still as if a loud knocking had come to my door.  I never expect a phone call even if I’m thinking Lizzie might finally return my call.  After the third ring I’m able to unglue myself from the kitchen floor and walk into the living room to pick up the phone.


“Hello, this is Alice, is this Henry?” 


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Tim, I really enjoyed these first two chapters. It's kind of like Alice in Wonderland noir, and though I have read other things that might meet that description (Inherent Vice, for example), this has a quality all its own. In particular, I like how you take the tedium of this chapter, and make it seat-of-the-pants riveting. After reading it this morning, I only have one knock. It's how easy Alice appears in the last chapter and begins delivering information crucial to the story. It might be interesting to make the main character have to work a little harder for that info. It is pretty cool as it is, though.
Hi Richard. So glad you enjoyed the chapters. Those are from a second draft. I want to put up the scene where Henry (our protagonist) is actually dosed by Alice the first time they meet. I really appreciate your comment. I left a comment on my page but I'm not sure you would see it there. Looking forward to more work with Henry and all. Thanks!