[Into Oblivion, 842 words, Genre: Mind Fudge]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
New Year’s Eve… It had always been an event that caused celebration. Usually between Edward and his friends, they would play a game, that in effect, was the last man standing. It was so aptly named since they would all drink themselves to an unconscious state. The world would blur behind them as they assailed into the new year, counting no resolutions, holding only to inebriations. It was a joyous time of year when one could do so and it would be considered socially acceptable. Or as acceptable as it could ever be. There were six of them at the start and the madman’s gamble with their health could always, so swiftly, claim one of their lives.
The first hour passed quickly. Beers, shots and other concoctions of booze flowed freely from bottles, to mouths, to stomach, to the urinary tract, at which point the process would be repeated. They talked, they played cards, gambling with what little money they had. A bet was won here, a bet was lost. Some considered that the cards were the real game being played. For Edward, he knew better, this game in which intoxication took place there could only be one. One man left at the end of the night, spying into the early hours of the morning, yelling insults at the sun. So he continued to drink. He hustled each of the others. This year he had been building up. Building up his identifiable limits of the capacity for alcohol. He had been a binge drinking raging delinquent the previous year, so why ruin the winning streak he was on. With his consideration, he knew he was onto a good thing. He brought them over beers, he poured them shots… As he drank, they drank. There was obviously some layer of doubt as to if the others were consciously playing the same game. They probably all thought they were playing cards, Edward knew better.
The second hour passed as the first. Still two hours till midnight. They were all fairly cut by now and the game of cards had ended with all the loose change being passed over to a single person. It was not Edward. It was never Edward. That wasn’t his game. The game of cards would obviously continue, with lack of suitable entertainment it was the only thing to do. But the winner of benefit had already been declared. Edward kept on spoon feeding them drinks.
The smallest in stature amongst them, then stumbled out to the bathroom. He would be found twenty minutes later that he had passed out outside the bathroom, laying in a puddle of his own puke. ‘Yes,’ Edward thought, ‘They will soon start dropping like flies and I will be claimed as the ultimate victor!’ Except there was no victor, there was no game, it was all some sort of elaborate construction within Edward’s head.
Unfortunately, for Edward, they did not start dropping like flies as he had thought. They all saw to midnight and the countdown. The hour had already passed five minutes before and they had to do their own countdown, out of sync with the rest of the world. They still drank. Copious amounts. Incredulous copious amounts. And they would continue to do so as each successive hour passed till the hour of daylight.
One of his friends ceased drinking at some unaccountable hour. He sat by a window and stared at the moon. Longing for something, a lover, anything to get him away from Edward’s indiscreet game. Slowly the others fell asleep where they lay. Until there was just one other left. Oh, the competition was harsh this year, Edward thought as they swapped nonsense babbling with one another. They were both drooling. It gives one over to consider the idea of the zombie apocalypse and why they’re always asking for brains. The answer being that the zombies had already destroyed theirs’.
Both of them saw sunrise, but shortly thereafter it happened. The one remaining friend pointed his hand skyward and proclaimed, “I’m going home!” His friend then stumbled out the front door to be found many hours later passed out in some alleyway.
He had won. Edward had won his stupid game. Damaged brain cells in the process, but he had been doing that all year. And what does the winner get? Well, the winner gets to drink all the remaining booze. And there was still plenty of it. Edward lay awake amongst his passed out counterparts and continue his reckless mission of self-abandonment.
When his friends woke up the next day with their heads aching they found Edward in the bathroom. He was an idiot, a retard and he had drunk himself to the point of mental retardation. He was in the bathroom, holding his own shit in his hands, staring into the mirror asking two questions in repetition. First, he would ask his reflection, “What is this?”, motioning to his own faeces that lay in his hand. And the second question was, “Who are you?”, of his own reflection.