I had explained on several occasions that the bathroom in our house was only big enough for one of us, and furthermore, that I wanted to dry-heave in peace. Why couldn’t he just leave me alone? I was crippled from a hangover that topped the record books, and Ghoul was kneeling next to me, preaching hair of the dog.
“You need to drink this,” he said.
Ghoul was in my peripheral, waving a tall glass with what I guessed to be a well-garnished bloody Mary. I dared a peek, and my head throbbed when I pivoted up to the glass. Trimmed celery stalks nestled between a shrimp and olive skewer; the red of the tomato juice was off, had a slight gloss to it.
“Is it strong? I just want to knock it back so I can be done with this encounter,” I stated.
“Trust me, it’s good,” he assured.
I understood how this concept worked: Ghoul would find a dog, take it’s hair and conceal it within my beverage. The hair would then dissolve with the alcohol, releasing something good that nursed drunkards back to health. But we didn’t have a dog. I was leery to say the least, maybe skeptical, yet I was desperate enough to try anything. My guts were poisoned by foul toxins and a sheen of near-death perspiration suffocated my pores, head-to-toe. I am wasting away, I thought, Dying right now and the only one here is Ghoul… trying to help me, trying to make me better.
“Hey man, I just want to say thank you,” I pushed off the toilet seat, slowly straightening my back. “I need to make a toast, to you.”
“I feel honored. Let me get a beer or something–
“No, Ghoul, I am the one who feels honored. You’re here when I need you, even in my moments of self-induced sickness. Bottoms up, buddy.”
“To Ghoul,” he whispered.
I couldn’t tell if he was crying or if a stream of decomposing juices trailed down his cheeks, but I knew my sentiment was received. He raised his right hand, mimicking a toast. I then remembered seeing Ghoul last night with four fingers on that hand, not three. I plucked the garnishes out and threw them in the trash. My lips quivered in trepidation when they first felt the rim of the glass. Vodka was all that I smelled and I hesitated.
“I believe in you,” said Ghoul.
Through the tomato-and-vodka-stained glass was Ghoul, nodding, encouraging me all the way. I took a sip, swallowed gingerly. There was a sharp burn in my esophagus, then, in my stomach; could have been the Texas Pete’s. But the fires subsided and I wanted more. My throat opened and I gorged on the savory goodness until something brushed against across my lips. Something… chunky.
“Don’t stop man, almost done.”
Ghoul’s missing digit floated like a log in a river of blood. It was an honest mistake, I get that, but my body didn’t grasps the nature of is blunder. I puked, violently. And Ghoul said, “Shit, move over.”
He pushed me aside, annexing my porcelain sanctuary and desecrating waves of regurgitation spewed from his mouth. I couldn’t stop, and neither could Ghoul. Corpse-vomit covered the front of my body and I knew it was time to retreat. I scrambled over the side of the plastic tub, still up-chucking. The water turned on in between heaves and I could feel a gross settling within.
“Ghoul… are you… alright?”
“I think so. You?”
Chunks of undead matter dripped from his mouth.
“I hope so… I don’t think I can drink again after this hangover.”
© Copyright John Potts Jr 2016 – 2017