Lab Rat XXX

Posted: February 13, 2011 in Fiction, Love, Test Subject

The guy drops five balls, then finally bricks a shot. Finally. I finish off my drink, and eye the table. As I go to work on my half of the fifteen balls on the red felt, I start thinking about Dad again. I recall that I’m supposed to put him in his place about how billiards made the pounding I handed those thugs possible. The problem is that I would basically have to tell him what it is that I’m doing for a living these days. I’m sure he’d be glad that I’m helping people. Okay, one person so far, but I’m planning on more. It’s hard to be properly heroic when I have no idea what I’ll be able to do in any given situation. I drop two balls, and flag down a waitress. “Another beer. Actually, just bring a pitcher.” She nods and disappears into the ever-thickening crowd. People must be off of work and done with dinner.

I take aim at my next ball. I guess I don’t really know what my dad’s doing these days either. I hammer the five ball home. I really need to talk to the family more often. I guess it’s just that I don’t want anyone to worry about me. My job isn’t the safest, but I have great health benefits. Heck, if I play my money smart I might be able to start living a little better. That would make Mom happy. I drill the seven into the far corner. Either I’m shooting slowly, or the waitress is faster than a speeding bullet. She shows up with my pitcher and a mug. I pour some of the golden liquid into the frosted glass. I suck at pouring most of the time, but the head didn’t foam over. My lucky night.

I take another drink, and finish off the table. The round man buys the next game and racks the balls. I suck down the rest of my beer. I think for a second. I’m not that drunk. I watch my hand as I reach for the chalk. Solid as a rock. Cool. I chalk my cue and lean in for the break. “Hey kid. You wanna put a couple bucks on the game?” The round man wants me to gamble.

“Sorry, man. I don’t like being hustled, so I don’t play for money.” I grin to myself. That’s proof enough that I’m not that drunk.

“How about just for a glass out of that pitcher then?”

“You’re just dying to put stakes on this game, huh?” I think for a second, and come up with a bright idea. “Tell you what, man. Get a glass and you can just have some. Loser buys the next pitcher.”

“Sounds good.” The man waves our waitress over and says something I can’t hear. Not that I can’t guess. I break. I watch the balls bounce around like me from a couple of nights ago. I make a mental note to myself that I still need to check in on the store clerk on the way home, and I take another drink.

“What am I not seeing?” I mutter to myself. In my mind, I can see the order I need to sink each ball. Man, those visualization exercises are awesome. I run the table. I turn it into my own private drinking game by taking a drink between each sunk ball. I finish off the game as the waitress comes back with his glass, and he tops mine off as well. “Thanks,” I tell him. I put down quarters for the next game and start in on my fresh drink. I hold my hand out in front of me. Still seems steady, except there’s that tingling in my head. I focus on it to try and determine its intensity, but it wriggles away. Eh, good enough.

The round man and I keep playing pool, and we keep drinking. My introspection is washed away by the steady stream of beer, and I kind of forget that I have anything to worry about. I kick the poor guy’s ass for most of the night, but eventually the tide turns as I get less and less coordinated. The visualization of the balls hazes, and I lose the next few games. The guy has been keeping pace with me on my drinking, but it doesn’t seem to affect him. I sit down for a second on one of the bar stools. Wait, I got it. He probably outweighs me by quite a bit. That and I’m not the professional drinker I have been. Shit. I gotta get out of here. “Hey man, it’s been fun, but I’ve gotta get out of here,” I tell the guy. He nods. “Are we square on the tab?” He nods again. I think to do the math, but then decide it really isn’t worth the effort it would take me.

“Have a good night,” I say, and head for the door. I lurch just a little bit, and devote some serious concentration to walking. I burst into the night, and the cool air clears my senses a little. Damn. I’m drunk. I take off toward home as fast as my legs will take me. At top speed, I can imitate a straight line pretty well. Ally’s going to be pissed. That’s not right. Taryn’s going to be pissed. Maybe I can still do some testing. I look at the bracelet on my left wrist. It glints at me in the amber light of the street lamp. Winking. Daring me. This is definitely not a good plan. I hang my head for a second. I sway a little. “Damn.” I keep walking.

I’m fucking dumb. I went out for a drink to meet new people and keep my mind off of Ally. Taryn. Damn it. I didn’t talk to anyone but the waitress and the fat guy. “Mission accomplished, dumbass,” I say aloud to myself. What else can I screw up tonight? I’m walking fast enough that I’m feeling the exertion, and the sound of my breathing drowns out everything else. Not that there’s much to hear. The city is mostly quiet right now. I check the clock on the injector. My injector. Why do I keep referring to it like it’s not mine? Who else wears the damn thing? It’s mine until Ally takes it back. Taryn. Until Taryn takes it back. One o’clock. Too late for normal people and too early for the pushers and the gangs.

I zip by the corner store and down the block toward my apartment. I’m starting to feel the pressure of all that beer on my bladder. Did I go at the bar at all? I can’t remember. It doesn’t matter. I have to piss now. I take the stairs two at a time down toward my little studio. I get to my door, and the indicator on the thumb pad is black. I try the knob. The door swings open. Great. I left my door unlocked all day. The lights are on. Man, I really didn’t have my act together when I left. I bound across the room, guided totally by my bladder, and fairly screech to a halt in front of my toilet.

I fumble with my pants and finally just pull them down enough to free myself. The relief sends a shiver down my spine, and I laugh. I didn’t close the door behind me. Hopefully no one decides it’s an invitation to join me. “Drank too much, Brinks?” I whip around, but I wasn’t done yet. An arc of piss splashes into my main room, and I finish urinating while staring at four guys in expensive looking suits. Two standing on either side of the door, one sitting on my bed, and the last sitting on a milk crate I use for a table. The guys bracketing my door each have some sort of automatic weapon slung over one shoulder at a low rest.

“Oh thank God,” I say, as I struggle to pull my pants up. I’m not upset about pissing all over my floor. I kind of think it won’t be my worst problem for the rest of the night. “I thought I left my door unlocked all damn day!”

Happy Valentine’s Day. I got you a present in the form of this extra long post. I’m working on picking up the pace. I want this to bloom into something I can start showing people who publish books. Speaking of Valentine’s Day, I fucking hate February 14th. I usually refer to it as “VD.” This year might have been different, except that Megan is still so god damned far away. I have extra reasons to hate today this year. It’s Monday. I will be spending the day at work. My karma is balancing, so I may be having an unusually rough time of it. I could spew venom for ages right now.

I got rid of a ton of clothing yesterday. I actually have room in my closet again. I won’t be replacing anything until an existing article is worn to death, because I’m working to cure my retail addiction. Next to go: books I don’t want or like. Also, EVERY AUDIO CD. I literally NEVER use them.

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Comments
  1. heidi says:

    Hey happy valentines day to you too. I really think this story is awesome!!! You definatly gotta check out publishing it when you are done. Oh yeah…and if you decide to get rid of that manga collection…I call it cause I bought half of those books. K? Anyways have a great day. Laters.

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