I remember when the world ended. I sat outside, reading the paper on my front porch, as the dark clouds came rolling in and the rains smashed into the ground. The wind gusted and I couldn’t stay outside anymore—I rose from my chair and went indoors. The children sat huddled on the floor. Their eyes stuck like Elmer’s to the television—even though I uttered a loud ‘hello!’ My wife left earlier for dinner with friends. Good. No one was around.
I creeped down the stairs to the basement and switched on the flickering light, dimly illuminating the dusty, dank underbelly of our house. Off in the back, towards the wall, rested our—well, my—liquor cabinet. I kept all my best inside: my aged, flavorful bottle of whisky, my wines, my beers. I’d finish the whiskey tonight: I’d say about three-fourths of it sloshed around the bottle. Good enough for a nice, relaxing evening.
I indulged. I poured a glass and downed it. And then another.
A deep feeling of elation overtook me as my eyes shifted in and out of focus and my stomach began to hurt. My thoughts became consumed with rage; deep, penetrating anger—why? Why everything? Why the hell am I still in this God-forsaken town with nothing but a bunch of lowlife, worthless—ahem. I’ll stop.
My mind went dim like the light. I think I heard someone shout, “Rick!”
I think I made out a shrill, “This is it! I told you this was the last time!”
I remember nothing after that.
I woke up with a thumping, pounding headache and a searing stomach-ache. I checked my watch—2:41 PM. I’d passed out.
I left the basement and went upstairs and felt the quiet. I looked around and found no one—all the rooms were empty and the Television was off.
I collapsed onto the floor, thinking T.S. Eliot to be exactly right.