Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Drunk at first sight blogfest

Hello, again! Two days after Simon's PG/MG blogfest challenge, (you can read mine here if you're looking for that), it's time for another blogfest--this one, Drunk at first sight.

I have to admit, I found this to be more of a challenge for me than the previous one. You see...I don't really have much that fits for this, pre-written. drink alcoholic beverages. I did have one story, but it's not ready, and the scene I could have used was too *short*, if you can believe that. Also, I tend not to really write about drinking. I tend not to drink! And so I feel a bit like a fish out of water.

So I thought I'd write something new for Jon Paul's challenge (check out the other entrants!)...and instead I feel like, right now, it's an endless scene of nothing. But I think I love the characters. The only other thing is that it's horribly long. I'm sorry about that. You have my permission to skim (if you needed it).

So, here it is: my post about alcohol and relationships and such. Thanks for reading...


Green foil shamrocks were everywhere—cropping out of the corners, growing up the walls, hanging from the ceilings. It was a good thing the lights were dimmed, because if they had been on full, the green glare would have run everyone out of the bar. Except that the place was so packed, the light wouldn’t have been able to get far enough to bounce back.

Dan sat at a corner table, where he was able to view the crowd, but was still close enough to the bar to catch the bartender’s attention, if he needed another drink. He sipped his beer—his regular, pale and golden, and definitely not green. He never could force himself to down any green beer, even if it was St. Patrick’s Day—and he watched the bodies moving. Forward, backward, colliding with each other, pulling apart. Dancing. One girl spilled her drink all over her shirt, cheered, and then pulled it off; she was wearing a little tank top underneath, so tight it showed everything. Someone covered her with a sweater and steered her out of his view, while two men followed. She was drunk. Happy and drunk.

He took another sip.

It was hard to see anything, hard to hear anything. He wondered why he had come. Why he came every year. Why it was so important to him to see humanity rolling and reeling. Maybe because of Karen—his Karen. Because she had enjoyed it, and now she was gone.

"There’s nothing like watching people.” Hard lemonade was her favorite, but on St. Patrick’s Day, she always had a glass of green beer on the side. She had a sip of it, asked him to try it. When he refused, she pushed it aside, and they both forgot it until the end of the evening. “Except for talking to them.”

“Not always.” He could feel the smile pulling at the corners of his lips. 

She wore a triumphant look on her face--she knew she had him. “No. Always. Even the crazies. The crazier, the better.”

“Maybe not.” He leaned forward here, took her hand.

"You know, maybe we’re the crazy ones,” she said. She was starting to get tipsy. “Crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy—” 

He was bumped from behind, knocked out of his reverie. A girl with short blonde hair fell into the chair beside him. “Oh, God. I’m so sorry.”

"It’s okay.” He kept his tone short, so that she’d get the hint and leave him alone.

She didn’t. Instead, she settled herself down. “I’m knocking into everyone, tonight.”

"It happens.” He tried to create some distance between them, while he tried to get back into his head. Back to Karen. He took a sip of his beer. It wasn’t even all that good.

“Do you mind if I sit here? I mean, since I’m here already?” She had a shot in her hand—one of the night’s specials. Small, and green. He grunted.

“Thanks, so much. It’s a mad house.” She set it down. “Oh, I’m so ready for this to be over.”
“For what to be over?”

She smiled, and lifted the drink. “It’s my first time.”

“Oh?” She looked older than 21. Still young. Too young. He glanced around, and wished vainly that he had dyed the gray out of his hair.

Not gray. White. He had to realize that by his age, hair couldn’t be called distinguished or gray—only white.

She didn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that she was sitting with the oldest man in the room. “My first time getting drunk, I mean. I really didn’t want to, unless it was worth it.”

Now he was interested. Karen would have wanted to know. “You found something that made it worth it?”

“Yeah, no, I didn’t. Not one thing.” She smiled at him. “A bunch. My family. I have a horrible family, you know? Just awful. And my boyfriend. He’s an idiot. And I think I’m about to be laid off. Company’s trying to save some money.” She lifted the drink. “Cheers!”

He tapped his beer cautiously against her small glass, and then watched as she drained it. She sucked in her cheeks as she set it down, and leaned back.


“Terrible. Just wretched. And it did nothing for me.” She frowned. “How many do you think I’ll have to have?”

“More than one,” he said. “Obviously. How many have you had?”

She looked up toward the ceiling, obviously counting in her mind. “Like, five. Two shots, a martini, a glass of wine and a margarita.”

He took another sip. “Either you’re drunk already, or this is the reason you’ve never been drunk before.”

She sighed. “I guess I’ll just get a beer. Green, maybe. So at least I’ll get that awful dye into my system. Maybe that’ll do something. I just felt like being a little destructive, you know?” She began to dig through her purse. “Do you want one?”

He shook his head, and watched as she waved the barkeeper over. He brought her a clear mug of green liquid, foaming over. She thanked him, paid him. “This is my last one,” she told him.

“That might be a good idea,” Dan said, as the barkeeper walked away. “Getting drunk isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”


Stephanie Thornton said...

Hehehe... I liked this! The shamrocks were a cute touch and I liked the comment about wishing he'd dyed the white/grey out of his hair.

I don't write much about drinking either, but my latest protagonist has taken to drinking occasionally. She's rather Scarlet O'Hara-ish that way.

Anonymous said...

Very nice piece! And very well written. Thanks for sharing it.

Tara said...

Very nicely written. Great dialogue.

I enjoyed the quietness of the scene, even while they were surrounded by chaos.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Ha! Great last line, and one many people eventually learn. Thanks for joining in the blogfest. It's been fun reading everyone's entries and how different they are.

Amalia T. said...

I loved the shamrocks growing up the wall. I think you got a lot of depth into this scene Sarah! I kind of want to know more about this white-haired man...

sarahjayne smythe said...

I like the dynamic you set up here between the characters. And the backstory with Karen is lovely.

Jon Paul said...

Sarah--I thought this was very nicely put together. The woman's attitude is very real to me, and there was a nice rhythm to the scene which I thought was effective.

I was certainly interested to know what happens next--if there was more. Great job, and a great addition to the blogfest!

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

I liked this scene! I liked the interesting mix between Dan and the supposedly "undrunk" woman, and Dan's memory of Karen. I definitely and curious as to what happened to her.

I can see you taking these characters places!

Just Another Sarah said...

Stephanie: Thanks! I'm looking forward to reading your Scarlet O'Hara-ish character. :)

propinquity: Thanks! Indeed! And thanks for stopping by!

Tara: I'm glad you liked it...and the quietness. Poor characters needed something, there.

Tricia: Yeah, they are all different, aren't they? That makes it a lot of fun to read. I'm working toward your blog! I only just got started.

Amalia: Thanks! Maybe I'll take this scene further. It just got so long! I know a lot of people have done full short stories, or so it seems, so I sort of wish I had finished it off!

sarahjayne: Lovely name. :) Thanks...Karen is very dear to him, and I think he'd appreciate that you like her back story.

Jon Paul: Thanks--for your comments, and for hosting! I'm trying to follow your directions and read yours last, but I think i might have to jump to it pretty soon.

Amber: Thanks! I think they might want to be taken somewhere, too. And not just to another bar. Perhaps I'll tinker some more with it.

Postman said...

I read this earlier, and I apologize for not commenting sooner. I was a bit overwhelmed with all the entries I'd read thus far, and wanted to do yours justice. I was pleasantly surprised by this. I had a bunch of preconceptions: that your protagonist would forget Karen and take up with the sweet young thing, for one. I like the realism; people spilling drinks and acting the fool. In all, a real and emotional piece of writing, not at all like I was expecting. Well done.

Just Another Sarah said...

Postman: Gosh, thanks! Yeah, it does get overwhelming to go through a bunch all at one time. I'm glad you enjoyed it, and that it broke your preconceptions. Thanks so much for your comments!

DL Hammons said...

I know you said that was long, but I was seriously disappointed when it ended. I wanted to see how things developed. Great dialog! Exceptionally written.

Donna Hole said...

The opening paragraph was very descriptive. Lovely. And deep; I liked the contrast of the oldest and youngest in the bar sharing a table briefly. And his musings; I can really see that.

What a great concept this was.


Donna Hole said...

The opening paragraph was very descriptive. Lovely. And Deep; I liked the contrast of the oldest and youngest patrons sharing a table briefly. And how comfortable they were. I could definitely see the old man musing on better days, and I got a real sense of what his wife was like through his memory.

Nicely done indeed.


WhisperingWriter said...

I enjoyed this!

And now I want a shamrock shake since I saw the word shamrock.