The menu says you’re not supposed to have more than five. It’s marked, clear and concise, right there in loopy text protected by the plastic sheen you’ll find on cheap menus in cheap restaurants. The drink in question is dubbed “The Great White,” and according to the “Booze-Cruze Handbook,” these are its side effects:
1. Drink One – Consumer might feel a slight heat on their cheeks, akin to light sunburn.
2. Drink Two – Consumer will begin to feel the effects of this potent elixir. Watch for a slight blurring of speech and vision.
3. Drink Three – Consumer will be intoxicated by drink three. Do not operate heavy machinery or unknown members of the opposite sex.
4. Drink Four – Consumer has reached DEFCON II. Signs of consumption include sweating, tripping, and yelling.
5. Drink Five – Consumer MUST NOT DRINK FIVE!!!
I read it once through, and then twice for good measure and, why yes, that appears to be a challenge. I did not train for seven years in college to drink four measly drinks. I do not abide by menu rules designed to protect consumers. I am a man and a drinker and I do what I damn well please. I look at my watch. 11:30AM.
2:00PM. Holy shit, what have I done? I’ve made a huge mistake. I’ve gone past the five-drink instruction. Like a homecoming queen, I parade-waved past the limit on to six…seven…eight?
Eight? Fuck. Really?
You know it’s bad when the waiter stops swinging by the table, and I haven’t seen the waiter in quite some time. Waitress? Is it a male or female? Who cares, I decide. Who gives a flying fuck? As long as they do their job, I’ll do mine. A champion will rise.
Well, since you asked, I’ll tell you about my mission. It is not a mission from god, nor is it a Desert Eagle-pumping, tobacco chewing, Marine Corps, bitch - mission. No, my mission is to drink away a memory. Have you ever tried this? To drink away a memory? It’s very difficult. See, alcohol works by altering the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, both excitatory and inhibitory in nature. What I’m targeting here, sitting in this restaurant by the ocean, is an excitatory neurotransmitter known as Glutamate.
Glutamate normally increases brain activity and energy levels, but “The Great White” does a fine job of suppressing such things. It slows everything down. By this mid-afternoon hour, I’ve surely exhausted my body’s supply of the stuff.
But I digress; let’s get back to my memories.
I’m trying to wash away a series of memories that evolve around happiness. See, I’ve decided that I don’t want any part of happiness. Happiness is a real cunt, if you ask me. My thought process is such; as part of a yin and yang world, everything must be viewed through context. Action, reaction, that sort of thing - you know what I’m getting at. Ergo, happiness is inexorably linked to depression and sadness. And this is the shit I’m talking about; you can’t have one without the other.
It’s become clear to me that I cannot handle the reverse of happiness. Sadness does not agree with me, and as it appears I cannot have happiness without sadness…well…
There’s something tapping on my shoulder, so I do what anyone would do and blindly swipe at it like you would a bug.
It takes me at least five seconds to lift my head from the table. When I finally do, I’m met by a set of eyes looking down at me. They belong to a woman.
“Sir, you have to leave,” she says.
This fine beauty, delicate as a waif, must be my waitress.
“Why?” I ask.
“You’re freaking out the other customers.”
Freaking out? Really? I’m just sitting here minding my own business.
“I’m just minding my own…”
“Sir,” she interrupts. She puts up a finger as if she’s going to tell me how it is. “You’re yelling at the ocean. Something about neurotransmitters, or…listen, I don’t know, but my boss just told me to tell you to leave.”
“Glutamate?” I slur.
“My target,” I spit. “Glutamate. My target. I’m here to wipe out memories.”
“Well,” she sighs. “You’re wiping out my boss’s business, so hit the road. Go home, man.”
“You want me to leave?” I ask. “I’m a memory assassin.”
“Right,” she says. “A memory assassin.”
“The Great White is my tank!” I yell.
On the table is Great White #8 with its huge straw. I reach for it. I knock it over.
“Sir, you’ve had too many,” says the waitress.
I hold up my fingers totaling eight.
“Seven? Seriously, you’ve had seven of these things?”
Seven? What? No, I mean…One…Two…Three…Six…Seven…
I raise one more finger.
“Eight?” She says. “You’re joking.”
“Serious as heart-tack,” I burp.
The waitress puts one hand on her hip and scratches the back of her head with the other, looking pensively at the ocean.
“Well,” she sighs, “I’m going to need help.”
8:00AM. Shiva, destroyer of worlds, is holding court in my head. He?...She?...It? Sits cross-legged, fat and happy, doing work on my cerebrum. Life is not fair.
I open my eyes and, good morning, I am greeted by two observations.
First? I am not in my room. Second? I am dans le nu, as they say along the Siene, butt- ass naked as they say along the Hudson.
Sooo…concerning the room: it’s not too shabby, an oldie but a goodie. The ocean lives outside my window. The breeze, smelling of saltwater and fish, makes its way into my lungs. I drink it in. And speaking of drinking... I need water.
I get up and look for pants. Finding none, I say, “Fuck it,” aloud. By the time the woman comes through the door, I’m up on my feet. She’s holding a glass of water and looks neither surprised nor impressed by my dangling manhood.
“Hello,” I croak. “Are you my waitress?”
The woman doesn’t smile at me. Instead, she glares.
“No,” she says. “That’s my sister, Lola. I’m Marta.”
“Marta,” I sigh.
What do you do with a problem like Marta?
“Nice,” deadpans Marta. “You know, you were shouting last night, when my sister brought you back here. Kept saying you were on a mission, something about destroying memories. Kept calling yourself Shiva and yelling ‘champion.’ Champion this. Champion that.”
“Really,” says Marta. “Anyway, I guess you accomplished your mission. Congratulations, you’re a champion.”
“Now find your pants and get the fuck out.”