it’s story time again

by underswansea

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Twice now Bishop misinterpreted the roll. It wasn’t luck anymore. He didn’t dare call it luck. If it was good then it diminished his skill. If it was bad it was evidence a higher power was out to get him. It was a force neither divine nor inevitable. He tried not to see it differently. It was a duel between good and evil. Bishop was on a roll of evil.

He knew how it worked. He had been drinking beer for a week, only enough to keep him drunk. Sometimes he would accelerate his drinking, drinking six or seven quick, to get him over a hump. It takes stamina he’d say to himself.

Bishop walked the shore between the docks and bay below the tracks. He carried a can of beer. Once finished he’d pitch it into the lake. Something he would have never done five years earlier. But the lake was spoiled now. No more fish except stocked species that can survive the cloudy murk kicked up by motorboats and noisy tanned tourists.

He cracked the top off a mickey and took a pull. It went down like beer then hit his stomach like molten lead. He’d had too many friends die from the switch from beer to hard. They forgot how to slow it down. It’s a balance. Maybe they were past caring he thought.

He was wobbling, no doubt about it. He’d lost before on these shores, but never like this. When he was a youngster the Clayton brothers used to kick his ass regular. He laughed about it now. They were both dead. Addicted to hooch, then crack and pills, anything they could get their hands on. He’d got along with them fine. He had to just about kill them both before they could become friends though.

Bishop sat on a fallen log, not one that had washed up. The lake was calm but it was still April. The summer was coming with little cover. He’d have to deal with it. He took a shorter slug. It tasted good. He wouldn’t stand for it, he thought. He could have stayed.

A garbage can was ahead on the path. Bishop wrestled it from its moorings, ran it to the edge and tossed it in. It floated beside the black bag and a few coffee cups. He reached for his gun so he could shoot them. All he had was his bottle. He took the last swig and pitched it. The clang made him smile.

Bishop shuffled up the char coal hills towards the tracks, luckless, less beaten, drunk with nothing but beer on his mind.

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