[Baa Baa Black Sheep, 887 words, Genre: Mind Fudge]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
Jeffrey Watson was an alcoholic. Far be it from one to judge, but his habit had got out of control. He had lost work because of it. Had lost his home because of it. Now, he was in a halfway house chain smoking cigarettes and drinking casked wine. He did manage some degree of style whilst undertaking this task. In his polo shirt and faded blue jeans with holes just on the knees. He slurred every second word and made awkward conversation with those at the halfway house, the other occupants had grown quite annoyed by his antics. They would listen to his war stories of the work force; working from bars to construction. There did not seem to be one vocation that he did not partake in. He was a loose cannon, moving from one job to the next in search of something that did not exist. He was chasing after a legend, the legend that had been caused by others stating that he had achieved it, only to realise the fallacy of their claims at a later date. The legend was the dream job. He had been chasing it, looking for it. Had been suckered into many a scheme centred on getting rich quick. They all claimed little effort was involved, but would later prove to be pyramid schemes that gained their funding and promotion through propagating such lies. Jeff had been there, done that. Seen it all. Now he drank. The government provided funding his cycle of self-destruction and may very well, one day, be glad to be rid of him the day he finally did himself in. Oh, he wasn’t a bad bloke. He was just a parasite to the system that supported him. Concocting the next scheme to take advantage of a system that claimed that no man was left behind. This is how he spent his hours whilst alone. Identifying flaws in the system and exploiting them for all they were worth. He was a legend, a figure of myth. He was the boogeyman that prompted the average joe to vote liberal. The figure that laughed behind people’s back every time he made the claim that he would pay them back.
And right now he was counting his last drink. So drunk by this stage that he couldn’t count past one, even if one was all he had left. He had been scheming the whole halfway house for his booze. They had all bought a drink for the man, the legend, who had accomplished so much with his life. He had given each occupant a different story, some of them were half way true. For instance; he had worked in a bar, but he hadn’t owned the hottest nightclub south of the Yarra. He had worked construction, he hadn’t started his own construction company that went bankrupt through the negligence of his employees. He had once read a single page of a medical dictionary, he hadn’t been a doctor or practitioner of health in any way or form. Some might go as far to say that he was full of shit, but the halfway house was susceptible to his lies and perpetually existed in a world of bullshit and lies, where supposedly famed and reputable characters were common boarders. Of course, for the occupants, this was better than confronting any representation of reality.
After Jeff had downed the last of the drink, he looked at the empty bottle. Weighing up the situation. He thought he deserved one more drink. After all, he was Jeffrey farkin’ Watson. So Jeff went from room to room in the halfway house to see if anybody was awake. All rooms were empty except for the one at the end of the hall. There was a light on. The room was occupied by a nineteen year old girl, Jeff hadn’t had much to do with her. There was something off putting about her that Jeff couldn’t put his finger on. She had dark hair, and darker eyes. Not that they were black, they were probably brown, but Jeff remembered them as black. He hesitated knocking on her door. He listened silently at the door. Inside, the girl was singing a song, “Baa, baa, black sheep. Have you any wool? Yes sir, yes sir. Three bags full.” What was this? A child’s nursery rhyme? Jeff, cut and past halfway mark, listened more intently, “One for the master, One for the dame, And one for the little boy who lives down the lane.” It crept Jeff out, but he wanted that drink bad so he knocked on the door. Inside the room, she stopped singing. Jeff could hear her make her way to the door.
“Hey, wassup?” He greeted when she answered the door. He burped and his sight strayed from the ground to her face, back to the ground.
“I suppose you want some alcohol?” She asked.
“Yes, surely that would be what I want right about now.” He burped again.
She handed him a Gatorade bottle filled with clear liquid. “Here you go, vodka.”
“Farkin’ sweet.” He opened up the bottle and swallowed it in one fatal swoop, without ever making any attempt to test its contents. It was fatal because it was paint thinner, he dropped to the floor dead almost immediately after drinking the stuff.