by Shehu Idris
“How many bottles have I had?” I murmured.
“12, I3…15, no! Not 15, it’s 13!”
I wiped my groggy eyes with my palm.
I’ve come here to take just a bottle or two, to distract myself from the disturbing thoughts of Tinuke. But the first bottle didn’t last as long as I had hoped.
So, I ordered more.
“Two more!” I had said.
Those two didn’t last either. Every refill of the murky mug was quickly followed by a voracious swig.
Yet the agony that Tinuke had squeezed into me lingered; the agony that I came to the bar to expel.
“Ok! Barman, four more!” I said calmly, but the look of disdain I got from the guys around revealed that I had screamed.
“Who cares?” I muttered under my breath.
Of the fresh four bottles, I downed two and still wouldn’t get ‘high’.
It felt as though I had become ‘un-highable’.
Tinuke’s name and trouble clung firmly to my mind, like tapeworms in gut.
“Oh God!” I sighed, scratching at my head. “Barman! F*cking give me five chilled bottles more!”
The boy was slow and I banged the table in frustration.
After the 7th bottle, my mind blurred.
All thoughts queued on a thin, fading line. All my thoughts, except that of chilled booze streaming down my throat.
“Who is Tinuke?” I asked myself now.
I couldn’t even wrap my head around the name again, not to mention remembering the problems she had caused.
My sight became enhanced, blessed with extra images.
I saw people, spinning and smiling natives of High Island.
The bottles on the table multiplied; the four-legged table grew an extra pair of legs.
“Thank God!” I murmured to myself.
Goal accomplished, destination reached!
Slowly, after finally managing to locate the opening of my mouth, I cast down the last content of the remaining bottle.
“Now, I am on top of the world!” My face puckered in a drunken grin.
As I staggered off the chair, sending both the table and the bottles on it running for their lives, the barman walked up to me.
“Sir, your bill is #7, 500,” he said, avoiding my glazed eyes and alcohol-reeking breath.
Instantly, I dipped my hand into my bulky pocket and brought out a bundle of notes.
The denomination? I do not know!
I couldn’t even remember the name of the country I was, let alone the currency they used there.
I tried flipping through the notes but my mind wouldn’t focus. The ugly faces drawn on each note did nothing to help matters.
“Take jor,” I said, squeezing the entire bundle of money into the barman’s outstretched hand.
“Thank you, sir!” he roared.
I wondered why he was showing me his teeth.
I would have leaned forward to start counting them but he quickly closed back his lips and limped away in a distorted doubled figure.
I wobbled across to my car. The alcohol has taken full effect now.
I now walked like a shirt on a laundry line fluttering in the breeze.
I felt extraordinarily superb.
Inside the car, I inserted my key into the keyhole. I turned the key several times but the engine wouldn’t stir.
“Oh!” I hissed when I discovered I’ve only trapped the key in one of the openings of the air vent.
I pulled out the key, leaned forward and started searching for the right hole. After spending ages trying to accurately lodge the key in the ignition, it finally kicked.
“Can you drive like this, Lanre?” a voice asked inside my head.
“Shey na today I just dey drink ni,” I replied the voice.
My eyes were fixed on the passenger’s seat, as though the question had come from there.
I sped off.
In my head I was competing with Nico Roseborg and Lewis Hamilton for the F1 Championship, blaring my horn at everything in my way. Including the rushing wind.
“Home sweet home,” I thought to myself when I saw a tall structure with two limpid lights.
The lights seemed to go dimmer and brighter at different intervals.
I further increased my speed.
A guy is in my house, I could tell.
Perhaps it is the same idiot who has been bedding my Tinuke!
“You will die today!” I assured him.
My desperation to get to the lights boiled.
Gladly, they seem to move closer and closer as I sped on.
The irritating and shrill sound of horns got harsher.
I could see the guy in my house clearly now. He was waving in frenzy from my window.
One last long blare of horn and then, like a misty mirror wiped with a wet napkin, my mind jerked back to life.
And it was late already!
I was heading straight into the face of an oncoming trailer.
It wasn’t my house that I saw!
The guy from the window is the driver of the trailer.
I stamped on my brakes immediately, but it wouldn’t stop the impending collision.
I just have about 2 meters of space to swerve and save my wasted life.
And shit! It happened!
Clattering of metals and crashing of glasses followed.
There was a loud howl and a splatter of red.
Drink responsibly. Do not drink and drive.
Shehu Idris is a Mass Communication student of the University of Lagos.
Writing is his second nature. Nothing more interesting.
Connect with him on Twitter @NA_Idrizeba