Short Story of Bernard Wicker -
07-17-2006, 06:47 PM
Bernard Wicker dreamt vividly of cool beads of condensation rolling down the frosty exterior of a tall glass of water as he lay in his own stagnant, saturated mess. He was still wearing his jeans, which upon touch excreted the kind of grease that obese Medderterain men get from the pours on their oily noises.
In the humidity of his dingy, unventilated single-studio apartment, Bernard awoke unsatisfied. The usual saturday morning dilemma quickly presented itself: the effort of moving Vs dehydration. Dehydration would usually enjoy victory for about an hour, during which time Bernard would drift in and out of consciousness.
Eventually, like every saturday morning for the past five years, the dream of a frosty glass of water would embody too much of a salvation not to be realised, and a semi-conscious Bernard, feeling terrible, would contemplate verticalness.
Inevitably, the pounding began on the inside of his skull. This was not a good feeling, but an expected one. He bumped into several walls on the way to his kitchen sink. His own clumsiness amused him briefly. Ambivalently, he felt slightly disgusted by his own needless excessiveness.
He was still very drunk. It was routine.
Starring blankly for a while at his vomit-galvanised sink, Bernard's reality fused into a fuzzy sense of a flashback.
Jovial thoughts race round his muzzy head. He recalls several of what he refers to as 'controversial' conversations he had with random strangers and chuckles to himself. "What a night!", he thinks.
Finding a mug that wasn't covered in vomit was a little tricky, but he managed to lay his hands on one that was just partially covered and went about filling it up with tap water. He filled his stomach with as much as it could take, before turning back to his self-induced hole and collapsing into it.
Five seconds go by. Suddenly Bernard inhales deeply and reminds himself to breath regularly from now on.
Bernard was a simple man in reality, although soberly he always considered himself as somewhat of a literative, conscientious and, occasionally, burdened soul. His writings, however, never reflected this, as usually his "alcohol apathy" (his own term) kicked in before he could persuade himself to scribe anything meaningful. Bernard's style was fairly autobiographical. He rejected 90% of his drafts, making writing laborious and frustrating. When frustration hit, a binge would inevitably follow. With only alcohol to write about and only alcohol stopping him writing, the self-perpetuating cycle continued.
He often loathed his life-style intensely, but less so immediately after a big night out.
To Bernard, during a 'binge' was when he felt truly at ease with himself; insightful, confident, witty, basically, the Oscar Wilde-esk conversationalist he envisaged he could potentially live out in real life one day.
The night before proved that an obvious link between the drunkard Bernard and Bernard's fictitious alter ego was non-existent.
His 'controversial' musings directed at disinterested acquaintances and perfect strangers alike were actually far from 'insightful' or 'witty.' Instead, his words presented their speaker as being rather simple and racist.
'Shocking people' with his ideas and viewpoints, Bernard thought, would shape his social-perception into an intriguing and attractive figure; someone different, or, when he truly felt on-fire, someone border-line genius. Irrespective of his drunken pragmatism, an opposite effect was usually triggered in the minds of his unwitting audience.
Bernard was vain to the point of being almost narcissistic. To the contrary, however, he often thought that his own recognition of his flaws compounded them further. Being aware that one is nervous around peers, often intensifies one's nervousness. Intoxication was simply a way to brush this under the carpet. His rhetoric and actions nullified his insecurities and shyness, but dually liberated the less scrupulous part of his brain. The part that dominated his pub articulations. The result was a loud, ignorant buffoon.
He was, like many of us in life, an aimless drifter. Perhaps too weak-willed or plain lazy to set a goal and achieve it. Too apathetic to become religious or even nihilistic. Agnosticism even eclipsed him as being 'too much work.' Inside himself however, again, like so many of us, he felt alive with potential. He just lacked, at present, a calling. He awaited this 'calling' though it was vague and intangible.
He felt, it would definitely find him, rather than the other way around.
So, he continued to amble drunkenly through life with just a minute, suppressed feeling of discontent that his life was ending slowly without purpose. Comfort came in the rough prescription that he would eventually, one day, be uncovered as the genius that he continued to perceive himself as.
A year later, the same saturday morning quandary predictably presented itself to Bernard. A terrible hang-over had truly started to kick in. Shame, wastefulness, injustice, flood into his consciousness. He became disgusted with his own willingness to waste whatever it was that he had. Digging a hole and burring his ambition was getting old. It was OK though, these feelings were no new phenomenon. Just temporary and preempted. Similarly, to Bernard's pleasant surprise, the previous night he had managed to preempt his morning thirst and so managed to console himself with a triumphant swig from his luck-warm, vomit-painted mug. He had learnt something in this year. "I gotta change this" he thought to himself.
Energised with guilt, he leapt out of his dirty sheets, braced himself for the unavoidable saturday head-ache, stretched and jumped into the shower.
Bernard always had a habit of taking long showers on saturdays. Everything post-shower seemed like an enormous drag in his half-cut state. Delaying the inevitable makes things a little better.
Half an hour passes and Bernard is as clean as a whistle. He gets dressed and styles himself with needless precision. He feels ashamed that he's already wasted half of one of his two days off from a job he can't stand. Planless, he figures getting outside of his dingy squalor will get him potentially closer to the day's action.
Whilst hazily crossing the road outside his apartment, Bernard trips and falls onto the concrete of the road and into the path of a speeding van. The driver was a dizzy man just like Bernard.
Bernard, relegated to the past tense at 2pm that saturday, achieved nothing meaningful with his life and failed to answer any of his lingering questions about himself. Unfulfilled.
His family were sad.