My well had run dry – both the liquor that customarily inundated my bloodstream and the great American dollar I relied upon to obtain it; the catch – money essential to fuel my alcoholism could not be traceable by my wife, which, to say the least, was not an easy task; she was annoyingly scrupulous and thorough in regards to our financial situation which forced my hand into adapting a very elusive, clever, and creative skillset to carry on in my ways. I had started to exhibit faint signs of the shakes; ensuing symptoms of cold sweats and hallucinations were more than probable occurrences should I not scheme up a remedy for this particular predicament in a timely fashion. The demon inside demanded to be pleased and satisfied or misery would surely be headed my way, sooner rather than later – and trust me when I say I would always rather deal with consequences later – preferably never, but surely not sooner.
Triggered into a trance; I frantically parade around my basement, sporadically reaching up into the ceiling to reclaim lost treasure. Within fifteen minutes, I was madly and meticulously draining diminutive drops of liquor from the empty whiskey shooters I kept hidden and haphazardly placed about in black baggies above the ventilation systems and ductwork of my home. Hundreds of miniature bottles stood at attention, united as one flowing entity with a common mission; an army amped up; obeying the command of their General, strategically spread out and categorized by rank in a grid on the surface of my washer and dryer; soldiers I had formerly tucked up and away instead of providing a proper burial for; all in preparation for just an occasion such as this; the obsession that never ceased thinking three steps ahead to ensure my well would remain perpetually plentiful.
After an hour of this astonishingly unorthodox undertaking, I had extracted enough booze to fill one shot glass or, in my case, the medicine cup that accompanied the bottle of Tylenol in the cabinet – It was in these moments of desperation that the disease completely hijacked all rationale and the age-old-alcoholic insanity showed up to prove what lengths we are willing to go to for even the tiniest taste of relief. This sickness that plagues me; it disgusts me at times and I myself get perplexed trying to make sense of or decipher the depths I would sink to in pursuit of relieving my undesirable discontentment. I wish I could say the insanity stopped there, but one shot would never hold me over, let alone subdue my compulsive craving for more; I still found myself needing a means in which to feed the beast; alcoholic activated – welcome to my hustle.
I’m not the alpha male type that strolls into a bank wielding a gun on the hunt for cash – the risk doesn’t match the reward; percentages favor the house leaving my chances of getting caught far too high, ultimately interfering with my agenda; how to successfully arrive at the liquor store undetected each day. So no, my hustle never involved violence, grand larceny, or any category involving a major felony; I had to face the facts and accept that I would make a shitty criminal. I found my strengths, my “calling”, if you will, was in the art of denial, deceit, and manipulation. I bagged up the entirely empty pocket size vessels of anesthetizing solution into a large garbage bag and crept slowly up the stairs and out the side door like a deranged and maniacal Santa Claus hoisting around a sack of certifiable nightmares. Across the street from my house was the town’s high school; an optimum and favorably anonymous dumping ground; under the blanket of night I could finally bury my valiant soldiers virtually undetected. After making gesture of my final salute for a job well done, I retreated back across the street to my house, hamster wheel spinning rapidly in my mind – forecasting direction of the next act in this nonsensical shit show; a quest to fulfill an insatiable inclination that cannot, in all reality, ever be filled.
(In act 2, I will delve into my own personal various hustles over the years and how low I would go to feed this addiction. I’ll also explore some of the ways in which other people I’ve met along the way have fed their addictions over the years. Stay tuned.)