Drunk at Dawn


Bill was drunk. He’d spent all night at his friend Eric’s party, where he became deeply acquainted with the contents of the bar—and that meant beer and whiskey and a mixed drink or two. He was awkward so he needed the alcohol.


He’d just started work at Miller and Jones, a small public relations firm that catered to those in politics or entertainment. This was his plan:  he would write about office life and he would send it to one of his clients and then he would sell books.

At least that’s what he told himself.

He was fired from his newspaper job three weeks ago. He was never a good journalist—he’d get facts wrong, miss deadlines, misquote people. But he also didn’t put in the effort. He wanted to write fiction. Doing this, he thought, was an impediment to that goal.

So he scanned the classifieds and he found an advertisement for this startup. He sent in an application. To his surprise they asked him to come for an interview. He scheduled one. They hired him.

On his first day of work, he met Eric, and they hit it off immediately. They talked books; they both liked to write.

Eric said:  “Hey, I’m having a party at my place this weekend. You should come out.”

He paused. He didn’t like parties. But he figured that, if he didn’t, it would destroy the blossoming friendship, and it would leave him alone, and he would have to find some other place to work.


So he said yes. And that was how it started.

Now it was about four in the morning and he had just finished attempting to talk to a really pretty girl whom he saw sitting on the couch. He asked her where she was from and what she liked to do but she had nothing to say. She only nodded her head slightly, as if listening to an enjoyable song, and then she shut her eyes and slumped over.

“Forget it,” he said, and then he left. He waved to Eric, who was eating a breakfast sandwich in the kitchen.

He spent most of the night drinking and people-watching. He figured he could get some good material for a story. Someone was bound to do or say something stupid or strange or frightening.

But he heard mostly run-of-the-mill office talk. Attendees discussed sports and hours and such. And Bill, of course, knew no one, and whenever he tried to join a conversation, he would stand next to someone or a group, expecting to be noticed or engaged. It didn’t happen.

The city was quiet, save for the occasional passing car.  It was still dark—and it was cold. He shivered and he rubbed his arms. The mist created by his breathing appeared in staccato puffs.


He walked up the street, found a park bench, and then he sat down. He had sobered up a little bit, but he wanted to wait a few more minutes before calling a cab to take him home.

He looked up at the sky and he saw that all things were bathed in a navy blue. Off in the distance were streaks of purple and orange.

Something deep within him stirred. He knew he wanted—had to, really—to write about this, so he pulled out his phone. He’d often make notes and save them. That way, he’d remember his projects.

He put it away and again glanced skyward and saw that it was now engulfed by an explosion of colors—oranges and reds and streaks of pink.

He sighed. This was better than anything he could have gleaned from the party. The cab can wait, he thought.

He smiled and waited for the rest of Creation to begin anew.


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