Sheldon Lee Compton

For a full year I wrote stories about booze while I was drinking the heaviest. I wrote this story called “Somebody Take Care of Little Walter” that was published in a journal called Monkeybicycle and then I posted it at a website called Fictionaut. Thirty-six people gave that story a “fav” and a lot of people said nice things about it, then I deleted it. I stopped drinking for three weeks and met my wife.

So I was sober for about three months because I didn’t want to tell her I drank every day. But I craved vodka and so finally told her I drank some through the week. I told her I was a happy drunk, which was mostly true. It went fine like that for some time. She even brought me a fifth of top shelf vodka back from Lexington after visiting her sister. She called on her way and said she had a surprise for me and I wanted to hold her so tight for accepting who I was and loving me anyway.

I drank it that night and we laughed and she helped me get undressed for bed. I remember saying to her, “Don’t take off my underlords.” I remember how she laughed when she realized I meant to say underwear. Every now and then I still call my underwear underlords and remember when it was funny.

Around that time I had this opportunity to stay home and write full-time. It was still good then. I’d put coffee on and have a cigarette and then get to work. My wife’s workday ended around 3 p.m., so I’d write until she got home and then we’d watch old Twilight Zone episodes and it was fine and good. That’s when I still poured my vodka into a glass and chased it with Coke or Mountain Dew.

I insulted her last night. I drank a pint and a half and then told her the house wasn’t clean enough. I told her she’d been sick for three weeks and that she was weak for letting it keep her down so long. She was throwing up from a stomach virus, and nothing I said was funny.


Sheldon Lee Compton is the author of The Same Terrible Storm. His work has been nominated for numerous awards and prizes and has won none. He survives in Kentucky.

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