Hyde

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.

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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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