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This Side of Paradise Lost
by Brett Petruzzelli
2016-02-17 10:32:27
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I awaken to the dim light of the setting sun through my lone western window, on this date that I cannot recall, in the year of 1924, I think.  I’ve become accustom to this, as my over indulgence and admitted laziness has made this routine of mine so commonplace that I no longer feel comfortable under the crude beating of the suns’ rays.  I rise just like anyone with a hangover of this degree would, by putting one foot in front of the other and stumbling my way to the shower.  I eat breakfast, the matters of which are of no concern.  The sun has now fully set, meaning it is time to dress myself and begin my day. 

brett01A beating headache, as result of my indulgence, persists, pounding harder and harder with every step I take, my joints hurt, as if nails were being driven through them.  You see, this constant cycle of a hangover, only to be relieved by more drink, only to then cause another hangover is just another facet of my routine, just as the shower or the meal I consume.  Once again stumbling, this time back to my bedroom, I open my wardrobe to exam it.  I decide my black suit would be appropriate for the day, but quickly after putting it on I change my mind and return to my closet to reexamine my options.  A white linen suit catches my eye, I find myself wishing I could rise early enough in the day to wear a suit such as that.  Finally, I decide on a deep blue tweed suit and a tie to match.  Just as I begin to leave my room I hear a shrill metallic ring, loud enough to pierce my ears, and further worsen my headache.  I quickly answer its calls and find, to my delight, it’s my friend Tom, whose acquaintance I’d made in the war.  He informs me that he has yet another connection to a “secret club” in center city, and that I must hurry to meet him there.  So, quickly I rush out of my apartment door, down the hallway and out to the streets.  These secret clubs known around as “speakeasies” have become the highlight of my day, for they are just about the only thing open at such an hour. 

Pacing down the garbage littered sidewalk, in search of a cab, I bump into a lamplighter.  He gazes blankly at me, and with a frantic urgency I tell him an apology and continue my hunt.

It’s unusually hot for this time of night, I can feel my blood begin to boil and the faint stickiness of sweat forming around my pristine white collar.

Finally, my search pays off, I find that yellow colored Packard.  I tell the cab driver the same loose instructions I was given by Tom, and off we were.  However, it was not long before we were lost and both as confused as each other. For a little over an hour we searched until finally we stumbled upon the restaurant with the deep secret of the speakeasy hidden well in its’ bowels.

I exit the cab and meet Tom inside where we proceed down a set of stairs.  We are met by nothing more than a food cellar and a weak looking wooden door.  But, with a secret, coded, knock upon that door, it bursts open, a large man stands imposingly in the doorway, he wears a long brown sack suit, complete with a crimson red tie and matching shoes.  Tom explains who we are and exactly who this connection of his is.  He must have said something correct, or incorrect, either way, we are admitted in.

We both proceed down a set of stairs into the depths of this sin filled society we have begun to associate ourselves with.  I immediately head to the bar to consume the forbidden fruit that is alcohol, I figure it is better to face this drunk, with hopes of forgetting the events I will partake in tonight, just too then wake up the next night and repeat this process over again. Sipping from multiple drinks, I scan the club as it is seen from the bar.  Time passes, how much exactly I am completely unaware of, enough though that I decide it is time for me to depart, I once again scan the club, this time looking for Tom to inform him of my exit.  I find him at a table, enjoying the amusements of burlesque dancers performing on stage.

As I stand up to proceed over to him I see the man in the brown sack suit leaning over the railing above, watching over us in amusement, like we are some heard of deranged cattle set here for his pleasure.  Leaning over a rail opposite of him is a man in a three piece, white linen, suit, with a full head of, neatly combed, white hair to match. This man looks down upon us not with a look of pleasure, but one of disappointment, the same disappointing glare a father would direct toward his son.  This stare further reinforces my feeling that it is time to depart.  So I maneuver my way through the packed crowd, the deeper I proceed into this crowd, the hotter I feel, and the darker my vision becomes. Never the less, I make it through, slithering as a snake would through a patch of rocks in the desert.

I inform Tom that I am departing, and to my joy he shares the same sentiment.  This time we both snake our way through the crowd and proceed up the stairs, where we are once again stopped by the imposing man in the brown sack suit.  He urges us not to leave, with a cool, suave, delivery of his words, and a smile painting his face.  I again stare back at the disappointed man in the white suit to reassure my decision of leaving is correct, I then reject the imposing man’s offer and slip out the weak wooden door, proceed back up the stairs and outside to the streets, I move my head back, gazing over my shoulder to say something to Tom, its then that I realize Tom is not with me.  For he had made the decision to plunge deeper into the depths of over indulgence.  So alone, I begin the long trudge back to my apartment. I begin to notice that the temperature is now cooler, with a polite breeze picking up.  It blows some of the street clutter with it, I ignore it, feeling that any breeze is better than none at all.

I return back to my apartment, ascending up the long staircase. It’s a slow climb, but it must be done if I am to settle, blissfully, into my bed.  I will attempt to rise early and face the sun that has made me so uncomfortable in these recent times.  I know, however, that I will almost certainly fall straight back into my same schedule of laziness and virtue.  Such is life as in death.

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Cheys mom2016-02-18 16:48:04
Great story! I really enjoyed it. Look forward to seeing more from this author.

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