Chapter 34, Blog 3
By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang
“And really, Man, I actually thought I had a chance. Can you believe it?” I said to each consoler unlucky enough to come my way. Laughing at my own naiveté, I slapped my thigh as hard as I could. “Take that you lazy, good-for-nothin’ right leg. You never bought in for a second. Take that and stick it. YOU’RE FIRED!”
“And left leg, you’re next.”
In my beerful, blissful state, I spilled drunken nonsense all over the place. I stopped and peered over my shoulder for Harry. He had been chatting with his pals near the kitchen door. But now he was nowhere in sight, so I reached for another beer to destroy.
Out of respect for me, Harry’s buddies decided not to play cards. Instead, one by one, they came over to cheer me. One white-haired, nice-looking guy named Clifton noted the Michelob in my hand. He, too, scanned the room.
“Training’s a bitch, huh?” he said with a straight face.
The phone rang. Chicago Channel 7 wanted a comment for the 10 p.m. newscast, something profound about dealing with the end of my long, implausible journey to the Olympic Trials. As the sensitive, mature, 49-year-old adult that I had become over the past 18 months of training, I had no trouble revealing my true, introspective self.
“Here’s my quote: ‘Do not pass Go. Instead, go directly to HELL!’”
I slammed the phone down.
“Damn TV whores!”
The crowd roared.
As the laughter died down, my eyes focused above the fireplace at our imitation, antique mantel clock displaying 7:15 p.m. – or 5:15 p.m. in Eugene, Ore. – where in 24 hours the first 800-meter quarterfinal heat would start without me.
“Screw it! Just screw it! Who the hell cares?”
… did you say that out loud …
“And just WHAT are YOU going to do about it?”
… stay out of your way, that’s for sure …
“HA! About time. Why don’t you get lost?”
… you’re killing me, dude …
I knew it. I knew I was that drunk. But no one cared if I was having a breakdown. They were more worried when the tardy pizzas would show. I spotted Sheila over in the corner, talking to some old, fat guy I didn’t know. I stared. Sheila saw me and waved for help.
“I didn’t know you had an Uncle Fred,” she said.
“Me either,” I said, glaring at him. “Who the hell ARE you?”
Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang