Hank choked back a few sobs, staring at his ragged clothes and all the liver spots on the backs of his hands while pummeled by the memories of a lifetime of defeat.
Sobriety was way overrated.
That, at least, he could fix.
He dug around in the tattered garbage bag that now served as his kitchen cabinets and bureau drawers. Pair of holey socks, stiff with dirt? No. Dog-earred love letter from an ex so ex that she’d not only run off with some younger rich guy, but buried him and died herself in a nursing home? No. Ah. The cheap hooch. He yanked the bottle out, expertly judging from the heft and the slosh that enough remained to do the trick. But his hands shook and he dropped it.
“Clumsy, Hank, clumsy,” he admonished himself…as he did almost continuously since he was always dropping things…but, saints and gutter rats be praised, the bottle didn’t break.
Second potential consequence: discovery. Had anyone heard that bottle hit the floor? He looked around: no one in the hall. Then he heard sounds in Unit 38 again, but that was nothing new. Whoever was in there had been in there so long he figured it was another bum who’d scored, relatively speaking, a penthouse suite. Or should he say…”homeless person”? “Accommodationally challenged”?
Damn hands. Still, despite the shake, he managed to connect the open bottle with his mouth. Then choked, remembering as he always did, getting gasoline in his mouth when siphoning it out of someone else’s tank in the middle of the night. First pull of such cheap shit was always tough. But soon, very soon, it wouldn’t matter.