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Vitae Lampada, Chapter 2, Trev Bazlewicke

He didn't decide to drink less. Beer lasted longer, or kicked in sooner, and with a different effect. Instead of that melting satisfaction blending him into everyone else, he would find himself at a distance. It was the other faces that melted. Stripped of their meaningful layer, it left him with nothing to watch but the disgusting locomotion of fat and skin and hair. And what the faces said! Of course he returned the same throw away talk, whether he remembered it the next morning or not wouldn't matter. He began to wonder if it was only alcohol that made his friends friends.
And when it came time to leave the outside air would make him giddy--with relief. He'd relish the quiet, stare out the cab window. Jenny was the one who pointed out the change, and commended him. She thought he was slimming. But socialising outside the happy bounds of intoxication dragged. At his works' Christmas do he tried to drink his way back to that place, and spent a night in hospital. “You'll have to watch it now,” Jenny warned, “it goes to your head.” But it didn't. That was the problem.
During the holiday break he gave up, went dry. Jenny's mum arrived, no dragon but no remedy either. And her boys, good lads, brought home two friends to stage an Xbox tournament. The only way to cope was to invent some decent activity that needed doing upstairs. So he tried the internet. He, who hated replying to recorded messages, who could hardly sit through a film. But now it had a strange attraction, because it gave the suggestion of people without the substance. And anyone who didn't satisfy could be literally switched off.
If asked, he said he was tracing family history. There might not be a name for what he really hoped to find.


January 2015



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