Thursday, March 29, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Hangover

You wake up the morning after St. Patrick's Day and don't remember much of the evening (thanks to too many green beers).  You also notice some discomfort on your forearm.  When you roll up your sleeve, you discover a tattoo of a map.  Panic sets in as you realize that you now have a tattoo on your arm, but curiosity takes over as you wonder where the map leads.  Writer's Digest

I woke up to a putrid smell. I opened my eyes to see a lake of green liquid with bits of what looked like food floating in it.  My head was resting on the toilet seat, my arms wrapped around its porcelain base.
I let go of the toilet and sat with my back against the wall.  My left forearm was on fire and my shirt sleeve looked like I had been finger painting with black paint. I rolled up the sleeve of my now ruined flannel shirt to discover the source of the pain.  Squiggly lines in a sea of black ink covered most of the inside of my forearm.  In the middle of it was a indiscernible red mark.  I wiped absently at it but the ink and what seemed to be blood was now dry and would require a more thorough cleaning.  I reached into the bathtub and turned on the water.  I worked my way up to the edge of the tub only to find myself falling in the pool of cold water that was now accumulating in it.  I decided to stay there until the room stopped spinning.

When I finished cleaning myself up I went downstairs to find the aftermath of what must have been a great party.  Either that or a huge fight, I couldn't tell which.  The entire place reeked of booze and vomit.  Many people laid about, most of them on the floor, and none of them moved or made a sound.

I sat on the stairs to re-examine my forearm.  The squiggly lines turned out to be a tattoo of a map, a very detailed map actually.   If I didn't know any better I would have thought it was a rendition of a pirate treasure map.  Treasure or not, I decided to follow the map to see if it would help me figure out how I ended up here.  I left the house and started walking.  I tried to catch a cab or a bus but saw neither.  The streets were deserted so I had to walk a couple of miles before I reached the area depicted on my map.

I arrived at an empty lot outside of town.  Orange and red hues of light lit up the sky creating long shadows all around me.  I looked at my forearm to make sure I was at the right place and started looking for the small landmarks referenced in the map.  I went to the first marker -a large boulder- faced the oak tree then started counting my steps.  I was on my way to the only colored landmark on the map.  The X marked the spot.

The temperature was a few degrees colder under the trees.  Combined with my damp shirt it was a bit too cold.  As I got closer I noticed something sticking out of the ground.  I took a few more steps and realized it was a small camping shovel.  It showed some signs of wear but it was still in good shape.  There were no marks or brands on it, aside from hand painted red X on the handle.  I looked around to see if anybody was watching me, felt satisfied that I was alone, took the shovel and went to work.

The dirt was soft and the digging was almost effortless.  I was digging long enough for the orange hues to disappear to the West and the moon to appear to the East.  Then, the tip of the shovel hit something.  I threw the shovel aside, fell to my knees and started digging with my hands.  I kept scraping the wood looking for an edge, a handle, something to grab a hold of.  I uncovered enough surface to notice the wood panel was sagging under my weight.  I reached for the shovel.

Still on my knees I pointed the sharp edge of the shovel down and started stabbing the wood.  It made some crunching noises then a piece finally broke off sending me face first onto the wood, making me drop the shovel into the space below.  That didn't stop me however, and I stuck my hands in the hole and pried at the wood.  Little pieces of wood kept breaking off allowing me little to no progress.  I used both hands to grip the wood on one side of the hole and managed to break off a large piece of the panel, causing it to collapse under my weight.

I wrestled the remaining pieces from under me and stopped cold at the sight of my discovery.  I rubbed my eyes in disbelief and looked back down at the decomposing body in front of me. I picked up the shovel to uncover the face.  The face was covered in dirt, but after twenty years of looking at it in the mirror it was unmistakable; I had just unearthed my own lifeless body.

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