Doubling Down

I woke with a headache. My clothes were soaked with sweat. It was ten after two in the afternoon. I shuffled to my sad little kitchen and took a pull from the bottle sitting on the counter. The cabinet I’d pulled it from hung open still. Dirty light filtered through the shades.

The sleeping pills made my head swim. I pissed and stumbled back to bed.

I woke with a headache late in the afternoon. The sleeping pills hadn’t worn off. My tongue felt like sandpaper against the roof of my mouth. I pissed again, although the Devil only knows where the fluid came from. I ran Visine down the outside corners of my eyes to clear the bloodshot fog.

My head swole and shrank. I dropped two Alka-Seltzer tablets in a glass of water and listened to them fizz with my eyes closed. I sunk down on my couch and forced a pot of coffee down. I took pills three at a time.

Calcium, magnesium, and zinc. L-Arginine.

Non-Acetyl Cysteine, B1, and Vitamin C.

Phosphatidylserine. Bacopa.

Sublingual B-complex.

I forced myself through a workout. I could smell the booze sweating out of my pores. No one was around to care. I showered it off until the water ran cold.

I spent an hour measuring out the raws for another cocktail of supplemental aminos and false motivation. Weighing by the milligram is painstaking work when your hands are shaking from sleep deprivation and dehydration. The testosterone crash that comes with a hard night, or a morning binge, was making me anxious.

I mixed up a two-day dose of tribulus and choked it down in two swallows. I didn’t bother with the Stevia and citric acid. Nothing cuts the taste of that awful shit. I followed it with hordenine hydrochloride and a Bronkaid I broke in half. Ephedrine sulfate is weak sauce at best, but it was all I had. I didn’t bother with the anhydrous caffeine after the diesel fuel I’d brewed. I used the last cup of coffee to wash down the rest of the mix and chased it with a pull from the bottle.

I drank eight ounces of water in three swallows.

I knew that none of it mattered. I was so underslept, dehydrated, and wrung out that no amount of chemicals would replace the sleep and rest I needed. It was 8 PM on a Saturday, and I’d already lost Friday night to work. I was not spending the night in.

I needed food.

I’d eaten eggs and bacon and two Bloody Maries that morning, when I came off shift. Plus the Bushmills. I had a protein bar the day before, with a lot of coffee and a few cans of Rockstar.

I cleared the messages from my phone without listening to them. I scanned the texts for anything important, found nothing, and slid the shattered plastic into my pocket. I pulled on my boots and my hat. I changed my watch and took the brass zippo.

I took another pull from the bottle on the counter and headed down the fire escape.