This weeks Flash Fiction Challenge over at Terribleminds, was to create a cocktail, real of fictional, and then use said cocktail in a story, preferably the cocktail should be the title of your story.
Reluctantly (I have other stuff I should be focussing on) I participated.
The Forget Me Shot
Greg awoke to a dull throb reverberating around his head, ears filled with the rhythm of his pulse, he folded the pillow around his head, but still, the thumping continued. He sat up, feeling his body’s need for water; his tongue was a Sahara, his throat a salt lake, and his vision a permanent heat haze. As his head found equilibrium, and his ears began to breathe, the pounding became clearer. He squinted round the room, confused, looking for the source. The thumping continued; he heard his name, murmured through opaque glass, and untreated pine. Greg rolled out of bed, his stomach churning, and his head swaying, he felt like a confused metronome as his body tick-tocked its way to the front door.
‘Let me in you lazy fuck, it’s freezing out here’
He couldn’t see the voice through the crack of the door, the grey gloom of London too bright for his sore retinas, but he recognised it.
Greg stepped back, and let Adam in, the cold air followed him through, proving his friend right, tweaking Greg’s nipples as it went. He followed Adam through to the kitchen. Adam went straight for the kettle, filling it with water. Greg sat down at the table, wrapping his dressing gown tightly around him, his head in his hands, and his elbows on the table
‘You look well’ said Adam
Greg gazed up through heavy eyelids, even this motion made him queasy.
‘What’s up?’ he asked
Greg shook his head, though his brain protested such vigorous movement.
‘Come on soppy bollocks, you’ve gotten over worse’
The kettle clicked, and steam plumed from the spout
‘Tea?’ he asked
‘Who?’ asked Adam as he spooned two sugars into a mug
‘Melissa’ said Greg, the name sent a bolt from his gut to his heart and back, like a shuttle run of pain.
‘Oh’ said Adam ‘plenty more fish, and all that’
Greg laid his arm along the cool table top, and rested his head on his bicep. Adam sat across from him
‘So, what we up to tonight?’
‘Come on Greggles, it’s Saturday’ he said ‘and you’re newly single’
Greg looked up at him, his big smile reminded him of the cat from Alice in Wonderland
‘Don’t fancy it’
Adam took a sip of tea and said
‘Hang on a minute, you’re telling me, that you look like your Mum’s just died, because that snobby cow you’ve been seeing has given you the elbow?’
Greg would have scowled, if he wasn’t using most of his energy to stop himself being sick
‘She isn’t snobby’
‘But you concede she’s a cow?’
‘What’s your point Adam?’
‘That you look like shit, its two o’clock in the afternoon, and I’m the only reason you’re out of bed’
‘I had a lot of alcohol too’
‘Yeah, and shed a few tears judging from your eyelids’ Adam drained the contents of his mug, then made his way to the sink, he returned to the table with a pint of water
‘Drink that’ he said
Greg groaned as he sat up straight, he picked up the glass and took a sip.
‘Good, so why’d the snobby – ’
Greg glared at him. Adam raised his hands defensively
‘Sorry, why’d the cow leave you?’
Greg couldn’t be bothered to argue the differences between a cow and Melissa, so ignored it
‘She said she wanted more out of life, more than’ he gestured round the kitchen ‘this’
Adam raised an eyebrow
‘More than a flat on the sixth floor in southeast London?’ he asked ‘some people are just greedy’
Greg didn’t appreciate the sarcasm, so he ignored that too
‘I just miss her so much’
‘When did she leave?’
‘Fuck me’ he said in surprise ‘you need sorting out mate’ Adam got up from the table, and began routing around the cupboards.
‘What’re you doing?’ asked Greg
‘Putting you out of your misery’
Greg watched him drag out nearly every bottle of alcohol he hadn’t drained, including a dusty bottle of birthday Gin he’d received from his Nan about six years ago. It came with a message which said: “now you’re old enough, have a proper drink” But Adam, like most people, didn’t like Gin, and like most people, knew this before he was eighteen.
Adam brought all the ingredients to the table including a tall glass
‘Right’ he said ‘if this doesn’t cure you, it’ll at least kill you, either way I won’t have to listen to you’
Greg watched on as Adam narrated his actions
‘A cube of sugar’ he plonked it in the glass ‘that’ll take away the bitter taste of rejection’
‘A dash of bitters’
‘To soften the sugar cube’
‘Then we muddle that down to a syrup’
Greg watched him beat the sugar cube with the handle of a wooden spoon. Adam looked round the kitchen, then reached for a plant on the window sill
‘Some mint’ he said pulling a few leaves off the plant ‘cleanse your palate, ready for new flavours’
Greg eyed him sceptically.
‘Ice’ he said making his way to the freezer, placing a handful in the glass when he returned
‘And what’s that for’
Adam shrugged ‘it’s Ice, everyone likes Ice’
Greg nodded, a smirk began to lift the corners of his mouth
‘A good glug of red Wine’ he said ‘to battle the heartbreak’
‘A shot of Whiskey, for the pain’
Greg raised his eyebrows
‘Some Rum’ he said ‘that’s for relaxation, no good being tense’
Adam blew dust off the next bottle ‘a little Gin, for a bit of fortitude’
‘Fortitude?’ asked Greg
‘Yeah, you know, stiff upper lip’
‘Ah’ he said finding a smile
‘And finally some’ he studied the bottle ‘Absinthe?’
‘Costa del Sol, two thousand and nine’
Adam shrugged and poured in a splash ‘that’s to wipe out the memories’
Greg watched him stir it round, the ice clinked against the glass, but it remained a dark, reddish-brown. He slid it across the table
‘What the fuck is that?’
‘The Forget Me Shot’ he beamed
‘It’s a pint’
‘Heartbreak calls for more than a thimble mate’
Greg studied it, he could make out the ice cubes through the murky liquid, like spotting eels in the Thames
‘I’m not drinking that’
Adam looked offended ‘why not?’
‘You just made it up’ he said ‘it probably tastes like shit, and I’ve got a hangover’
‘Hair of the dog’
Adam sat down, he breathed out heavily, frustration flaring his nostrils
‘Look, you can either remain depressed, with your thoughts of her’
‘Whatever, the point is, with how you feel now, what’s the worst that can happen if you knock that back?’
Greg looked at the glass, the eels seemed to move in and out of focus beneath the lethal brown water
‘Alright, fuck it’
Greg picked up the glass, he took a deep breath, the fumes of alcohol swam up his nose, his stomach protested, but the drink was already at his lips, he swallowed it in gulps, the different alcohols fusing and then separating, punching his taste buds like his tongue had entered a bar fight, Gin left hooked the Wine, while Rum strolled over the back of a rampant Whiskey, sweet syrup danced round them all, while the cool breeze of mint blew in through the ruckus. He put the glass down, nothing but ice and dregs remained. He gazed at Adam, whose smile seemed to increase the longer he looked at him
‘Well?’ he asked
‘Not bad, though I didn’t get the Absinthe’ as he finished the word, it hit him. His eyes seemed to lose focus; he felt the very passage of time cease. Absinthe had walked in on the tussle, gazing round at the other drinks, with a crazy look in its eye, it undid its bright green trench coat, and the last two seconds could be seen counting down on a shit load of dynamite.
The Sun barged in through the parting of the curtain. Greg squinted under its scrutiny, before looking round the room confused. He rolled over, checking his alarm clock. It read: 10:23 Sun. He inhaled deeply, he felt good, really good. Though he wasn’t sure why. He jumped out of bed and headed for the kitchen, a spring in his step.
He checked the bread for growth, then popped two slices in the toaster, flicked on the kettle, and felt his dressing gown vibrate
‘Eh, Greggles, glad to know you’re alive’ Adams voice came through the phone
‘Ello mate’ he replied ‘what happened last night?’
‘Why, how you feeling?’
‘Great, mate’ he said while buttering his toast ‘absolutely blinding’
‘Glad to hear it’ he said ‘you up for coming out tonight’
Greg frowned at the pint glass in his sink, it was filled with a brownish milky water. He couldn’t place it
‘Yeah, sounds good mate’
Greg looked round the club, the music was blaring, and he felt as good as he could remember feeling for a long time.
‘Good to have you out and about mate’ shouted Adam through the din
‘Yeah, s’nice, just need to get my leg over’
‘You and me both’
Greg looked out at the dance floor, perusing the crowd, searching for that lucky lady, or at the very least a lady that made him feel lucky. He preferred blondes, but the brunette in the red dress kept catching his eye. She was dancing with a friend. Greg liked her smile, her teeth extra bright in the neon lights of the club. She looked up at him, normally he might have played it cool, looked away, so he could build up to it. But he felt different, like he was free, and the confidence it gave him must have shown. She smiled at him, it was a horny smile.
Greg found her at the bar, talking to her friend. He stood beside her, but never once looked her way. Feeling the eyes of her friend on him, he called to the bartender
‘Can I get another Vodka red bull’ he said ‘and whatever these ladies are drinking’
It was then he looked over, and she was eyeing him up
‘And what if we’re drinking champagne?’ she asked
‘Then that’s what you’ll have’
She smiled and said to the bartender
He liked her accent, middle-class, yet everything else about her was anything but
‘Greg’ he said holding out his hand
She smiled, offering her slender one in return, and said