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A Man and A Bottle

First, a man takes a drink; then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes a man. F. Scott Fitzgerald

1896-1940

I first came across this quote by Fitzgerald in Stephen King’s film, Doctor Sleep, adapted from his award-winning novel with the same title.


The bottle stinks before you’ve had a taste of what’s within, which often burns, bitter; it could taste horrible to even an occasional drinker.

When I first introduced myself to what I now term as a “high life”, my reasons told me that another sip wasn’t necessary, but I would take it.

Of course, there is ever the inexplicable lure to intoxication; the common “one-leads-to-another and another…” Before you know it, a bottle is empty, your once-sour mouth is thirsty for more, and your reeling head desires an absolute escape from the little sanity that grounds you. Your hands become itchy for touch, your blood races, and your body submits to freedom.

It is always a horrible feeling, to recount events of your loose moments. Some believe that it is the things sanity holds back that break free to our lain guards. It can be embarrassing. Not only the neglect for care of anything but also the extents that “blind freedom” can lead us.

The introductory phase fades fast, when the desire for momentary peace, ecstasy, numbness, and insanity overcomes the fear of definite consequences.

“You’ll grab it, the bottle, by the neck,” a confidant says, smiling, “that’s when you should know… you’re lost for the night; lost into the abyss of freedom. It is always a deep, dark pit, pleasure; brief pleasure. “

I smile and nod; he goes on.

“You close your eyes, and gobble on. You gobble your worries, your troubles, and fears―with your eyes closed.”

He breathes, I nod; he goes on.

“And you never open them eyes; you don’t see where it all goes―you never do.”

Then the following morning… your head kills you, your stomach burns and bruises from a possible fight are a hell sore. You feel horrible, but your reasons will always haunt you.

You will chase the bottle again when your soul has healed from the embarrassments, and you will collect many varied experiences each after-sessions. And sanity slowly departs, as the drink takes you on, until your soul is an empty pit, unfillable by all the bottles you know and those you don’t.

A sip, it is said, is good for the soul, for the mind, and for the flesh. Don’t let a sip sip you.

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Benie Langat

Benson Langat is a poet, fiction writer, and freelancer. A dreamer, he realizes a world of possibilities through stories and explores life in poetry. Benie is a dad and lives in Nairobi, Kenya.

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