Who knows what I'm doing here in this overpriced dive of a bar surrounded by disgusting New York fools. And I don't even have the glorious benefit of even marginally non-obese girls to look at. But who cares? Money should be spent, and drinking makes you happy when it doesn't make you sad... Yes... Who cares?
I fucking care. Eight dollars a drink? Fuck off. I could dodge the tab right now, but I have a strange feeling they expect me to. In fact I think they want me to try and escape so they can devour me.
A horrible sensation, knowing that a group of people actually want to eat you. Try to be nice and maybe they won't. But you can never really tell if people are harbouring these odd thoughts of eating you or not - until it's too late - and in any case being eaten is better than being nice to these creatures.
It's an Irish bar because it has a shamrock on a neon sign over the door and it serves bottles of Guinness and has an Irish barman (who acts like a cunt). Not that places in Ireland are much better, or any less expensive (or cuntish), but at least you don't have to worry about being eaten - slimy greasy hands fondling your body, searching for the perfect place to rest their hidden fangs. Or not, as I said...but maybe.
The horrible twang of American whooping and whining pervades the fucking place and it's difficult to take. Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. More drink - even at this price - is the only option.
These people have no respect for people like me who don't want to have to see them, all fat and greasy and writhing against each other like giant slugs with worryingly sharp teeth, part of some inhuman experiment and happy to be in it. People like me - actual human beings - should not have to see this sickening spectacle.
A slug breaks away from one of the packs and slithers down beside me. She (I think she) reaks, and liquid similar to sweat but thicker floats down from her armpits onto a soaked 'I Heart NY' t-shirt.
I hate New York. It has turned me inside out. Demoralised, horrified, angry, astounded by its terminally bad vibes. Is there any reason in carrying on if a place like this can exist?
But most don't see the slugs, and New York doesn't just exist - it expands, increases and multiplies constantly, becomes more important to itself, making itself consistently worse with each passing day, with more and more slugs sucking themselves around it.
This particular slug is hunched beside me. Even hunched she towers over me. What does she want from me? She won't get it, whatever it is. She's from New York... and wearing that boring boring boring t-shirt, still drenched in slug sweat. She looks familiar, uncomfortably familiar. What have I been doing these past few months and years, and who have I been doing it with? With her? Surely not... Either way, I'm glad I don't remember. What a repulsive creature she is.
A tourist - someone not from New York - can get away with wearing 'I Heart NY' plastered across their chest. I'll hate them for it, but they can get away with it, just about. But I can't forgive a horrible glistening slug like this who actually comes from New York for it. For wearing this t-shirt I will despise her till I forget her or die.
She says that she's Irish. Not actually Irish, of course, but Irish at heart. She actually says it! The slug had a great grandfather who came from Ireland, so it's 'in' her. Wherever whatever creature that created her came from, it wasn't Ireland. Maybe not even from this world. Maybe a swamp. Probably a swamp. Her dull eyes and scaly, slimy body and horrible way of looking and talking and being tell me she definitely originated from the bowels of a very deep swamp. A very deep, unknown and stinking swamp somewhere us humans have never been.
She asks for my story. I ignore her at first but she keeps asking. She thinks I can't hear her. I finally give in, but as soon as I open my mouth to tell her she bursts into her own completely unasked-for life story.
I can't take it anymore. The ceiling seems closer to my head than before. Everything has a strange red glow to it, closing in on me. This place and this grotesque oaf beside me are morphing into something more fucking horrible by the fucking minute.
My bottle of Guinness is finished. I'm finished with it too. New York is eating me alive from inside my own sweaty skin.
It's time to leave.
But a deep instinct to harm her comes from somewhere inside me and I stand up and punch the slug in the face full force. My knuckles sink into her pudgy slug cheek, and I can feel her sweat juice trickling down my wrist. It feels disgusting, but it's worth it. Something like her deserves to be beaten as often as possible.
My hand almost sinks into her flabby face and... a sickening Howl comes from where her mouth should be. This desperate scream, bursting from her throat to her mouth and through her oversized lips tucked in between her huge cheeks, sounds like a human-sized rat being fucked by a baby elephant with a fur-fetish. Not a pleasant sound.
The shriek flows through the bar room and the cunt of a bar man is clambering over the bar and over the other drinking slugs. He wants to eat me, and now he has an excuse...
But he won't eat me, because to eat me he has to catch me, and I'm already outside. Always take the seat closest to the door. It might save you being consumed by a hungry pack of New York leeches someday. I'll never have to see these ones again, i hope, but my mind won't ever erase them. The slugs will stay slugs and be proud of it, always multiplying. Always eating away at things that shouldn't be eaten.
And then back into the floodlit freak show of Time Square, a huge shining box of lights and hustle and weird. It looks pretty and exciting, but all that glitters is not gold; It is simply shit, covered in the glistening sap-trails of a million poisonous slugs. I must get out. I'm confused. Who am I? And what am I doing in New York?
Chris Connolly writes from Dublin, Ireland. Allegedly he is not as dangerous as he reads. His first collection of short stories, 'Every Day I Atrophy' (the SideCartel) is available now. If you need to know more about Chris Connolly, he has an excellent and excellently informative website here chrisconnollywriter.com
about Chris Connolly »»
Outsideleft exists on a precarious no budget budget. We are interested in hearing from deep and deeper pocket types willing to underwrite our cultural vulture activity. We're not so interested in plastering your product all over our stories, but something more subtle and dignified for all parties concerned. Contact us and let's talk. [HELP OUTSIDELEFT]
If Outsideleft had arms they would always be wide open and welcoming to new writers and new ideas. If you've got something to say, something a small dank corner of the world needs to know about, a poem to publish, a book review, a short story, if you love music or the arts or anything else, write something about it and send it along. Of course we don't have anything as conformist as a budget here. But we'd love to see what you can do. Write for Outsideleft, do. [SUBMISSIONS FORM HERE]