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I like to write and I like to party, but mostly just the writing. Disclaimer: A lot of these stories are true ones. The memory of growing-up in and around Killybegs. When you hold a mirror up to small communities, sometimes there are those who don't like the reflection. Capote knew this only too well. If you find the refraction just a little too much and would like the angle of incidence changed in your favor, please email me at georgevial@hotmail.com and I will be happy to make a name change here or there.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Friend for a Day

By whatever twist of providence, science or the supernatural, you end up sitting beside yourself in a small coffee shop 5,000 miles from home.

You know it's you right away from the clothes, the computer bag, the broken glasses and the lame scar on your left eyebrow. Some people get cool scars, you get what looks like a botched nipple piercing.

You watch yourself for a while, absorbing the madness of the situation, waiting for the small adrenaline rush to dissipate. A rational mind would say "he's just some fella that looks like you." But you never had one of those. The other you is typing furiously on his laptop, working on the novel you know he hasn't finished.

After enough coffee and caffeine confidence you approach the doppelganger, even though you hate to use that word, juvenile, very X-Men comic book vocabulary.

You slouch into the chair at his table, toss your bag beside his and break-off the corner of his chocolate chunk cookie. He looks up from the laptop, fingers paused over the keys and says "Hey, I though that was you over there. Figured you'd come over when you were finished your coffee."

"Well you figured right. So, what do you think is going on?"

In near unison you make similar quotes about "inverse tachyon beams" and laugh at your own predictability.

"Seriously, though, there are a million ways to explain this, none which will prove satisfactory to the big "Why." And we've no idea whether this is temporary or permanent and which of us is the original to this point in the "space time continuum."

"So you're saying "let's get a pint"?

"Sure, aigh, yes."

"It's eleven now, we could hit O'Dowds or re:Verse?"

"Let's do O'Dowd's, better pint and you're buying since I'm sure that the cards in our wallets are connected to the same bank account."

As you both stroll over the street, past Three Dog Bakery and the Better Cheddar,  to the bar, you let him walk a few feet in front to see what you look like in the world, as a member, not an observer.

You notice that you have a funny gait, almost a cocky swagger, but a little too fast, like you've got something stuck to your butt and can't quite keep the cool walk.

Identical twins could not be dressed more alike than the two of you, right down to the brown Tommy Hilfiger socks you bought on sale at Marshall's last Christmas, the ones that feel good with your Clark's, that have seen better days, but you like to wear shoes till they literally drop off your feet.

The bartender greats you both with a bewildered face and you answer "Ah, the brother over visiting. Two pints of Guinness Ken. Thanks."

You wait patiently, making faces and raising eyebrows at each other and then take your pints and grab a small nook, closed off from the main flow of the early lunch crowd.

"Want something to eat?"

"In a while, see how the pints go down first. So, don't you think it's weird  that we've jacked-off ourselves?"

"What?" you literally spit your Guinness out all over the mahogany table.

"Like I mean, I've spanked that monkey so many times, and I know that is way out of left field, but think about it. Totally gay."

"That's some question to ask yourself. No 'Who's the president of the United States in your World?' or 'Are you married?' or 'What's the name of the girl who sucked your dick at the back of the Tech when you were fourteen?'

"Which time?"

"First time."

"Catherine Turner."


"Still single and O'Bama is President."

"Huh, totally the same then. But now that I think of it, you're right, I know we're not gay or nothing, unless you are gay in your time-line, which I would be cool with."

"Nope. Sorry fag."

"Didn't think so, but yeah we've stroked this meat monster a million times. Fucking weird."

You banter on all through the lunch hour, pint after pint, orders of Shepard's Pie, fish and chips and more pints. You suggest to yourself, your other self at the table, that you take a walk down Brush Creek while you're both not too drunk and having a good buzz. A bit of fresh air to make the day last longer.

There is goose poop on the walk-way, you absentmindedly kick it into the brown liquid that passes as water in Brush Creek. Some mutant fish breaks the surface of the water to sample the treat you kicked in. Cyclists and joggers squeeze between as you meander along, almost pushing you into the creek.

"Obviously other people see both of us, so we know we aren't mental, no Sixth Sense trick ending here. Any ideas then?"

"Oh, I've been thinking it's the Universe showing us a big fat metaphor, that selfish bastards like us would rather hangout with ourselves and drink a pint than solve the world's problems, when confronted with a miracle of space, time travel, whatever have ya."

"Yeah, 'cause if this could physically happen, then any miracle could become a reality. No more poverty, no more hunger, just like that, gone. No more praying for rain in Africa like we did as children while pissing into the toilet, sword fighting with our piss streams."

"Let's walk as far as the Nelson."

The new wing at The Nelson-Atkins museum has been critically acclaimed by every major architecture magazine in the country, but you think it looks like Terminal 5 at Chicago, O'Hare, nothing special. And sure enough, yourself agrees.

The beer is leaving your systems now, feeling hot flashes and needing a bathroom break. You stand beside yourself at a urinal and peak over at his dick, he sees you and says "Fucking queer."

"I was just checking on size mate."

"Piss that, you were checking to see if I was circumcised or not. I've got me wee hat, ain't no wee Jewish boy standing outside a Synagogue looking for my pullover."

You both laugh so hard at your Dad's old joke that you piss on your own hands.

You grab some bottle water and sit down on the front steps of the original Nelson, looking down over the lawns at the great shuttlecocks, you see families picnicking and some kids throwing a Frisbee.

"You remember walking around here with Granny a few years back?"

"Yeah, she loved it."

"It's too fucking nice for this city. Hardly anyone knows they have this fucking place in their city."

"You're right there. But on a more serious note, you ready to do some serious drinking?"


"Yeah. Fuck the Guinness though at that price."

"Let's head."

From the novel that posses as a wine book you select a 2004 Ojai Syrah from Santa Barbara. Fuckin delish. Smoke and spice filling your senses, drunk on the memory of sipping this wine in a Los Olivos tasting room with some random girl you met in wine country.

Then a round of Jameson and water to cleanse the palate. You slap your pockets in unison looking for Rolaids to quiet the acid reflux kicking up in your chest.

The late Spring day is winding down, the brightness and heat of the day giving way to gray coolness.

"Let's go walk again."

"I could stay here for another."

"Exactly why we're leaving now and not after another."

No longer buzzed but drunk, a twenty-minute walk up to Harry's in Westport is just what the doctor would have prescribed if he gave a fuck about drunks on a binge.

Going past Unity Temple, you make a smart remark to yourself about meetings there. But you don't take it the right way and a small scuffle ensues. You catch him over the eye and he takes you down to the ground and gives your face a nice road rash. It's all over before it began and the two of you are panting and bleeding and your matching green shirts are ripped and you know you could both go again so you break the moment.

"Well, that was fucking stupid."

"I guess so. Let's get the fuck out of here."

At Harry's you both go into the bathroom and freshen up before hitting the bar. The doorman nearly didn't let you in, but he recognized you from enough drunken nights that a bloody cheek is nothing.

You can't help but notice how old your face looks as you wash off the caking blood. The youth and vigor of the morning's creativity in the coffee shop now looks gaunt and puffy at the same time, like a bloated corpse.

Dave the bartender hands you both a shot "...and one for your brother too. Fuck, you two could be twins."

You each order a pint of Boddingtions, 'cause that what you drink at Harry's, and hook your bags under the bar. It's too early yet for the after work restaurant crowd, so you can still hear each other talking, without having to shout and spit into each other's ear.

"Hey. In the morning, if we, I, you, me are totally hungover and the other is gone. I want you to know that whatever magic happened here today for this to become, I loved it, I really got to know myself and I hope it happens again.

"Me too." You slur.

Just then some asshole bumps into you from behind and laughs causing your beer to spill down your front as you go to take a sip. He looks like a proper fucking douche, a strayed Plaza Rat, trying to be cool in Westport. You stand up and so does yourself and you've knocked the frat-fuck out-cold before his friends swing is blocked by your number 2 and his headbutt is lighting fast and the two douchebags are slumped on the ground beside each other.

Dave the bartender says "I know you didn't start it, but you better leave." So you do.

Stepping out to catch a cab you stop at the gyro truck and get lamb kebabs, they remind you of Abrakebabra in Galway, when you were young and dumb.

"Like the fucking American Abrakebabra" you say.

There is tiziki sauce all over your face and you're choking with laughter and the cab driver won't let you in till you finish your food.

As you both slump down on to the sofa with a glass of some super expensive bottle of wine that you'd been saving for a special night, you play some Halo and then find Point Break on Spike and toast each other "To Johnny-Fucking-Utah."

"Well man" you say "that was some fucking day."

You both pass out without finishing the bottle.

You awake late the next mooring, late for nothing. Still in your blood stained clothes from the night before, the skin on the knuckles of your right hand is busted open and you see the 2003 Quilceda Creek, Washington State, Cab opened and small flies coming out of the neck of the bottle. Two glasses barely touched on the coffee table. You realize yourself is gone and you've left your computer bag in Harry's and you have to deal with that mess by yourself.

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