Extra Innings by John Patrick Robbins
The crowd was thinning out.
And now only the serious drunks and fractured souls remained.
And then there was the seriously fucked up like myself.
“What you trying to set a record Frank?”
Max asked as he made his way to the end of the bar.
“Honestly I would have probably carried my ass long before now if I had the confidence I could walk the hell out of here bud.”
“Yeah you been hitting them harder than usual there chief.”
Max replied as he wiped down the bar.
Trying to appear semi interested in anything more than counting the hours till he was out of this adult baby sitting service.
“Hell Max give me another for the road.”
“Dude honestly you’ve had enough I think it’s time to call it a night, besides there is always tomorrow to attempt to kill your liver.”
Frank didn’t respond he knew he was getting out in left field so arguing his case was pointless.
He been hitting the bottle harder and the page less.
His friends saw the change.
He slurred his words he was no longer the fun heavy drinking hellraiser as much as the bitter drunken fool.
His publisher drove him nuts and his friends drove him for drinks.
But he was a success so they all told him.
His work was everywhere and his life was in the proverbial shitter.
A old friend told him.
“You know Frank you’re a real asshole!, Because you worry all of us that really care about you as you seemly are hell bent on destroying yourself.”
Allison had her point but much like those on the outside looking in.
They had no clue how much so called success truly sucked.
Frank dealt with total strangers who either liked him and wanted to be close to a person that was antisocial on his best days.
To the jealous pricks that loved to talk shit spewing their hatred like shit through a goose.
Frank sat outside the Lazy Diamond the air was cold yet the hint of spring held a promise his life truly did not.
He smoked and waited for his cab.
A woman who had been in the bar most the night approached him.
“Hey are you…”
Frank cut her off mid sentence.
“Before you finish sweetheart to answer the question yes I’m the prick who wrote the book.”
Frank coughed felt himself wanting to puke and fought the urge as he continued.
“But you see I really didn’t write the book, I’m just a paid actor the real Frank Murphy doesn’t exist.”
The woman looked at Frank puzzled.
“What are talking about?”
“Well you see it’s just a pen name and me being some hellraising hard drinking throw back to the past is all marketing gimmick.”
She laughed “You’re so funny I know it’s you silly.”
Even blasted out of his gourd he could still turn on the charm when needed or in some vague hope to get laid.
“Sweetheart I’m telling you the real person that writes that shit is actually a priest, he is such a holy man he could never come out in public and be known for writing such trash.”
“You’re so full of shit.”
They now both laughed as once again Frank had to pause the conversation.
As he walked to the trash can on the sidewalk and let loose a steady stream of puke.
It was a damn river that flowed and he felt like death as he almost lost his balance.
By the time he pulled his head from the garbage can.
His new friend was hoping in the cab.
Guess she had seen enough of so called fame for one night.
He went to call something out and a second wave came over him.
He spewed what felt like forever into that metal trash bin.
Afterwards he fell to the ground.
Nobody was on the street.
He heaved some more.
He caught sight of a church sign lit up like a cheesy billboard.
The words simply read.
“Yeah even you.”
He had had to laugh as he sat there parked on his ass outside his favorite bar in Asheville.
It appeared even God himself was a comedian.
And even though he felt on the verge of death Frank knew he was far from over.
A true drunk didn’t go out easy.
And Frank was in this for the long haul.
He was swinging for the fences in the late innings.
Drinking in hopes they would build an alcoholics hall of fame somewhere in Cooperstown.
Yeah if you’re going to dream always dream big my friends.
©2019 John Patrick Robbins
John Patrick Robbins is often referred to as an outlaw poet, whose work is a glimpse into life’s darker side and often barroom based. His work has been published with Punk Noir Magazine, The Red Fez, The San Pedro River Review, Ramingos Porch, Beatnik Cowboy, The Outlaw Poetry Network, Mojave River Review, The Rusty Truck, and Ariel Chart, He is also the editor of the Rye Whiskey Review and Under The Bleachers