JUST A BILL
Bill DeSantis was an alcoholic. He was a young-looking 59. Six feet one inch. Lean and trim, a full head of hair. And relatively soft dark features and hazel eyes. He really could knock ‘em back. Somehow he held his job at the Petunia’s liquor and mini-mart. It was located out in Simi Valley. A quiet refrigerator-white town, which primarily hosted policemen and upper-middle-class residents. Petunia was a family owned super convenience store. Petunia was Bill’s mother in law. At 86 she was still sharp as a whip. She liked Bill. He worked the graveyard shift. Which was real freedom, his time to do what he pleased.
He stocked shelves, handled general clean up, and matched the orders as they came in from vendors: The dairies, bakeries, soda companies, beer and wine distributors. He really didn’t need the job. He had a pension and retirement, but no hobbies. He grew bored sitting around the house. At work, he’d sneak out for a shot and a beer. Like clockwork, usually every hour, or until his head would nearly explode with the anxiety of the everyday rigor morale that would drive even the sanest man to drink.
Bill loved graveyard for two reasons:
1) His wife Myrna wouldn’t fuck with him and his drinking.
2) Fewer shoppers and people to deal with.
Bill disliked people and wanted to be left alone. Bill had a serious problem when he drank into his blackout potential, which even occurred at work. Bill mistook everything for a toilet. Bill would piss on the Hostess display racks, in the cold storage, and once on the safe. At home, he would piss on the sofa, the ottoman, and a couple of times in the cat’s litter box (which was okay so long as Felix wasn’t in there.) On one occasion, when Felix was in there, Bill pissed on him and Felix leaped at Bill, his claws (3 on the right paw, to be exact) got stuck on Bill’s cock. Bill ran through the house with Felix, a seventeen-pound rescue tabby, attached to his cock. Luckily, Myrna was at work. Bill screamed in agony. Felix hissed in fear. Finally, Felix was un-hooked from his vine.
Bill soaked his cock in rubbing alcohol, fearful of feline leukemia, or some unknown disease you can contract from the shit & bacteria under a cat’s claws. He rarely had sex with Myrna, so she never found out. Bill couldn’t escape his drinking. He tried 12 step programs, exercise, therapy, gambling, even took a ceramics class at the learning annex. He gave up. He was going to drink. Period. One night at work Bill had two new people to train. There were also three skids of groceries, from three different vendors. There was also plenty of inventories to stock from the earlier shift. The day man, Phil Mazzone, called in sick and left Bill a stack of merchandise to sort, stock, price, and inventory.
Bill felt the pressure, He went out on his first break and took four shots of 151 and drank an Old English 22 oz. He was on the side of the building looking up at the sky grateful for the immediate effects of liquor. He came back into the store, plenty buzzed. The trainees and his lack of solitude and space aggravated him. He looked at them. Sue was a pierced and tattooed overweight 21-year-old with a green faux hawk, piercing blue eyes, and cystic acne. She wore sagging tight jeans and a 1/2 shirt that revealed her morbidly obese midriff.
‘Girl has no shame’ bill said to himself. As he was pondering this she quickly rifled off three questions,
‘Do we have to clock out for lunch if we bring lunch? Is overtime after eight hours? Do we get plenty of overtime? Where can I get a smock?
‘Whoa Whoa, easy! Quit asking so many damn questions, I’ll get to all that.’
Then the other trainee, Steve, a struggling actor who thought nights would be good so he could maybe audition during the day, piped in. ‘Hey man, no need to talk to her that way.’ Bill looked at him. He looked like a typical starving actor, distressed torn leather jacket, hair mousse, ‘Affliction’ (whatever the fuck that means) t-shirt, faded big thread jeans, basically a ‘Costas Mandylor’ look alike.
‘Who the fuck asked you, Shut you’re fuckin’ rat hole or you’ll be doing work as an extra in General Hospital.’’ Then Sue, ‘Hey watch it Bill, you asshole!’
‘I don’t have to take this’, Steve said with a quivering lip, ‘I’m outta here!’
‘Good. See ya. Break a neck or a leg. One less fuckin’ moron to train.’’
‘You old tub a shit!’ The girl with a thousand questions screamed, ‘We’ll take you to the labor board.’
‘Do whatever you want pizza face!’ Bill was furious. They both walked
out, the actor mumbling something and taking a six-pack.
Bill was alone. He sat down on a box of pork and beans, took a couple more shots, and had a 40 oz. Old English and he was feeling like a new man. He was really drunk now.
’Fuck ‘em. Fuck them all’
Bill got up to piss, walked over by the register, whipped out his shriveled, cat-scratched cock, and pissed on a 240-volt outlet where the lottery machine was plugged in until it was removed after Priscilla revealed she had a compulsive gambling problem. Bill wasn’t thinking about that, though. He had 240 volts going inside him; the excruciating sensation this produced was so hideous. He would rather have had six cats latch on to his cock than this.
‘Am I going to die?’ He mused. Every drunken episode passed before his eyes. He wished suddenly that he didn’t drink so much, then blackness. He woke up in the hospital mumbling about the Felix the cat.
‘Bill, Mr. DeSantis, Sir, can you hear me,’ Dr. Cohn said.
‘Yeah, yeah, I hear ya.’
‘Do you remember what happened?’
‘Yes. I was over at the register at the store and I got a terrible shock, I think I need an attorney.’
‘What was your penis doing out of your pants when they found you?’
‘Sir, you’re penis was out of your trousers. There was urine near an electrical outlet. Also, your blood alcohol level was .34 again, point three four.’
‘Sounds like a setup to me, I want to speak to my lawyer!’
Dr. Cohen shook his head and left the room.
A lawyer showed up at about two-thirty, wearing a cheap, old, brown Men’s Wearhouse suit.
The pants one size too small at the waist and two sizes too small at the length.
‘Christ, what an embarrassing sight you are.’
‘I hope we have a case, Bill,’ Martin Duckworth said.
Martin was from a long line of ambulance chasers. His father and his father’s father was an attorney. He got Bill a settlement from an accident and won a slip and fall case for Myrna about a year ago. So Bill thought he might have a chance. That night Bill had incredible dreams. He was suffering from DT’s. Big bottles of 151 Rum and Old English 800. Armies of bottles chasing him. Bill screamed in his sleep, awoke very quickly, ran out into the street and was run over by a delivery truck. It was on its way to Petunia’s Mini Market. It was carrying wine and spirits.