Gin House Blues

By: Wayne Brown

“Let’s have one more, Maggie” I say to the middle-age bartender as she wipes down glasses from the washer.


Maggie lifts the bottle of Beefeater and heads my way. “You want more ice?” She asks picking up the ice scoop.


“Oh, hell no!” I shoot back. “You know I don’t like that shit. It fogs up the drink. Besides that, you know what fish do in water,” I chuckle. Maggie smiles and tips the Beefeater to my glass.


“Pour it like you don’t own it, honey” I muse as I watch her pour it deep.


One of the virtues of living two doors down from the corner bar is not having to worry about driving. Hell, I hardly have to worry about walking. Maggie knows that. She’s been around for years and so have I. In some sort of ways, we are friends. We have a lot in common as she pours it and I drink it. We both have a relationship with the gin. She uses it to make money. I use it to drown the rats that gnaw at my brain. They still gnaw but the gin dulls the pain. Maggie and I are both happy with the results. She’s got a good living and me, well, it keeps me drunk and that’s all I care about.


I’m a gin man. I have been for a long time now. I like the Beefeater but truth be known and times be hard, I’d drink paint thinner if it smelled like gin. I’d like to think I discovered gin and told the world of its wonderful benefits. That’d be a lie. Gin found me. It found me curled up inside myself. It found me hiding in the dark; fearing my thoughts; pitying my past and at a loss for a future. Gin found me and took me away from all that. It took away everything that hurt except maybe the rats that gnaw. It only dulls their bite as they chew my brain.


“Hey, Maggie, whatever happen to the good ol’ girl, anyway?” I asked swallowing yet another large gulp of the Beefeater.


“Not a goddamn thing” She replies and laughs. “Why don’t you find one of them good ol’ girls, Mike, and settle down?” She adds. I laugh.


“You gotta be shittin’ me, Maggie,” I say, “You mean there’s still some of ‘em out there?” I add looking confused. “You know I already found my lady, Maggie, and she lives in that bottle right over there on the shelf” I say as I point toward the Beefeater. “Now bring her right on over here and let me give her a little kiss” I plead pointing once again to my empty glass. Maggie says nothing. She grabs the bottle and pours it deep once more.


Maggie and I talk a lot. Most times she and I are about the only ones in here during the daylight hours. I don’t know much about this place at night but I think there are probably more folks around. I don’t care for them much. By the time the sun has set, my mood has changed. By then I will have climbed off this stool and crossed the street to the liquor store to pick up my night bottle. By then, I just want to be alone with my lady and make love to her while she drowns the rats. She’ll spend the night by my bed comforting me and in the morning I will toss her empty glass carcass into the dumpster by the steps on my way back down here to spend some time with Maggie. I guess you could say that I got myself a routine.


To look at me, you probably wouldn’t think of me as a successful man but I did all right when I was out there. I gave that shit up not too long after gin found me. Work was gettin’ in the way of duties to my lady. I needed time to savor her warmth and bathe in her fluid kisses. We can’t get enough of each other. I got a little money put away and my Social Security and that about covers my needs most of the time. Maggie pours me a free one or two every day and I drink the cheap stuff at night so it all works out. There ain’t much of anything that I want so I might as well spend it on some gin. Everybody needs a reason to get out of bed. I guess that’s mine.


Hey Maggie, how long is it to Christmas?” I sputter with a stream of gin running down my chin.


Wipe your face” She says, “I would say about four cases of Beefeater” Maggie adds with a grin. I laugh out loud and slur my words,


That’s pretty goddamn funny, Maggie. You pretty funny girl” I say laying my head on the bar and gazing back at her. “What time is it, Maggie?” I ask draining the last remnants of gin from my glass.


Time to pack your ass home, Mike” she replies, “It’s five o’clock.”


All right then” I say pulling myself from the stool. I’m just gonna head over to the liquor store and then get along home. I see you tomorrow, Maggie” I add.


Yeah, Mike, see ya’ tomorrow” Maggie replies.


I head off to get into my night mood and drown some rats once more.


(copyright)WBrown2010

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Comments 11 comments

lalesu profile image

lalesu 6 years ago from south of the Mason-Dixon

My favorite line, "Gin found me. It found me curled up inside my self."; sad, poignant, depiction of reality for so many. Another good read, my friend.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

You are amazing, absolutely amazing.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks, Laura...don't know where I found those words...gin's not my drink, but then again, maybe it was in a past life. I need to think about that and maybe write about it.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

Tell me again, Poppy...I love the way it sounds when you say it! A most humble 'thank you'!


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

There was a time when Mr Beefeater was my companion, but with the mix of quinine and alcohol it made those rats depressed and almost suicidal. I gave it up for red wine, these days that's the only medicine I indulge in, signs of age creeping over me. Gripping account of the beefeater. I also remember meeting a few of em on my visit through the Towers Of London back in 68.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

Ah...and so go my latter days quinched only in the buttery essence of the Chardonnay. The hard stuff is long behind me but I don't mind the occasional brandy to warm my lips and touch my soul. There's a euphoria there. Thanks for the read, SR and watch for rats!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Whisky for my horses...


valeriebelew profile image

valeriebelew 6 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

Well, I finally found it, Wayne, but it was a piece of work, and well hidden under your mound of hubs. Yep, definitely told a story, there. Typical routine for many, and somewhat similar to my own at one time as a younger woman, though I never got into drinking that much. same difference when you build and live your life around a substance of any type. Still, I understand why people do it, and much of my writing is also about it. I liked this hub. Voting it up. Voted it awesome too, because it is a perfect description of the alcoholic lifestyle, that is the serious alcoholic profile. Many heavy drinkers never get to that point. (:v


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@valeriebelew....Glad to hear what you think especially with your experience as a counselor. I wrote this from observation, experience with friends, and my own fears of reaching such a level of dependency on anything. Painting the gin in the light of a lover was the only way I could find to convey the depth of this guys love for it and his willingness to isolate himself from this about all other facets of life including work and people with the exception of the bartender who was just an extension of his dependence. I was hoping that I did a credible job with it. Thanks much for the read, comments, and the thumbs up! WB


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

Wow! What a sad story. Talk about the blues!! Never heard the expression "drown some rats" but maybe because gin is not my drink . . . Great Animals YouTube. Again, you had me thinking it was autobiographical from the "git go" . . . your style is so personal/believable. Like we are friends sitting in your kitchen catching up on old times . . . Thanks and WOW!!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Truckstop Sally...I could not ask for more..that is exactly how I would want it to be. I insert myself into a drunk and sit here and explain personally to you what is going on from there....no Westerns, no outlaws...just rats. That's the way I want you to write and I think you can...talk to the reader like you were sitting there one on one. To show you how reckless I am as a writer..I didn't know where this one was going after the first paragraph either. The beauty of that is, if I had stuck with traditional methods it would have gone nowhere. I would have had to drown the rats before I wrote about them. Don't buy in to all that stuff. If you have the talent you work your way in and and you work your way out. No damn pro golfers remember all that crap they print in golf magazines every time they swing at a golf ball..that is all made up to sell magazines and advertising...most of it is just their talent. Don't let the establishment determine the limits of your talent.....find those yourself and tell them about it so they will know. WB

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