This is an entry for Oliver’s Liquid Literature contest over at Literature & Libation.
I may have cheated by using two of the topics instead of one. I didn’t plan it that way, but I think it worked out.
The ale, ’twas pale.
The liquid, insipid.
Or so he thought, until havoc was wrought.
The flavor remained, no matter how much he wished it away. His tongue felt like a patch of Velcro. The pounding in his head wasn’t helping matters, and since lying down did nothing for these problems, he pushed himself off the couch.
He felt his way along the walls of his house, a lost miner who’s headlamp just went dead. His stomach grumbled. It was simmering for now but was only a few misplaced thoughts away from a rapid boil. The television was still on and he asked it to please, please not air a Denny’s commercial.
He eventually found himself in the bathroom. To his surprise, he wasn’t wearing any pants. At least it made taking a piss an easier task. With his free hand, he shielded his eyes from the sunlight streaming through the bathroom window.
This was not a typical hangover. What he drank was not a typical Pale Ale. The untold ounces of Wee Heavy he had tossed back left a metallic taste that could not be swept away. He took a swig of mouthwash, but the artificial mint punched his gag reflex, causing his stomach to lurch.
The flavor seemed ten times worse than when he first woke up, and now he could think of only one solution. He shuffled out of the bathroom and into the kitchen. He balanced himself against the counter and pulled a knife out of a bamboo block. The blade was dull, so he quickly sharpened its edge against a whetstone.
He pushed his tongue through his dry lips and raised the knife.
The downward force cut easily through the stale loaf of bread.
He thought it would take him days just to get through a single slice, but he hoped it would absorb the flavor and calm his stomach.
He bit off a small piece, chewed once, and stopped.
Two minutes later, he was drifting back to sleep, his head resting on cool porcelain.