...is the only possible sound I can force out of my throbbing, sweat-drenched body. My head pounds in beat with each passing second. I'm sweating, but I'm freezing cold. I can't tell if I'm shivering, or convulsing.
I think I'm dying.
Scratch that. I know that I'm dying. This HAS to be what death feels like. My body is contorted throughout my bed. A mangled mesh of limbs and sheets spread over-top a twin matress.
It takes what seems like a month for my tongue to wrap around the dehydrated cave that is my mouth, trying to gather enough moisture to make speaking again a possibility. This task is like finding an oasis in the dessert. I finally find enough saliva...and courage...to utter a single word. I choose this word very, very carefully, for this word must both: alert anyone who is within listening distance to my whereabouts...and also indicate the severity of the pain that I am currently feeling. I choose this word very, very carefully.
Just then, a shadowy figure steps into the doorway. He stands for a moment, takes a long, deep breath...and tosses something high into th air...in my direction.
The object seems to soar toward me forever. My muscles are still not functioning, so I have no choice but to let the object land wherever it may. It flys as close to me as it can before I come to the very quick conclusion that this...is going...to hurt.
The object, now discovered to be a full bottle of water, lands directly on my forehead. I make the only verbal indicator of my newly aquired pain:
My body still in agony, I force myself to move. I grasp the bottle of water and quench my thirst.
Bryan takes a step into the room and without missing a beat, begins to speak.
Bryan: Happy Birthday. It smells like dead hooker in here.
Me: Possible that there's one in here.
Bryan: You look like ****.
Me: I feel great.
Bryan: Now I see why you went all these years without drinking. You just wanted to wait until you were legal...to alchoholically kill youself.
I finally gather enough strength to pull my body into a sitting position.
Me: I don't think "Alcoholically" is a word.
Bryan: "Stupid" is a word.
Me: Yes it is.
Bryan: You're stupid.
Me: Yes, I am.
I finish the bottle of water and for the first time in what seems like ages, I take a long, deep breath.
I cough. A lot.
And immediately vomit next to my bed.
On my theology textbook.
Bryan: Well, that was pretty.
Me: I do what I can. So...hmmm...how exactly do I phrase this?
Bryan: I believe the question you would like to pose is: What the hell happened last night?"
Me: Ah, yes. Ahem...What the HELL happened last night?
Bryan: I answer your question with a question: How long have we known each other?
Me: As of today...21 years.
Bryan: So after aprox. 21 years of friendship, trust, good times, bad times, thick, thin...and in your case...sobriety...you decided NOT to take my advice nor heed my many warnings on your 21st birthday as I clearly AND with all good intention told you to: "TAKE IT EASY".
Me: I'm stupid?
Bryan: Quite. Never even taking a sip of alcohol for near 21 years.....then transforming into Drinkenstein on your 21st B-day...stupid.
Me: So do I get details or am I going to have to guess about all the idiotic things I did last night...because I don't remember.....anything.
*Now that's not entirely accurate. I DO remember taking my first 3 shots and having a few beers. But after that, I don't remember....anything.
Bryan: Sober up, wash all the stupid of you, find your dignity, put on your "Big Boy Pants" and then meet me in the living room. Re-living last night's entertaining and horrific events is going to take a while.
Bryan flings another bottle of water my way. I go to catch it mid-ar, miss, and it hits me smack dab in the forehead.
Bryan: Welcome to 21.