Die Writing

A breath of whiskey

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on November 9, 2015


This piece is largely brought to you by listening to Aldous Harding on repeat. Also, this is part of an exercise for me, in which I will rewrite this piece in different styles and genres. If you’d like to contribute, make a suggestion in the comments.


“There’s just a breath of whiskey left in that bottle. Finish it off,” said Alex.

Jen hooked the bottle with her boot, scooted it within reach, then grabbed it off the coffee table. They both had their feet up on it, sitting on opposite sides. Alex was sinking into a broken old couch. Jen leaning dangerously far in a bentwood chair.

“You weren’t kidding,” she said, looking at Alex through the curved glass. Green and smudged Alex pulled out a cigarette, tapped it against his knee, and looked anxiously toward the door. The room was hot with people, beer, and pizza boxes. It sure would have been nice to sneak outside for a minute.

“I really could have gone for a couple breaths.” She muttered, uncorked and swished the bottle. The stuff was smoky and sweet and Jen knocked it back. It stung a bit and she smiled. Alex smiled, too.

“You ready to go then? I think people are gonna start coming back in.”

“Sure,” she said and flicked a pick between her fingers.

“You need a tuneup?”

“I’d love a tuneup, but you already drank it all,” she waived the empty bottle at Alex. They both grinned.

“I barely touched the stuff.” He leaned forward, trying to extract himself from the couch. Sam was making his way toward them, bumping people’s knees and shoulders. This meant they’d be up in a minute. “Not that I didn’t want to – you try keeping it away from the rest of these savages.” The guy sitting next to Alex half-cocked his head in hazy alarm. Alex grabbed Sam’s hand and escaped.

Sam raised his arms and boomed for the room to shut the fuck up. Everyone got a polite notch quieter, and began re-arranging themselves to give Jen and Alex some space at one end of the room. While Sam was introducing them, Alex grabbed a can of beer, climbed a couple steps, and leaned against a wall. The can was cold, which was nice, and it was reassuring to hold on to something. It gave his hands something to do.

Jen dragged her chair to the bottom of the stairs, took the guitar out of the case and started polishing the chrome with a handkerchief, pick in her teeth. Her jeans were ripped and ragged, there were oil stains on her shirt and hands – but that guitar was spit-clean. She didn’t look up at all while Sam talked. She tucked the handkerchief into her back pocket and absentmindedly fingered a small tin cross through the fabric of her shirt.

Alex wished he had an instrument. But he was rubbish on a guitar, and she was a crackshot with it. And singing made him feel wonderfully alone, so maybe this was alright. Sam wrapped up, there was a smattering of applause, and the room fell more or less quiet. Alex looked at Jen, and she looked at him.

“Alright asshole,” she said, and began to count off by tapping her thumb on the guitar.

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  1. […] have kindly and enthusiastically submitted suggests for rewrite formats for the original “A breath of whiskey” piece. The first, written in rough blank verse, is […]

  2. […] the re-write exercise, this time with a haiku and a space rock opera. The latter was largely inspired by listening to […]

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