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She's sitting by herself in a booth in the back of the bar. I know what she's doing because it's the same thing I'm doing; going to a public place to drink and absorb the vapors of other people's social interaction while remaining safely insulated from any real connection: first by will, and then by intoxication. She's one of me, I'm one of her. She's beautiful. But I can't talk to her.
Conversation means letting words in and out, and sooner than expected one of those words will sneak through the customs agency of my mind and it will contain little black beetles of emotion, and those beetles will find their way into my brain, heart, stomach and they will eat me alive from the inside long after the conversation has faded from memory.
I know this because I'm still drinking high test to burn out the last three or four infestations. It's hard as hell to get rid of them and they burn when they come out as tears, vomit, diarrhea, blood. I'm pretty sure they never really go away for good, because I can tell the guy down the bar has them worse and he's at least twice my age.
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