My name is Sonny.

I'm holed up in this smelly room waiting for my divorce papers to come, ready for my signature. The hotel is run by a guy named Chester who seems to think taking a bath right before christmas is the equivalent of hygiene. He smells vile on those rare occasions his reception isn't shrouded in a cloud of clove cigarette smoke. That's what he claims, words wheezing through his false teeth. Clove cigarettes.

I don't believe him.

His name tag says "CHESTE", he almost never speaks to anyone except the guy who comes around every other day. The two of them sit together and speak muffled joyless talk and smoke, hours on end. My guess is they are hatching some kind of plan.

I don't like them.

At nights when I come back from work at the corporate building where I am a security guard, Chester sits behind the counter reading glossy girly magazines. He must really like them because he never looks up to greet me. In wide-eyed deep concentration he flips the pages over very very slowly while his nose makes a whistling noise.

Sometimes I sit on the bed, hours passing while nothing happens in my blanked mind. There's so many thoughts in my head fighting for recognition that they have started to fight each other. I listen to them crowding in my forehead and I can't cut them off. Usually I black out after a couple of hours like this, waking next to my shoes under the bed. Those are my blackout nights, happening a couple of times a week.

I think I'm going insane.

I'm 46 and have been in this place since my suitcase stood in the driveway in front of the house where all the locks had been changed. Yesterday was my birthday.




Sonny wakes up in the morning feeling kinda sick
Needs a little Stoli Vodka, needs it really quick
Sees a little blood run from his eyes
Feels a little hotel paralyzed




Two days ago Richard called me on my mobile phone. Richard was a colleague of mine in the 1980's when champagne and cocaine were two of the primary food groups in our little posse of wheelers and dealers. Other people's money bought us pastel Italian suits and snorting sessions in private lounges all over the city. We were much closer to the top of the rat pyramid back then, with longer, slimier tails and bigger fangs, but still rats.

The world eventually found us out and we split up to pursue careers among the people we had spent years swindling out of life's savings and the odd education fund. We got together now and then after to talk about old times, but without the artificial common ground of a roller coaster life in expensive urban watering holes, we had become more like neighbours than the close friends we thought we once had been.

Richard called me to announce his presence at my 46th birthday. We had made a deal in 1985 over a magnum bottle of pink champagne, that we would be there for each other when we turned 46. I couldn't remember any of it, but Richard could.

He wasn't aware of my situation, but he veiled his gloat with an offer to "come to that place so we can raise some good old hell", albeit somewhat thinly. He was always envious of my marriage and the house I wrapped around my secrets because he had no place to hide his.

Richard brought a hooker with him, not for himself but for me as a birthday present. The bag from the liquor store two blocks down the street hid cheap champagne and a bottle of vodka behind its rustling indigo plastic.




Pass the gun around
Give everyone a shot... give everyone a shot
you gotta
Pass the gun around
And throw me in the local river, let me float away




So we sat on the squeaky hotel bed, Richard, Rita and me, drinking champagne from styrofoam cups while Dave Brubeck played at the Berlin Philharmonie on my old tape recorder. It was the only tape my ex had bothered to throw in the suitcase that was my inanimate but trusty entourage for weeks.

Sex and drugs and rock'n roll.

The whole thing became hazily pleasant and resemblant of days gone by, up until the door flung open in the middle of Basin Street Blues. In through the out door came Rita's pimp, obviously worried about her night job productivity and what the hell was taking so long. In his right hand he held a revolver which he pointed in our general direction while slowly cocking it.



K ... L ... ick.





Rita screamed.





"Shouldn't you be WORKING? FUCK! Are you DRUNK bitch?"



The stoned pimp demanded in a comical falsetto we pay Rita for her services rendered, but Richard in his usual manner hadn't considered for a second that doing business with a hooker demanded some sort of monetary transaction in the aftermath. In short, Richard didn't have enough and I didn't have enough. Two guys who used to light Cuban cigars with crisp bills now couldn't scrounge for a hooker we had not even touched. We had, however, made passionate love to both the vodka and the champagne for a good while, rendering us as slurry as the figure poised in front of us in wobbly cowboy boots.



"We only had a couple of drinks, mister!"



In a sluggish movement the pimp directed the revolver at me, giving Richard and Rita the hooker the opportunity to flee the room through the still open door. Before the scrawny, swaying figure could do anything about them, me and him were left alone in room 106 in Chester's hotel with debt to settle. I owed him, it seemed.



"SHUT UP! Time is money, pervo! Now pay up!"





"But...she came together with my friend. I had no part in it, I swear."



What a dumb thing to say. Not only had I made him look stupid with the remark, he would also very possibly have to return to higher up in the food chain with unnaccounted hooker time. To actually get any money he would've had to chase after Richard, but he seemed hell bent on broke me instead. His retribution would be my reward for screwing his hooker uptime sideways, no doubt about that.

He looked sick and nauseous, unshaved, bloodshot half closed eyes, foodstains on his yellow shirt, a hideous scar running from the bottom of his chin to his lower lip and as strung out as I was smashed.




I wake up watching cartoons
the television's on
There's a couple of party balloons and all my money's gone
She was just a reason to unwind
And actually the last thing I could find




He was screaming incomprehensibly now while gesticulating his gun and shifting his eyes about. Everything appeared to be as uncomfortable to him as it was to me. Two disheveled figures in a run-down hotel room on my 46th birthday, short on money and time.




This was my cue. I slid my hand under the pillow where I kept my loaded safety guard .38 and clenched it there. The pimp was still pouring obscenities on me in his annoying falsetto, pointing the gun towards the floor, the opaque window, then towards the cracked ceiling. Luckily he was - like some people are - talking with his arms, unfocused on what he was trying to accomplish.

I didn't like him.




Why don't you, pass the gun around
Give everyone a shot... give everyone a shot
you better
Pass the gun around
And dump me in the local river, let me float away
float away, ah float away




I said nothing at all. In a slow motion gesture I swung the .38 out from under the pillow and fired in his general direction. It was the first time I had fired the gun, and the surprise recoil almost tore the weapon out of my limp hands. The pimp got a pleading look on his face and a curly plume of smoke emerged from the barrel of his gun.

I couldn't figure out why.

The burning sting in my forehead, the sticky blood in my eyes and the body slumping over me was the last sensations before everything went black .




Pass the gun around
Give everyone a shot... give everyone a shot
why don't you
Pass the gun around
Throw me in the local river, let me float away


Sonny wakes up in the morning, there's a stranger in his bed
Someone's pounding on the hotel door, he wishes he was dead
"I've had so many blackout nights before,
I don't think I can take this anymore"


Why don't you, pass the gun around
Give everyone a shot... give everyone a shot
why don't you
Pass the gun around




My name is Sonny and yesterday was my 46th birthday.







The lyrics are from "Pass the Gun Around", the final song on Alice Cooper 's 1983 album Da Da. "Pass The Gun Around" was written by Alice Cooper and Dick Wagner. I don't know what backstory they had, but this is mine. CST Approved
This is fiction. If the profanities and graphic portrayal of violence annoys you, you need to get out more.

This writeup was originally posted May 10, 2003, but I gave it to Klaproth because it sucked. I'm reposting a rewritten text in the hope that it will make your day a wee bit sunnier and shiny, and perhaps provide some entertainment.

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