I roll over, and conclude that I must have died at some point during the night. Only a corpse could feel this bad, with the possible exception of a corpse with a sinus infection. The light from the clock hurts my eyes, and it isn’t even plugged in. Coughing, I sit up, and attempt to reconcile my fragmented memory from the previous night, which usually reveals some cause of embarrassment, such as vomiting in a taxi or singing too loudly to songs I don’t even really like. There doesn’t seem to be any such incident standing out in my memory, but the feeling lingers on, refusing to die amongst the unprocessed alcohol and damaged brain cells. Walking into the kitchen, I see my notebook sitting upon the kitchen table, a worn ballpoint pen lying by its side. Did I actually manage, miraculous as it may seem, to come up with some useful material, despite being pickled to the point of being able to be sold as an actual pickle? God bless my drunk self – always thinking ahead, and willing to leave a present for its distant sober relative. Opening the notebook, I eagerly await the insight my inebriation provided. Perhaps this was the catalyst I had been searching for, and it had been found at the bottom of pint glass. Clever hiding place, I must say, although why I hadn’t discovered it before is slightly mystifying. Greeting me on the first page was a crude drawing of a dessert in a military helmet, with a caption reading ‘I am General Crumble!’. Not quite what I had expected, but hopefully I had made my startling breakthrough on the opposite page. Flipping the page, I see that someone had drawn a penis – a rather large penis, actually. Continuing to flip the pages, I grow increasingly frustrated as I realise that my drunken self is incapable of dispensing any insight at all; rather, my notebook displays the consternation of someone deciding on more how many veins to draw on a penis, and the militarisation of common deserts. I stop at the last page, where I see I have written a single line, slanting downward across the page, akin to a drunken snake. It reads, simply, this: ‘It isn’t here’. Amen to that.
I place the notebook back upon the table, and trudge wearily to the bathroom, where I hope that a shower will transport me back to the realm of the living. My drunken self had indeed managed to strike upon one undeniable truth, which was made ever-clearer by my discovery of it the preceding morning. It isn’t amongst dark clubs and drunken women that I will find my placation, or the inspiration to achieve the heights I believe I should rightfully attain, nor is it submerged at the bleary-eyed emptiness found at the bottom of every drink. It is somewhere far away, untouched by the hollow realities of a youth culture that is slowly devouring itself, and assuredly it is silently watching, waiting with everlasting patience, as I fumble in my desperate attempts to attain it. The steam rises from the shower, and I enter slowly, pondering how I could have got it so wrong.