17 – Duke Dasher Succumbs to Alcoholism

Washington D.C.,
Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery,
United States

Dasher waited until the firing had stopped and listened for a reload. When he heard the clips drop, he immediately sprung up and did a front flip, seeking cover behind the bar now. Dasher quickly formulated a plan in his head he thought might just be crazy enough to work. The three men reloaded their clips. Knowing that Dasher was desperate, they began slowly walking forward, ready to pin him down at the bar and riddle him with an entire clip worth of bullets for all the trouble he had caused them. Dasher’s plan was going against something he had sworn to never do his whole life. Something he was risking eternal damnation for, but if he played it right and did enough penance, maybe he would be forgiven somehow. Sometimes you have to do the wrong things for the right reasons. 

He reached over the bar and grabbed a bottle of Bacardi 151, a staple in every cocktail at Tilted Kilt, and took a large pull. The liquid in the bottle bubbled majestically and as he gulped, the bubbles within ascended towards heaven. Salvation can be found in the most unlikely places thought Dasher. He retrieved the book of matches he had gotten from the Goat Knuckle Inn, the only souvenir outside of priceless religious artifacts he indulged in on any trip he took, and arose from behind the bullet-ridden bar. Dasher lit a match and blew the Bacardi as hard as he could and watched as the flame ball engulfed the three men hunting him. He jumped over the bar and kicked the knees of one of the guards the opposite way, shattering his patellar before landing an uppercut that destroyed every tooth in his mouth. The teeth sprayed all over the floor; they almost appeared to be liquid given how badly they were obliterated. Using the guard’s burning body as a springboard, Dasher leapt to the second guard; where he cut one of his legs clean off with the machete. He then quickly stomped the man’s face into oblivion. The sensation of wet sand came to Dasher’s mind as he doled out the final blows. He submerged his boot into the muck one last time and shook the facial remains from the treads of his shoe as though he had stepped in dog shit. The third man was still on fire, running around the bar desperately seeking relief for his burning flesh. Dasher whipped the machete at him. It landed directly on the side of the guard’s face and put the poor bastard out of his misery – another of Dasher’s good deeds. He looked up towards the sky and nodded to the Lord, grateful for his assumed approval.   

Dasher walked into the depths of the restaurant where he knew Vladimir Popov sat. As he walked back, he began to feel dizzy. He staggered slightly and his vision was blurring. He leaned up against the bar, not sure what was happening. Had he been shot? He checked his body the best he could and didn’t feel any bullet wounds. He then remembered the Bacardi 151 he had used to burn the guards only moments before. How could he have forgotten that loathsome nectar molesting his tongue? Even though he desperately tried not to swallow any of the poison, a few drops must have accidentally been ingested and tarnished his pure body and mind. Was this what being drunk felt like? He wondered and then screamed out in pain. His mind descended into the depths of his subconscious, which housed decades of unaddressed anxieties and fears. He fixated on the singular thought that God would not forgive him for a sin this grave. He looked at the death and destruction inhabiting every inch in the piece of shit restaurant, but then returned his gaze to the bottle of Bacardi…drinking liquor was strictly forbidden under any circumstance. In the middle of his self-reflection, he heard a door creak. Vladimir Popov walked out of his office and began approaching Dasher, who appeared to be in the midst of a full mental breakdown. Popov tripped and stumbled, then rolled into a summersault, mimicking the scene in which Willy Wonka introduces himself to the world from the 1971 version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

“Now you know what it feels like Dasher,” Popov said as he took another pull from the bottle in his hand. Miraculously, he hadn’t spilled a drop during his elaborate entrance.

“You know what it feels like to be drunk and a sinner Dasher, but what does it matter? There is no afterlife you piece of shit coward,” yelled Popov, kicking Dasher in the stomach and causing him to collapse onto the ground. Popov laid another flurry of kicks into Dasher, who remained helplessly drunk on the poorly installed shag carpeting of the restaurant. 

“You thought you could beat me Dasher! All of your efforts got you here, now look at you!” said Popov, stalking around his body like a lion.

“Your country will be mine Dasher and there is nothing you can do about it. Your President is on his way here to pledge his allegiance to me. Once that happens, I’ll flip the kill switch on the clones and we will perform the greatest military coup in the history of the world,” Popov continued,  spitting a mouthful of vodka on Dasher. He walked behind the bar to pour himself another drink, unconcerned with Dasher in his feeble state.

“Your God doesn’t care about you or country Duke. You need to admit that before I kill you and you enter complete and utter blackness,” laughed Popov. “Where is your guardian angel now?” 

Dasher laid on the ground, wondering if this was it. He didn’t believe a word Popov  said about the afterlife, but maybe God’s plan for him was, in fact, dying on the floor of a fast-casual restaurant at the hands of a drunken lunatic. The clear rum he accidentally consumed muddied Dasher’s mind, but he desperately searched for a way out of the situation. Popov had to be stopped by whatever means necessary. He dug deep as the room began to spin. Could one pray themselves sober? It seemed unlikely, but then again, if prayer worked for virtually everything else, could it also work for sobriety? Dasher closed his eyes and began praying harder than he ever had in his life. 

Popov walked over to the unusual scene and paused to consider the strangeness of the situation. He could not figure out what Dasher was doing, but the stillness of his body almost made him appear dead. Popov could see his chest moving up and down, an indication that he was still breathing, but otherwise, his eyes were closed as though he were deep in sleep. 

Popov punched him in the face several times, but the body remained totally still. In his head, Dasher was walking on cotton candy clouds, approaching an enormous, extremely jacked, tanned and bearded old man. Thoroughly oiled up and bronzed, but still unmistakably Caucasian, God was exactly how Dasher had imagined him. Dasher was particularly relieved to discover it was confirmed, a him. Just like he had always believed. He would shove this revelation in Stacy’s face the first chance he got. The clouds underneath his feat swirled and elevated him towards the enormous face of the only man Dasher had ever looked up to. Was Dasher to be admitted into heaven here and now? Would he ever return to his earthly form? The beauty was so immense that a part of Dasher hoped this was it for him. He strongly wanted to spend the rest of eternity sliding down the enormous oiled muscles of this omnipotent being. Dasher’s hallucinations, caused by only several drops of alcohol, were so vivid that he believed he was about to interact with the all-holy deity he had looked forward to meeting his entire life.  

Duke, you know I could send you to hell for what you’ve done here,” said the giant man sitting in the chair, looking down at the burned and bloody corpses littered throughout the restaurant. 

“I know. I shouldn’t have taken that drink, but I had to…to save the country from a Communist takeover,” Dasher replied frantically, trying to explain the altered state he was in. 

“I realize that Duke…and because it was for America, I want you to go back. When you awake, you will be fully sober. I trust you’ll know what to do,” said the man in the giant golden throne. Dasher nodded. He bowed his head and replied, “One way or another, we’ll make believers out of everyone.” 

Popov had a pistol lined up and pointed it at Dasher’s forehead. “I’m done with shenanigans Dasher. The President will be here any minute and you can’t be here.” 

Just as he was about to pull the trigger, Dasher’s eyes exploded open. His head instantly shot up and landed squarely on Popov’s nose. Popov fell backward; a spray of blood covered the top of the bar. The shock of the blow made him lose a grip on his pistol, which flew into the air. Dasher stood up and cracked his neck once more. Popov rose from the floor, wiping the blood from his nose.

“You didn’t think it would be that easy, did you Dasher?” said Popov as he formed a fighting stance.

The two charged at each other and began trading blows – leg kicks, punches, headbutts, attacks, counter-attacks. The tornado of limbs was impressive, as both men tried every technique they could think of to best the other. Popov’s drunken nature made him completely unpredictable; Dasher was unaccustomed to fighting someone this intoxicated. For every punch landed, there was another absorbed. They tangled and wrestled throughout the bar, breaking bottles on each other’s heads and attempting to strangle each other with varying chotskies they found in the restaurant. Dasher picked up a Stonehenge snow globe and bludgeoned Popov’s head with it, but he was too drunk to notice or care. He persisted on, taking a chunk of Dasher’s ear with his teeth and spitting it into the air. Dasher sprung up and the two staggered around each other in a circle like wounded animals. Popov approached Dasher for another round of fighting and just as he did, Dasher blew a mouthful of vodka he had been holding in his mouth during the brawl into Popov’s eyes. Popov chuckled. 

“Do you think that’s the first time I’ve had vodka blown into my eyes you fool?” said Popov, not blinking his eyes once. He grabbed a bottle from the bar and used a bottle of Smirnoff Blueberry like Visine, dripping the vodka directly into his eyes. He blinked them open and grinned at Dasher.

“You didn’t think that was just vodka, did you?” said Dasher wiping blood away from his nose. 

Popov now blinked several times, his vision blurring more than normal when he was three sheets to the wind.

The blackness was closing in rapidly. He rubbed his eyes furiously.

“What was that liquid Dasher?” asked Popov, beside himself at the shock of losing his vision. His eyes were burning out of his skull. They eventually liquidated and poured onto the floor like a buy-one-get-one vodka mudslide on Tuesdays from 3-5 a.m. 

“You actually thought I would let that superweapon you created go completely to waste?” said Dasher.

“After I blasted your friend Addison Beach’s head off with a shotgun, I extracted some of that sweet poison you worked so hard to create,” Dasher continued to Popov’s dismay. “I’ve been hiding it in a capsule under this tooth, and fortunately for me, my friend Mikel Serone gave me the antidote.”  Dasher popped the tooth out of his mouth, hurled it across the bar, and took a drink from another bottle with the words antidote written in child-like lettering.

Much like Popov had tried to turn Dasher’s God against him, Dasher had now used his perfect weapon against him. Dasher walked up to Popov, who was now swinging around blindly, and lopped off both of his arms effortlessly. Popov was now on his knees; Admitting defeat, he asked for one final sip of vodka. Dasher obliged, slowly walking to the bar and grabbing Popov’s preferred vodka, Smirnoff Raspberry, or as Popov adoringly referred to it, Smirnoff Raz. He jammed it into his mouth and Popov slowly drowned in the thing he loved so dearly.

“I’m not as think as you drunk I am,” said Dasher as he let the body fall to the floor. He considered how great the phrase would look on a LiveStrong type rubber band bracelet. He then glanced up at the surveillance screen to see the presidential limo pulling into the parking lot of the Tilted Kilt; he had to make quick work if his plan was going to end successfully.

Absurdist exploration into our agreeable descent to madness.

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