#5 The Ramifications of Might and Maybe

by Ian Hilgendorf

Nothing tastes as good as the last drink. The heady, spinning splendor, thumping baseline heartbeat. People mull, congested around an elevated beer pong table, PBR’s passed around, the university equivalent of scripture heralded down generations. With your dorm key, you punch a hole in the beer can, pop the tab, chug. The beer’s gone. Only you remain. Your spinning, gyroscopic world, and the distant thought that a girl from your floor is passed out with her face against a speaker. Everything is sardine can tight. You can’t feel your legs. Briefly, you contemplate what it would do for you if you stalked across the room, helped her to the bathroom, maybe held her hair while she got sick on your shoes. Maybe she’d reward you with a kiss? More? Would it be love?

Another can of beer, the crowd chanting “Shot-gun Shot-gun Shot-gun” and you stab the PBR, pop the top. Three chugs and you’re Crocodile Done Dee. Everyone goes crazy. They pound their fists on the beer pong table, slap their own faces with joy.

That’s her name.

Joy.

You look back. She’s no longer oblivion or capsized ruin. Perhaps someone helped her to safety. You feel the beer can leave your hands, hear it clatter along the floor, and wonder if maybe you just missed the greatest opportunity of your entire life. But they are chanting again, waiting, and you have no time to consider the ramifications of what you might have just done.

7 comments:

JRVogt said...

Great capture of regret mixed with a classic college scene.

Sam Knight said...

I like the reference to the numb legs and no time for regret. Nice job capturing the way those moments fly by so quickly.

Aerin said...

The immediacy of this piece, captured almost in slow motion - a story with narrative flow - love this.

Shona Snowden said...

Nice. Great tone and atmosphere. Love the open ending.

Daren Despot said...

excellent pacing, capturing a fleeting moment in slow motion, with hindsight coming right after. the subject matter also has universal appeal as we all have had our regrets.

Tricia S. said...

I like the voice here, it sounds authentic. The 2nd person point of view pulled me in, well done!

Rachael Dunlop said...

Really effective rendering of atmosphere and being drunk. The moment of regret is nicely handled too. I did have an 'Eew' moment when he wondered if he would get a kiss after she threw up which sort of pulled me out of the story!