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Own Worst Enemy

A messed-up mind

By Dominic Casey-LeePublished 5 months ago 5 min read
Own Worst Enemy
Photo by Callum Skelton on Unsplash

“Do you think I’m fucked in the head?”

“Yeah bro, for sure,” I reply immediately, shutting the sliding door behind me. “But we all are a little bit, aren’t we?”

Just as I descend the last of the three wooden steps from the back door, I hear scratching. Odie is still inside, staring at the bottom corner of the door. I roll my eyes and open it again. “I know you can open it yourself, you little scamp, but you never close it behind you.”

The little dachshund trots off into the yard, hopefully to pee outside for once. “But do you think I’m particularly bad?”

I set the beers on the wooden tabletop and sit down in the sturdy timber chair. “Look bro,” I sigh, thinking about how to respond. I wedge a lighter between my thumb and the bottle cap and pop the beverage open, handing it to my friend. “My opinion is that you’re only as fucked up as you think you are.” I open my beer in a similar fashion. “And at the moment that appears to be pretty severe. But it’s not permanent. I’m no psychiatrist, but by my reckoning you’ve got nothing beyond severe and chronic anxiety. Could that be labelled as ‘fucked in the head’? Yeah, if you want to. But I don’t think that’s a helpful way to look at it.”

“So you don’t think I have an intellectual disability?”

“No, dude. I do not.” I sip my beer, wrinkling my nose a little at the taste. Bintang is not a winner in my eyes, but beggars can’t be choosers. “But then again, if you haven’t been tested for it, who’s to say for sure?” I nudge him, attempting to lighten the mood.

“Should I take an IQ test?”

Attempt failed.

“If you want. I’ve never done one myself, but it could be fun. I’m one hundred percent certain you’d fall in the normal range, if not above it. You’re actually a pretty smart guy, no matter what you believe. Not that IQ tests are the be-all and end-all of intelligence metrics. No metrics can adequately summarise the complexity of the human mind, my friend. You just need to stop fretting over your intelligence so much.”

The irony and futility of telling someone with severe anxiety not to fret strikes me. But what else can you say? Odie breaks the tension by dropping his rope in Alfie’s lap. “Ahh you’ve found it hey?” Alfie picks up the dishevelled cord and throws it into the yard.

“You’ve done it now. He’s not going to stop with that all night.”

“Ah well, at least someone’s happy,” Alfie says, taking a swig from his bottle. “And I’ll be happy after a few more of these.”

“Will you though?” I think back to previous sessions with the man. I wouldn’t exactly call him a jolly drunk. And Christ can he drink. “And how many is it going to take?”

“I don’t know, like, twelve more.”

“There’s a six-pack left in the fridge.”

“Well then, we should go and get more.” Odie drops the rope in his lap again. Alfie throws it once more.

“Hmm, I don’t think so.” I kind of want more myself, but I don’t want to be an enabler. I do have a bottle of wine and a bottle of rum in the kitchen, but getting Alfie on the spirits is a recipe for disaster.

“Come on man, when’s the last time we got hammered together?”

I think for a second. “About a year ago.”

“Wasn’t that fun?”

I remember waiting at the train station after the concert, with Alfie yelling at strangers and me and my friend apologising to them while Paola, the girl I was with, tried to ignore him. He then missed the train, which was the last one back into the city, and had to call an expensive Uber to get home. Paola and I got off in the Valley, had a kebab and then went back to hers. So yeah, it was kinda fun for me. For him though? Not so sure…

“Was it?” I ask with a raised eyebrow.

“I don’t know man, I don’t remember.”

We both crack up at that. After the laughter subsides, we swig our beers and stare out into the night. A whining sort of growl ruins the serenity. Odie has dropped his rope at Alfie’s feet again.

“Damn it dog, I can’t reach that,” Alfie says, leaning forward and trying to snag the rope, his bulk not letting him squeeze his shoulder through the gap between armrest and tabletop to reach the rope. Odie sees his struggle and brings the rope closer. Alfie pinches a strand between forefinger and thumb, straightening up with a groan and tossing the toy away. It lands behind the outdoor lounge, which Odie leaps onto in pursuit, rudely awakening Mitzi, his sister, in the process. She gets up off the lounge and comes over to Alfie, resting her front paws between his legs. He pats her on the head.

“You’re a nice little dog. Why can’t you be more like her, Odie?” he asks.

“Don’t worry, she’s plenty annoying too. If she gets onto your chair she’ll lick your face raw.”

She promptly tries to leap into his lap but fails to get purchase on his thigh and slips back down between his legs. Odie is still trying to retrieve his rope from behind the couch. Alfie keeps ruffling the fur on Mitzi’s neck. “I’m worried about my memory, man.”

“Jesus, dude. The mood is never light with you, is it?”

“Sorry. I’m sorry. I’ll try and talk about happy stuff.”

I sigh inwardly. “No, I’m sorry man. It’s a safe space with me. You’re my mate and I know you’re doing it tough. Talk about anything you want with me. But booze is not doing your memory or your mind any favours, so we’re not going to get more.”

“Yeah, I know. I just feel so much better when I drink.”

“I know man, trust me, I know. All your problems disappear, but they only come back worse, and you can’t run forever.”

He drains his bottle and sets it back on the table, then pushes his chair out to get up. “Can I have one more?”

I chuckle, downing mine. “Of course, dude. Baby steps. Grab me one while you’re there.”

friendship

About the Creator

Dominic Casey-Lee

Ecclectic, erotic, enigmatic. Exploring the mysteries of our existence through words, and hopefully providing some entertainment along the way.

Here you'll find excerpts from my fantasy project, stories, poems and general rambling.

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Comments (1)

  • Ha Le Sa5 months ago

    Very Well written!

Dominic Casey-LeeWritten by Dominic Casey-Lee

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