Master of the Drunken Fist: Chapter 1

As promised, here’s chapter 1 of my very first NaNoWriMo winning novel. It’s raw. It needs work. It’s not been edited, so keep that in mind.

Finishing this novel during NaNoWriMo is what convinced me I could become a writer. It was only after this that I looked at writing as a viable expression of the interesting thoughts I had. In short, without this, I may never have strived to better my skills and put myself out there as a writer.

I’d love to hear your comments as the month moves along and the story progresses. I think there’s some cool things about this story and I might revisit it and do a proper release.

Please feel free to leave any and all thoughts, I’m curious to know what you think.

Now be warned, there is excessive cussing and drinking in this story. If that’s not for you, I totally understand. I want you to know that ahead of time.

Here we go, Master of the Drunken Fist.

Chapter 1

Glass shattered as Mike stumbled backwards. The small glass holding the moonshine destroyed the mirror behind the bar. Smoke filled the bar while some old country-rock music blared from the juke box. The bar was dingy and it’s walls were made of old barn board with a greyish tint to them. Neon beer signs were the main source of illumination in the place. The ten or so people still left in the bar stopped talking and just stared at him. Mike didn’t seem to care that all those eyes were on him. He was pissed. Noelle decided he needed to leave now. He wasn’t done, not by a long shot, and yet here she was ready to take him home.

“Mike, I’m done with this shit,” she scowled at him. “We need to go…now. Look what you’ve done to the wall!”

Mike stumbled a bit, wavering as he turned toward the shattered remnants of the mirror on the other side of the bar. Gene, the grey bearded owner of the bar looked as though he were about to lose his calmness and crush Mike. If it weren’t for Noelle, he most likely would have. No one messed with Gene or his bar and anyone that was a regular knew it. He might have been small, but he was fearless with just the right amount of crazy to make a person think twice before ticking him off.

Mike was a regular there too. He liked to come down after work almost every night and drink himself stupid. Usually he’d come with his good friend Ryan, a man who knew how to drink and tonight was no exception. It was also a special night because Gene had his own special brew. He served an old family moonshine recipe which he cooked up from time to time, always in mason jars with a grapefruit or orange inside to take the edge off. It still burned like hell, but it gave a heavy kick right away. Mike liked that. He didn’t have to drink as much, which meant less money out of his pocket, and it kicked his ass almost every time.

“Well, dammitt Noe…I’m not ready to go, my friends want me to stay,” he muttered, barely intelligible. She hated when he was like this. “Ain’t that right ‘ol Gene?”

“You keep up like this and I’ll break every bone in your body ya damn drunk,” he growled back, in his old Kentucky accent. “I ain’t gonna put up with your shit any longer Mikey. Why don’t ya go with your ol lady and sober up. I’ll be expecting you to pay for this mess.”

Mike looked puzzled, then smiled back at Gene. “Is that so? Whatever ya say man, we’re cool.”

Ryan didn’t say a word. He tended to stay out of these arguments when Noe was involved. Noelle was starting to shiver out of anger and disappointment. Mike had done this so many times before. He would drink and drink and drink until he couldn’t stand. Most often he wasn’t violent, though there were times like tonight that he would fly off the handle and lose himself. She reflexively rubbed her right temple, feeling the scar he left there a few years back. She knew it wasn’t the real him then, just the alcohol that caused that cut. He went straight for a while back then, maybe six months or so, but then he got a taste of some beer and began drinking again.

Gene’s Last Stand was his favorite hole to drink at. It was about 8 miles outside of the small town of Brownsville where they lived. Mostly a farming and good ol boy community out there where Mike felt comfortable. Noelle never understood why too. Mike was not from the country, but he seemed to enjoy the company of the folks there. She knew that when he didn’t answer his phone, she could find him there, drunk. This night was no exception. Had she known it was moonshine night, she might have tried to do something to stop him from leaving. He tended to be at his worst those nights. That stuff worked him over good. He almost always never made it in to work the next day, but somehow was able to keep his job. She hoped that maybe he would lose his job so he could see the extent of his destruction. So far, no luck.

“Mike, I said let’s go!” she was almost shouting. The place was quiet, though he seemed to not hear a word she said.

“Yeah bud, you best get out before ya cause any more trouble. I like ya, but not like this, not now,” Gene snarled. Gene was a wiry, wiley man but mostly seemed to be all heart. He always had a smile, well almost always. Not tonight anyway. He scowled as he looked back at the mess and over at Mike. “Damn best get ya self out kid. Now.” With that, he went to the back to get a broom and dust pan to clean up the mess. The Bantum twins, Carl and Keith, started to approach Mike to help him out. They were always there and were the unofficial bouncers for the dive.

“Stay back you, you, devils,” Mike stammered at them. “I can get outta here when I damn well feel like it.” He turned towards them and tried to walk forward. He stumbled like he was pushed over a log. Noelle ran to him to hold him up. “Now boys, please, let me take care of him,” she pleaded. She couldn’t stand to watch the violence she expected from those two towards Mike. Mike was fit, but in this state, he couldn’t do a thing to protect himself. He’d get pummeled and not feel it till the morning. “Please, let me take him.” She looked at the twins with such sorrow in her eyes. Keith spoke up, “I like you Noelle, and because of that, your man is lucky. He gets on my damn nerves, but like I said, I like you. Get him out, now, for your sake.” She directed Mike towards the door when Keith spoke up again, “And Noelle, please take of your self. Don’t let that scumbag do anything to you.” She reached up to her temple again, feeling the scar through her auburn hair. “Yeah, thanks Keith. It’ll be fine. I’ve got this.”

She finally got Mike to the door and out before anything else happened. “Damn you woman,” he slurred. “I wanna drink wif my buds, and you take me outta there!” She remained quiet as she directed him to the passenger side of her little Nissan. He slumped on the hood as she opened the door and helped him inside. “Sit,” she said and surprisingly, he did so with little argument. Reaching in to buckle his seatbelt, he grabbed her arm. “I wuv you Noe,” he said, barely intelligible. “You take good care of me. I’ll make it up someday,” and then he closed his eyes. Figuring he passed out, she closed the door and went back in to talk to Gene.

She opened the door and all seemed back to normal, with the exception of Gene cleaning the glass off the floor. All eyes went to her as she approached the bar. “Gene, what does he owe you?”

“Noe, it’s ok. Just take him home and sober him up. I know he don’t mean it, but the damn boy needs to watch himself. Not everyone is as forgiving as me. And not all are as patient as you. An angel you are,” he said as he winked at her. “He don’t deserve you at all. Just take him home.” And with that, he turned away to finish cleaning and get Carl another beer. Skynyrd started blaring on the jukebox and everyone seemed to forget the incident. Noelle thanked Gene and turned to leave when Keith stopped her.

“You can do better Noe,” he said with all sincerity. Looking around, Keith leaned in closer, “I ain’t gonna treat ya like that,” he said to her. “No Keith, I’m fine. Mike and I are fine. He just needs some help, not hanging out here with you fine people,” and she turned to leave. She got to the door before overhearing Keith tell Carl, “She’s gonna be my girl some day. She won’t stay with him much longer.” She sighed and thought maybe he was right. Not that she would be “his” girl, but that she might not stay with Mike much longer. He was getting worse. His drinking seemed to be out of control most times. Her patience was starting to wear thin. It had to stop. With that thought fresh in her mind, she walked out in the dark night to her car to find Mike snoring away in the passenger seat. “Enjoy it now,” she thought, “Cause it may not last much longer.” She turned the key and drove them home. She prayed that he stayed passed out, because these were the times he tended to get violent.

Come back tomorrow for the next chapter of Master of the Drunken Fist. Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear what works and what doesn’t. Click here for the Table of Contents and links for the chapters. Thanks for reading!

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