In a Drunken Fit

Written April 22, 1997

Like a dense, yellow-white fog hung the cigarette smoke under the crude planks that made the ceiling of the large room. The noise in the place was loud, loud enough that an occasional false song hardly was distinguishable in the din. It smelled sweet of beer and drinks and rank of the drunks' sweaty bodies.
Busy waitresses hurried between the beer-stained tables and dirty chairs, habitually warded off intrusive hands and ran on.

It was a pub, a temporary pub on a football ground in an ordinary city in the middle of a summer festival.

Beneath the floor planks was dark, but much lighter than it usually is in such places, since the wood was hastily and bad joined together in the floor of the crude pub. Beer and liquor dropped down in little puddles where an uncareful and drunk guest had stumbled, or where a waitress too quickly had filled a glass.
A few small mice, who had sought shelter for the night under the recently built pub floor, satisfied their thirst from such a puddle. The water tasted different, but good, thought they. So good that they felt obliged to drink some from the next puddle too. Just a little bit more.

It was three in the morning. From the new-made ale house a last guest staggered out and began slowly to stumble towards his trailer. A black cat crossed his way and he stopped to spit three times before he continued his swaying gait. The cat went undisturbed on with the sneaking walk cats use during hunt.
Something rustled under the rough building that rose in the darkness in front of it. The cat pricked up its ears and paused in the middle of a step with all senses stretched. Like a statue of a black panther with gleaming, yellow eyes it stood there seemingly frozen to the ground. Slowly, slowly it put down one paw, then the other and thus sneaked infinitely silent ahead. Its whiskers trembled somewhat and the long tail twitched.
In a flash it suddenly jumped forward and tossed the prey to the ground with one well-aimed hit. Quickly it gripped its neck with the teeth and shook it, without noticing the strange, inattentive and unafraid state the prey was in.
It was a mouse, a fine, fat field mouse. The cat was hungry and swallowed it quite fast instead of, as it usually did, playing with it a long time. The mouse had an unusual, not at all unpleasant taste.
Hardly had the cat swallowed the last piece of the tail until it heard a new rustle. This time it saw the prey before it caught it and stared incredulously. Instead of to, in the silent way of mice, tiptoe forward, this almost tramped to the degree it is possible for the light feet of a mouse to make noise. It walked unsteadily as straight as possible towards the shocked cat and bit it in the leg with its sharp teeth. With a roar of surprise and outrage the cat caught it and crushed its spine. The cat ate that mouse as well and noticed the different and pleasant taste also this one had. When nothing more was left of the mouse, the cat, though it really was satisfied, crawled in under the floor of the ale house to catch more strange, well-tasting mice.

Eight o'clock in the morning a very tired and slightly hung over young man drove along the road in ninety kilometres per hour. He was in a hurry, because he was to be at work exactly nine, summer festival or not. That the speed on that road was limited to seventy did not bother him noteworthily.
Suddenly he jerked and stamped on the brakes. In the middle of the road sat a big, black cat and quite calmly licked its paws. The tires screeched and rubber scratched off to two long, black trails on the roadway, but the speed had been too high and the hung over man's reactions too slow.
Finally he managed to stop the car and hurried back to the run over, black body. When he saw that it was only a cat he relieved breathed out and kicked it away from the road. How lucky it wasn't a dog, or worse, a human! thought he, when he considerably slower continued to drive.

The ant scurried through the long, winding, narrow paths of the ant hill. Past another worker that carried a big crumb, through one chamber full of cocoons and one of eggs and finally to its goal, to the throne room, where the Queen herself rested on a bed of dirt and mouldering pieces of needles. The ant told her that it had found food, plenty of food not far away from the hill. The Queen passed the news on to the other workers and soon an ant track to the new- found, food-rich area had been made.
The area consisted of a ruffled, black, furclad heap.

Perfectly camouflaged in its brown, spotted body, stood a hen pheasant at the edge of the wood. She walked slowly along it to search for food. Suddenly she saw an ant track that twisted unsteadily between the bushes. Ants were not her favourite food, but these made her curious. They didn't run straight forward as common ants, no, they made little pirouettes and curls and nearly lost the track. The pheasant tasted a couple of them and quite delighted raised her head. How lovely they tasted! And she who had used to despise ants. Happily she began to eat, much more than she really needed. It tasted so good that she couldn't bring herself to stop.

The head of state frowned when he walked. He mused over a difficult problem. Several countries fought a war in the middle of Europe and the question was if Sweden should let go of its neutrality to help a union colleague that was in a bad position. Because of the development of a new fighter aircraft that now finally seemed to work properly, Sweden's army was strong.
In a month the parliamentary vote would take place and this afternoon he would inform his party about his own opinions. Evidently his party was the determining factor, because the other parties already knew what they thought. If he said no most of the members of his party would vote no and the result also be no, if he said yes the result would similarly be yes. The destiny of many people, perhaps their lives, rested with him.
The head of state continued, with the fowling-piece across his shoulder. A walk in the forest on his own grounds usually cleared his head a bit. In addition it was always a possibility that he could shoot a partridge or another bird for lunch.
He bent a branch aside and forced his way out on a field. Then he saw something most uncommon. A pheasant ran quite unfrightened in wide circles in the middle of the field. Incapable to resist the opportunity he raised the gun and shot.

The head of state, who had for a long time secretly been an alcoholic and now finally managed to quit drinking, had water to the delicious meal. A wonderful pheasant, this, he thought. But suddenly he felt the need for something... something stronger than water. He hadn't had one drop of liquor in many years, but...
His better self fought a great battle that it unfortunately lost, and he went to the pantry where he dug out a bottle of exclusive champagne that he couldn't separate from when he got rid of all other stronger drinks in the house. This one costed so much, he would give it away to somebody instead.
When it was only a little bit champagne in the bottom left, the head of state suddenly made a decision.
"With our JAS we can not possibly loose", he said aloud to nobody in particular and emptied the bottle before he went to the afternoon meeting of the party.

That year a wing of Swedish JAS attacked the biggest of the participants in the war. But a technical error appeared in many of the aeroplanes, and their engines stopped. One of them so entirely fell out of its course that it crashed right on the control tower where the Supreme Commander and several generals were. The rest of the wing, which now lacked guidance, were quickly shot down.
A couple of days later came a revenge action and one thing led to another and ended with a Third World War and finally one atom bomb after the other.

5000 years later the Earth had recovered again, much appreciated by the mutated giant bats who then lived there and were the only survivors of the atom catastrophe.

Morale: It is never good to drink alcohol.


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1998 Jemima & Carl-Henrik Hammarlund. All rights reserved.