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Pinch Me

At what point did the English language devolve into apathetic malaise?


Ever since I took that edible, nothing’s ever been the same. I mean, I went from being stone-cold sober, to getting higher than a Mary Poppins kite in the Irish bar bathroom equivalent to a graffiti-covered outhouse at a punk show. This all happened within a mere matter of maddening minutes. Was everything always this green before I took the edible? Or is this just because I’m in an Irish bar on March 17th? Is the bar in question this envy-highlighted on any other day of the calendar year? Do you think they give out Irish Spring bars of soap? How’s my body odor? They give out packs of gum at strip club bathrooms, but

they don’t give out bars of soap at dive-bars. Seriously, what’s up with that?


I step outside of the bathroom, and immediately feel everyone’s judgemental gaze upon me. Nobody’s looking directly at me, but I can feel their collective eyelines all burning a metaphysical hole through my sweating forehead, past the dermis, to my carefully curated cranium. I sit back down at my own particular bar stool. The coaster remains overtop my temporarily festive beer, dyed shamrock green. There’s nothing particularly special about this lager, other than its gimmicky emerald pigment. I don’t get the hype. Like, at all.


I take another swig; it doesn’t taste any different to the garden variety of standardized libations they keep on tap here any other day. They better not be charging extra for this tacky self-indulgence. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve brushed up on any form of Catholicism, but the mind wonders and wanders. Who was Saint Patrick, and what was he the saint of, anyway? How does one become a saint in the first place? Is there a waitlist? Is it like the DMV? Do I gotta take a ticket and wait in line for hours on end?


At what point did the English language devolve into apathetic malaise? How is Paddy short for Patrick? Like I said, the mind wonders and wanders. You’d think they’d have Pad Thai on special here. I’m just glad I’m not getting aggressively padded down upon entry and or re-entry, like I’m a lamb willingly signed up for slaughter at the airport. I suppose I could Google who this titular saint was, but that enterprise just sounds like a whole lot of unnecessarily exhaustive work. Yawn.


If it were up to me, I’d just have Patrick Star from Sponge-Bob Square Pants dressed up in a standardized leprechaun outfit as the mascot for all henceforth horseshoes and clovers. If I had a dollar for every great idea I’ve ever had—the world economy would be fixed overnight. Just as the truly altruistic nature of my internal humanity-saving thought process comes back around fully formed, I feel a sharp pinch at the back of my neck.


I don’t tend to pinch any nerves. Not at least while I’m still vertical. Another quick pinch to my kidneys. I suddenly feel lighter, as if I’m missing a key part of my identity. I feel around my jacket pockets to find my wallet missing. How could this be? All my most imperative hand-held documents remain safely ensconced within the inner folds of my jacket.


Whoever’s sticky fingers picked my pocket did with the delicate ease of a seasoned expert. They’ve pinched my billfold. A deep booming laugh permeates my internal monologue. I turn and see the self-inflicted chaos of which I’ve wrought upon myself. Behind me, stands Patrick Star himself, in a disturbingly tailored leprechaun costume. Am I sure this was just a cookie-cookie, and not a cookie mixed with all manner of flora and fauna fungi? What I am sure of-- is that I’m not sure about the many layered internal machinations of this deceptively tricksy baked treat. Ha, baked, Good one, me. Good one. Wait, what’s the pH level of green food colouring?


The five-pointed, pink anthropomorphized horrifying blob of animated flesh taunts me, while sadistically brandishing my wallet, which cartoonishly flows above his fingerless, starfish appendages. He runs away from me, so naturally I give chase. I stumble awkwardly off the bar stool, trying my best to maintain any modicum of ‘movie star cool composure’. The pink starfish is quick and cunning. He’s already left the premises. There’s no way I can catch up to him now.


When need be though, I’m pretty quick-thinking in a pinch. I head out the employee side entrance into the seedy back-alley in order to head off my rosy, etoiled assailant. And yet, my drug-fuelled delusion is gone in the wind. I feel a sudden added weight to my body. I feel down inside of my jacket, therein safely sits my wallet. Right where it should be. I snap out the pocket to find all cards, IDs, and current currency still within its rightful place. None of what just transpired, actually in reality ever took place.


The bartender checks on me, ensuring I’m okay. I assure them I am. They politely ask that I return in order to pay my bill. As if I’d ever be one to dine and dash. Tis to laugh. Instead of explaining in a foolhardy fashion why I did what it was that I was indeed doing, I figured it’d be best to just let magically imaginary bygones be fantastically bygone.


The tab must always be settled. Always. Pinch me, I must be dreaming.

Mary-Jane



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