Tonight You're Mine, Completely

James Preston Reply 6:58 PM
So, I'm into Week 3 of this Tandem Blogging project (where 9 different Bloggers write on the same topic, without seeing each other's material, and release those 9 posts at the same time - Wednesday at 7pm).



This week's topic is "Tonight you're mine, completely". The above pic is from the office I was working in today, and whilst getting into my scheduled time to write this week's post, I looked around for some inspiration, and you should be able to see what inspired me to write this...

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Slumdog Heath, as he was known to everyone in town, had been dry for an agonising two years. The pain of his self-discipline outweighed the pride that was meant to accompany such an achievement. Most of the one hundred and forty two citizens of Westing didn't really notice anyway. There was no appreciation to be bestowed. No significance to blow the balloon of pride that would normally go hand in hand with such a lengthy period of sobriety.

Heath's addiction began in the basement of his parent's townhouse in New Orleans. He would quell the pain of their fighting with his father's stock of moonshine. It didn't taste like much, quite the contrary. But it sure made life more bearable.

After stumbling through the US Airforce's 24 month Heli Academy, he was stationed in Keylong, a remote mountain village in Northern India. With regular cargo missions into the depths of the Himalayas, he became one of the most skilled helicopter pilots ever to serve in the Force. His commanding officer willingly overlooked his all-too-obvious addiction to the bottle because his skills had become far too indispensable.

After 15 years of tediously unvaried cargo work, his break came when the Rwandan Genocide exploded. Heath was commissioned to Butaro, a small town in the North of Rwanda, not far from the Ugandan border. The US Airforce had agreed to send a small consignment of troops and assets to Rwanda as part of a United Nations agreement.

If Keylong was tedious, Rwanda was pandemonium. Fifteen years of high altitude cargo loading, with a spattering of hiker rescues here and there, numb the mind of mankind's potential for brutality. On-the-ground-Rwanda in 1994 was like anaphylactic shock.

The images his mind had absorbed for the three months he worked in Butaro provided a lifetime of haunting memories. His alcoholism had transitioned from an inherited genetic condition to a tranquilliser. Five bottles of his vice (cheap Spanish Sherry) every day had to be escalated to give the effect his disturbed consciousness so intensely craved. Scotch, Vodka and Gin all added to the daily sedative consumption.

He could barely walk by lunchtime, and by three o'clock in the afternoon he had passed out along one of the many beach walks of Ewa Beach, not far from his new posting in Hawaii. It was here that he earned the nickname Slumdog. Hickam's Airforce Base would get the usual phone call from a local to inform them that one of their officers needed collecting off Ewa's sandy white shores.

"Slumdog's on pier two!" the call operator would shout to the unit.

After three years of the consistent rehab relapse cycle, he was honourably discharged. His addiction too hefty for his skills to carry.

He needed to work to service his addiction. He didn't want to do anything else but fly. It was the only thing his brain had become wired to do without the need to be sober. A helicopter charter in the small town of Westing, a fishing village in Northern Alaska, was the only outlet that would take him. He would stay conscious enough to perform the morning routes without much hiccup (besides the odd conversation unwitting passengers would attempt to strike up).

By forty two years old he became all too aware that his addiction would be the end of him. Heath battled to hold any kind of relationship, be it companionship or friendship. No one wanted to take on the commitment of a drunk. It was either drink himself to an early demise, or attempt change.

He took two weeks leave to see Canada's most prominent alcoholism psychiatrist, which, after his intense assessment, required a further six months rehab program.

After fighting his demons through six months of rehabilitation programs, he graduated with a confidence he hadn't felt since hitting a home run in fourth grade little league. He made his way back up to Westing, and restarted.

Things were going fine. Until one dark, fateful Winter's afternoon. It was July eleventh, 2002. What was a glorious and crisp Winter's day, was the beginning of a great ruin in the life of a fighter.

A passenger had come with his typically overprotected and privileged wife to Westing to witness the phenomenal Northern Lights. Heath by now was used to engaging in good conversation with his passengers, but today's engagement would have been best left to the days of Slumdog's incoherence.

The passenger was from Spain. In a small town called Montilla. He owned a vineyard. A vineyard dedicated to making the finest Sherry in the world. This passenger was proud of his work, and graciously bestowed his product on all who did him well.

Heath couldn't say no. He couldn't comprehend at the time whether it was his gentle, receptive nature, or his fifteen year long relationship with Spanish Sherry. He had to accept the gift.

After his last flight had landed, and his final passenger checked out, Heath did his final checks on his Robinson R44 Raven, and gathered his belongings. The Montilla Sherry whispered its presence amongst the pilot paraphernalia of his chopper.

He stopped...

For a few seconds.

Gazed at it like he were face to face with a polar bear in the arctic.

And placed it in his bag. The drive from the airfield to his home was only three minutes and sixteen seconds. Doing it so frequently for so long a season he had timed it.

Heath remembered eleventh grade science. Einstein's theory of relativity came back to mind as those three minutes felt like an hour. An hour alone behind a well-stocked bar. This was not happening.

It was. And living alone didn't help. He put his bag on his desk in his makeshift home study, opened the fridge, peered into its austerity, and reached for the only drink within; a Cherry Coke. He slumped into the couch and turned on episode 41 of the West Wing's season 2.

He could barely hear the words coming out of his DVD's high end sound system. His mind was on one thing, and one thing only.

It was as if it were possessed by another life. As if it could communicate with his mind. It started with a whisper in his stationery helicopter. It was now a loud and commanding call to action.

He cracked.

He had expended every last unit of emotional energy needed for self-control. He had nothing left.

He left the DVD running as he briskly leapt to the kitchen. He rummaged through his cupboard, grabbing a rusted corkscrew and the only wine glass he owned, a gift from the Keylong Airforce Base.

He hurried down the passageway and entered the study. Not setting eyes on anything but his duffel bag, which he unzipped and penetrated. Grabbing the neck of the sublimely crafted bottle he rushed back to his sofa, hitting the standby button on his remote as he sat. He was going to savour this moment.

He peeled away the finely coated layer of metallic plastic, and thrust the rusty corkscrew as hard as he could, a little off centre as it stabbed into the cork. He twisted with enthusiastic vigour, and had to stand to loose the cork from its sturdy grip in the bottle.

"Pop!"

The delightful sound represented the dawn of his next season in life.

He slumped back into the sofa with a sigh, and with it in his right hand, stared at the bottle with lustful desire.

It whispered again with captivating thrill.

"Tonight you're mine, completely."

Slumdog Heath smiled in defeat, as he waited for the Sherry to breathe.

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This week was fun! Definitely my favourite writing experience thus far! Hope you enjoyed it as much as I wrote it!
I'm excited to see what my partners in crime came up with. You can check out what they came up with below:

Megan: www.meganshead.co.za/
Sarah: https://medium.com/@ricegirl2
Dave: http://bloggsymalone.wordpress.com/
Nick: https://medium.com/@nick_frost
Brett: https://brettfish.wordpress.com/
Cath: https://cathjenkin.wordpress.com/
Scott: http://squidsquirts.blogspot.com/ 
Kerry: www.kerrycontrary.com/

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