Fandom: Life on Mars
Word Count: 277 words.
Notes: Gene-centric gen for the ‘temptation’ challenge on 1973flashfic. Based on Paul McDermott’s song 'Bottle'.
Summary: Gene thinks about one of his habits.
It’s not a problem. He isn’t addicted. Everyone does it, craves it, has a hard time ignoring it.
Even to Gene, well-versed in wilful ignorance and blanket denial, the words are hollow. They sound false. He can’t remember a day he hasn’t walked out of his house with a flask close to his heart. Can’t recall a night without scotch and beer and promises.
And he hates that it’s a sign of his weakness, of desperation to be numb for an hour or more, that he can laugh so long as he’s liquored up. He thinks he should be worthier than that, he wonders what it’s like to be sober.
As vices go, it could be worse, could injure more than his liver, but it’s still a vice.
He doesn’t know how to change, and he will never admit this, but this scares him. He always thought he was fairly good at adapting before. Pretended he wasn’t; knew he was. Maybe he’s not.
Just thinking about it makes him reach for liquid courage. Wine, this time, red as regret. He doesn’t even bother with a glass, just presses the bottle against his lips, tilting his head back, swallowing thick and fast. It’s bitter, tannic, good.
Soon there will be a haze of contentment resting low in his belly, masking years of ambivalence. Soon his edges of inhibition will erode at the corners, making it easier to act without weighing up the repercussions. Soon he won’t need a crutch because he’ll be floating in the fucking air.
It’s not a problem. He isn’t addicted. Everyone does it. The fact he’s never been like everyone else before is inconsequential.