Patrick Nelson the winner of the Morry Eale Contest

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Cast Away by Patrick Nelson
         I have never had a hangover before because I do not drink. I never drank, that is, until last night. If this is what a hangover feels like, I will never drink again. I will remove my eyeballs with an oyster knife, drop them in a beaker of hydrochloric acid and gargle with it before I do this again. My eyelids will not cooperate with the panicked message I send from my brain. Maybe said message is going to my pelvic muscles because I think I just urinated on myself a little. There we go. The lids seem to be stuck together slightly, making it harder to open them. A little more. It’s like some kind of sticky eye goo. No, that’s not the right word. I am a marine biologist damn it! Mucous, that’s the word. 

         With a pain that is somehow stinging in the back of my head and throbbing dull in the front all at the same time, I begin to focus on a sideways image of a room with white flowing curtains and a naked woman’s back. I am on my side I surmise. I am laying next to a naked woman in what I presume is her bed. I try to make no movement that is strong enough to jiggle the bed as I reach down to feel my lower body.

         I, in addition, have no clothes on.

         I am reminded in this situation of a Mission Impossible episode. Someone must have drugged me, taken me to this location, undressed me and is trying to make me believe that I have been kidnapped. Oh my God! I cannot remember my name! Wait! Morry! Morry Eale!

         My word that frightened me. Now some of last night’s events begin to bully themselves into the arena of earthly delights that is my consciousness. Oy vey. I say bully, for at this moment I want nothing inside my cranium but calm and very little pain.

         What a night. I think. I remember the gentlemen's club that I went to on the pressured invitation of the other gentlemen with whom I work at the lab. We were attending Marcus' "bachelor party". I have never attended a party such as this but after searching the internet, I was soon familiar with the custom. I dare-say Marcus' party would pass beyond the normal stereotypes of debauchery and hedonism even in the glamorized Hollywood sense. Real images and sensations, however, filled my mind as they recurred to me. The pain was already quite intense, but now the emotions: camaraderie, bliss, wanton lust, anger and yes, even rage all began to swim together in the blood red and murky brown of my skull and push against the edges of my psyche. 

         A hellish klaxon suddenly burst through my caustic reverie and I thought I was immediately being whisked before the creator to answer for my blatant disregard for the life he had given me. It turns out it was just an alarm clock on the table next to this woman on the bed. I believe I may have whimpered something to the effect of "please God, father of us all, make it stop" but I could be mistaken. It continued for a few more seconds but in my condition it seemed like the clock itself had become another living thing which chose to pull and stretch all the tendons and muscles away from my neck and head and was now drawing a sinister bow across the taught membranes to create this dreadful symphony. I was a mere second away from clawing my way across this nubile beauty next to me to end the very existence of the torture device harping there.
       She beat me to it. She stirred and hit the button. I never loved someone so unconditionally in my entire life. It seems my brain had earned back some of amount of trust from my eyes. With ever widening slits, I took in a little more of the scene: the crisp, white sheet cascaded over the woman's lithe legs and rear end, revealing the cleavage of her buttocks and toned, tan back and shoulders. No tan lines anywhere. She had an impressive mane of luxuriant auburn hair that had undulating curls that reminded me of the waves that trailed a spoon in a bowl of chocolate mousse. I was an amateur chef as well. The sun slicing through the window silhouetted some circles of her hair and glistened through. My eyes traveled down from her head and settled on the small of her back. She had a richly detailed series of small fish scales tattooed in a fanning pattern. They started in a small vee at the fourth vertebrae and spread outward and upward. The color range was amazing: rich blues, frosty greens even blending into bright oranges and reds. Japanese in its stylism, it appeared to be a work in progress, but on her it was stunning and mesmerizing almost as if she where one of the fabled race of merpeople here to lure me to my death on the rocks.

         I already felt like I was dead. Despite my discomfort and agony, I noticed I had an impressive erection. She shifted and leaned back against me. "Whoa. Somebody’s awake" she said. The voice was at once light and sleepy, and yet it had deep edges where I could almost say that a world of disappointment and pain had lived. Maybe I was projecting my subconscious there. She rolled all the way over and tossed her curls out of her face.

         Now the last big piece of the puzzle snapped into place: Gillian. From the club. She had it all: a gorgeous, slightly rounded face, her nose a bit wide and upturned on the end, small and round pouty lips that extended out on each side to an upturned curl and eyes a hazel seen only in an artists palette. These features would have been peculiar on any woman individually, but on her, together, they made the most seductive temptress even more irresistible. If at all possible, my head spun more and my mouth became even drier.

         “Boy, stranger. You sure can’t handle your liquor” she commented. I was hypnotized. “Um” was all I could muster. Somehow in my dominance of the conversation, she found a place to interject “Not a big talker, huh? You sure couldn’t shut up last night. I mean, until y’all passed out. What a handful you are.” 

         Oh no, my secret weakness: a southern drawl. I was really defenseless. She laid there facing me with her arm across her breasts and I had the uncontrollable urge to touch her but I still wasn’t sure where we stood, er, laid. My Ph.D. nudged the back of my brain and asked “Um, did we...are we...where you and I...” Shakespeare and Valentino would have vomited in their mouths if they where to hear. Maybe that was just me again.

         “No, no and no. Let’s start with what you do remember, ok?” she said and I nodded. “Good, that will make it much easier ‘cause I don’t think y’all recall shit sugar.” She pulled the sheet up from her hips to cover her breasts also. I caught a glimpse of her breasts and looked away. “Aw’ ain’t you the cutest think.” She purred. “You remember the club, right? Good. You remember my show? The mermaid routine?” She paused and I searched my memory and had found the fuzzy edges of what she spoke. I had quite a few of the different cocktails and was just then buying a couple of rounds for my friends and the dancers. I remember saying how this was the best time I had ever had. I saw her come on the stage and walk up to the pole.

         I now remember this clearly. It was if she walked in slow motion to the center of the stage. Her breasts bounced slightly as she walked out and her hair bobbed and flowed in a gossamer trail behind her. She had on a bikini top of teal and a sea foam green see through dress or skirt shaped like the body of a cichlid with extended dorsal and anal fins. I can’t remember if it was a dress or skirt because suddenly I was completely transfixed on her face, believe it or not. She began to dance around the brass beam like a gypsy from long ago: she spun in circles faster and faster till I myself began to dizzy. She embraced the pole and just then a crass individual tried to touch her waistband on her costume and I...oh my.

         “Yeah, sweetcheeks! You climbed right over about twenty people to drop that guy like a sack of wet flour. Whomp!” she could tell by my dropped jaw that it was coming back to me. “Don’t you know about tipping the dancers?” She lifted my jaw with the first two fingers of her right hand. It managed to stay shut. “Yeah, they tip me and I keep it and pay for the things I need like rent and food and...” She spoke to me like I was a small child. I was again trapped in the reverie of her gaze. Medusa only not as mean. More events unfolded with her help: How I climbed on the stage to protect her and how the bouncers finally dragged me off the stage. Next an up-close image of the pavement outside the club as I was tossed out. Then how I was saying some things that I would not normally say to any other people especially the large gentlemen who had heaved my drunken carcass in the night. "Thats right , loverboy! I managed to talk old Frederico from breaking you into small, bite sized pieces. He did have to give you a souvenir of your chivalry" she said as she touched my forehead above my right eye.

         Holy Camoley, that hurt! She pulled off the bandage that, due to the pain I already suffered from, I hadn't noticed. "Well, the stitches held and it stopped bleeding, but y'all are gonna need to be cleaned up" my favorite nurse, ever, said. "Where was I? Oh yeah. So all your friends where out in the lot trying to help you and keep Frederico from beating you any more. They all begged and pleaded and offered money. Freddie said he admired the way they stuck up for you, but he couldn't let a man do what you did in his club without making an example of you. You got off lucky though.”

         “Well, after all your friends where done vouching for you and telling us what a good guy you where, didn't ever drink and all that, well I have to admit y'all kinda struck a nerve with me. I mean, you didn't even know me and here you where jumping up and trying to protect me. It was, I don't know, sweet. Nobody's ever done anything like that for me."

         She was a talker and I loved every word. I imagined myself sitting here in her bed naked with her every morning listening to her ramble and falling in love with her more with every word. All this without a hangover of course. I came back to her still talking: "so I brought you back here to take care of you. I mean none of your friends were in any kind of shape to do it. So I got us a cab and called my friend Amos, he's a male nurse who lives in an apartment upstairs, and he stitched you up.  I just want you to know that I have never done that before, y'know? Brought a customer from the club back here like that. Hell, since I broke up with Beau a year ago there hasn't even been a man in my apartment."       I didn't stop her to tell her the closest thing I ever had to even a date in the last ten years was a girl from my building with whom I had arranged a play date with my Yorkie and her Schnauzer. My dog peed in her purse at the dog park and that pretty much washed away my chances. Her name was Goldie, the dog not the woman. I can't remember the woman's name. I don't think I'll need to remember any woman's name again.

         Gillian went on: "You where still pretty drunk and when I set up the sofa for you to sleep on you sort of got, goofy, I guess." She blushed a little which I could not read, so I waited. She continued "you said you wanted to dance with me and talk and get to know me, but I could tell a lot of it was the alcohol."

         "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to..." I said but she interrupted.

         "No. Don't be. You were real sweet you know? I get to see the real side of people a lot what with all the alcohol and me getting naked in front of them. They lose a lot of their inhibitions and such. Well, usually all there inhibitions. You really get to know a person then. If they’re an asshole, well that’s when you find out. You weren't like that. I thought you were a complete gentleman. When I told you I was bushed, and wanted to go to bed you didn’t say anything. You just sort of sat there looking dejected. I went to bed and after a while I came out there and brought you into my bed” she said as she took her fingers and lightly traced a line around the edge of my bruised and stitched forehead. She wasn’t actually touching the bruise, just the part near it. It gave me goosebumps.

         “You know what happened next?” she asked. I hesitated. I could lie and tell her it was wonderful and I will never forget that night for as long as I live, or I could tell the truth. My grandfather always said ‘telling the truth is always harder because it is the right thing. Nothing easy is ever worth the doing because it will not last.’ Grandpa was kind of a jerk, but in this case he was right.

         “No, I don’t remember a thing after you came and got me” I swallowed hard as I said it and imagined that I had just pissed in her purse.

         “ I reckon you wouldn’t...” She put a touch of mischievous seduction on the tail of that and finished: “well, first off we both got naked and curled up together in the bed. We kissed and fooled around a little. Then you told me this was only your second time with a woman and you passed out.”

         It took a while for that to sink in. How could I be so lucky and yet have it stop right there? I guess that would be pushing my luck. Gillian just grinned and got out of bed. She looked me in the eye as she grabbed a pair of panties and slid into them. Sick as I felt I knew I had to get it together. Somehow we were still flirting. After all the stupid things I did and said, she was still interested in me. This did not fall into the normal mating ritual description and yet there I was on the verge of breaking into some genetically programmed dance.

         “You know what we all need? The only bona fide hangover cure I ever came across in my whole entire life...” she left me hanging while she put on a bra and snapped the button on her very tight jeans. “In-n-Out burger, large fry and a diet Coke.” She was absolutely beaming as she slipped into a Georgia Bulldogs t-shirt that must have belonged to a small child previously for it clung to her like crepe paper.

         I must have been feeling better for I immediately began to extrapolate the chemical and physical properties of the breakfast: caffeine in the cola would stimulate the system, the protein and starches in the meat and the potatoes would...It all spun away from me as she crawled across the bed and kissed me. When the world started moving again, she backed away and said; “Y’all ever noticed how they put in all those biblical references on the wrappers and stuff? I wish they wouldn’t do that but I still can’t turn down a double-double.”
        It didn’t matter to me for I was now a believer.

I was supposed to announce the winner for this one at the reception but I knew that he wouldn’t be there so I’ve been rereading and reworking which one I think should win.  By the way, I will start posting competitions again this Monday April 18.  For the Morry Eale Not a bad one in the bunch for this competition!

In terms of style and content I think that Patrick Nelson’s story is the best.  The theme is so fantastic and real at the same time that it happened to me, at least in a dream or fantasy or something.  Nelson has a real sense of humor but he also has very believable voice when he’s writing.  A couple of my friends who read the blog have confirmed my suspicion that he’s a great writer.  Patrick wrote Owen D. Bank which is in my show catalog and some other winning stories on this blog.

Dan Combs and Ron Slattery shred in some real themes that originate in the book, “Big Fish” by Daniel Wallace crossed with the song “Cat’s in the Cradle.”  Combs managed to unfurl a tail that lasted approximately four decades of a characters life in less than one thousand words.  Slattery did a wonderful job with his sense of humor and the play on words.  I’ve lived his story at times in my life and I also like the grandpa in the restaurant reference.  I think it’s very close to my experiences with my own and my wife’s grandfather.

If I had a second place, the winner would be my wife’s story “That’s a Morry Moray AmorĂ©.”  She’s probably gonna think I being nice out of loyalty but it’s not so.  I just connected with it the best.  Her story is so full of personal references and history that it would be hard for me to relate all the nuances here but let me say this, we both love plays on words, puns, Dean Martin and her Grandma Big Al.

Royce Ratterman’s story was really almost a prologue to a good ghost story or the beginning of a novel.  I think the imagery that for me also made me feel the cold air and smell of the sea was powerful.  His story also has the quality fo a short sketch I remember reading by I think Nathanial Hawthorne in which the occupants are described and their possible futures and then Hawthorne goes on the describe how those dreams were killed in an avalanche.

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