On Thursday nights, he headed down to his usual bar where he wasn't known by his name, but by his drink. Same old, same old, the locals always joked with him. And they joked with him a lot, calling him the recluse or the Hunchback of Norte Dame . Obviously it didn't bother him. Pain - teasing pain - was more of a right of passage. If he couldn't take it, he shouldn't be in a bar. Taking a seat, he waved them off like the bar flys they w, buzzing wildly and misdirected around tight bottlenecks and wide low balls, the same as their ancient ancestors, the fruit fly.

Fruit flies have a well-documented affinity for alcohol and fermented fruits, a preference deeply rooted in their past and ecological interactions. The flies' sensory attraction to fermenting yeast, the nutrition from consuming alcohol-laden earthy materials, and the overall protective effects of alcohol consumption against parasites. The development of the fermentation process and thus the relationship itself, dates back millions of years.

Yeast, as in beer, play a central role in this process by fermenting the sugars in fruit to produce alcohol and other volatiles that attract the flies. This relationship benefits both parties is simple: the flies gain a reliable food source rich in calories, while the yeast gains a means of dispersal, as flies facilitate their spread to new and improved earthy materials.

Think of fly as the bar fly drinker and the yeast as the bartender and owner.

Consumption by fruit flies is not merely a byproduct of their feeding habits but has evolved as a defense mechanism against parasitic wasps. When larvae consume ethanol, it increases their survival by killing the wasp larvae that may have infected them. This obviously isn't the case for most or any drinkers seeing we don't have to defend against wasps on a regular basis.

Fruit flies, like humans, have also evolved overtime to detoxify ethanol more efficiently than many other things. This adaptation has likely been a key factor in their success in exploiting fermenting fruit as a niche, as he, the bar flys, and bartender had been doing for years and years and years.

Edward Slingerland's book "Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization" is a great read and exploration of the history, evolutionary roots, and societal impact of alcohol and intoxication. The book delves into the scientific, historical, and cultural aspects of alcohol consumption, arguing that intoxication has played a crucial role in the development of human civilization.

Slingerland draws on evidence from various fields, including archaeology, history, cognitive neuroscience, and social psychology, to provide a comprehensive explanation for humanity's love of alcohol. The book offers a well-rounded perspective on the complex relationship between humans and alcohol, challenging conventional notions about intoxication and its fixed place in a society that lately, only wants to know how to feel good all the time.

He greets the bartender as he takes his seat, exchanging a few words that are neither here nor there.

You look good, you look good.

Don't feel good, he says. How about you?

Sure, the bartender says. No one told me life was a giveaway.

He nodded.

Why don't you feel good?

I don't know, he said.

The others looked over at him, neither worried or offering help, simply observing. In some bars, people looked at you as if they could see your entire bloodline, almost down to the fuckin' DNA to figure you out. In that moment, he wondered if they could. He wondered if he would even listen if they told him how. Offering a nod and then a wink, they turned away. Typically he wouldn't have paid them any mind, but he'd had a couple of drinks before making his way over that day.

There was a silence that fell on some nights that seemed to stop time and with no time, there was no forward motion, no growth.

So suddenly you’re stuck in a sort of purgatory and there was the past because he remembered one, blessed and cursed to have been allowed to live and print himself on the soil of the lineage of humanity where the few he met along the way like the bartender or the bar flys or the ones at work and sure, his friends and family but, in truth, only a few would remember you because as soon as they were, They would also be wiped away.

Finiteness refers to the quality of being finite, which means having bounds, limits, or a definite fixed size or extent. When faced with the contradictory state of time, the universe and all its stars and galaxies which he knew we named from principles in ontology, epistemology, and ethics, tricking us into thinking we understand the nature of being, seemed like a cruel joke and exactly where he found himself before coming to the bar that night where had a few drinks before he had a few more drinks out in the world in time.

The bartender leaned into him so his elbows dug into the wood. He could hear the bone press against the ash or maple, seemingly undisturbed by it. This made him question if the bartender could feel or was real at all but before those thoughts spun out to a place he could not retrieve it, they said,

I read a poet once who wrote,

We all get to be nobody's for just a moment, then they say, let's take off our shoes and ghost on.

Mr. Danger Danger, a familiar voice said over his shoulder.

He turned around and saw a face he hadn’t seen since he’d last seen it. There was no emotion at first, just shock and surprise, which is nothing but heightened fear. When that subsided, he gathered himself, inhaling and exhaling, his senses and ego telling him that he was here in the beer, that there were people around him that he knew (kind of) and that this person who called him Danger, Danger knew him well enough to smile and even touch his shoulder and not kill him. Sometimes that was enough in this world.

Can I sit? they asked him.

He nodded without saying anything he could understand and looked at the bartender.

Think about it, the bartender said and took an order.

He turned and stared at this individual, this strange, and recognized his hard brow, etched as if with chisel along with his chapped and ripped lips and big ears and smell of tuna melt and stale beer. Red cheeks too, blood pink like farm salmon and eyes that had been forced to always say yes because they were always in the wrong place at the wrong time, usually by their own doing.

Hello, man, he said, suddenly cheery to put up appearances. Long time, huh?

Could say that, yeah, they said.

He sensed he only knew them through drinking and as they took a seat he remembered tiny details of their life, almost like gathering small bits of sand dollars to make a whole.

How you been? They asked, somehow already with a half-finished beer in front of them. Still writing?

He noticed a crescent moon scar on their hand. Its edges were faint and white and thin, curling just saw at its ends. A honk from outside made him instinctively turn and look. After a moment, he realized no one else had. The TV was playing a re-cast of an old sports game and as they raised their hand to point at something he could care less about again he saw the crescent moon scar, still unable to pin down where he’d seen it before.

But he knew it from somewhere, he knew he did.

Yeah, he admitted. Every day. It’s like a sickness at this point but I suppose most writers feel that way.

He thought of sweet cherry wine in the middle of meadows in an afternoon that seemed to fall into their lap. He and she had stumbled upon this church or some kind of monastery, void of cell phone, email, or any other connection. He had found what he had been seeking but something was holding him back, something that probably had to do with not knowing how to be truly happy and as she asked him irrelevant questions he realized, on that barstool, there were only ever good answers when faced with love.

Don’t give up, they stated flatly. Don’t let them take you to the other side of mediocrity.

He didn’t know what to say.

You never know what to say, he remembered her saying. And I think that's why I love you: you're lost in life making you so present beauty and ugliness. makes you speechless. But what are words but breathy symbols that don't come close to what we're seeing with our two eyes.

I gotta’ take a piss," they said, getting up. "But listen to me, listen to what I said. More importantly, listen to yourself.

He was taken aback by their sudden flash of truth and courage, seeing they looked like shit and barely knew one another. They ambled to the bathroom, and he sat there stupefied by the entire scene. He tried to collect himself by taking a drink, looking around and at his phone, but his reality, at least the reality of what was now his past, was changed. After a few minutes, expecting them to return from the bathroom, he realized they were still in there.

He had to pee himself so he got up and checked, but they were gone.

The bathroom was empty and seeing there was no back door or window—not that the old man could ever get themselves up there—he couldn’t make heads or tails of it. They were gone

Where’d they go? He asked the bartender behind the bar unaware of what he was going through.


The old guy I was talking to?

What old guy? It’s just been you and Frank all afternoon.

The bartender checked their watch. Late afternoon.

No, he insisted. The old man was sitting right here. He desperately pointed at the empty bar stool. This was his fuckin’ beer, man.

He held up the bottle.

That’s mine you somma’ bitch! Frank yelled from across the bar, tucked away like a hermit crab in their shell in one of the booths.

No, that’s Frank’s, the bartender said.

Before his mind could start to tumble and fold within itself, the bartender poured him a tequila and winked.

One of those days, huh?

The bartender poured himself one too, and as they met glasses, he noticed a similar crescent moon scar on his hand, identical to the one they had.

Don’t give up.

He heard these words come from some other place.

Don’t let them take you to the other side of mediocrity.

He looked around, desperate for foundation when all there was were the words. He knew that tone. He knew that voice.

That is not where you live.

You always sound so serious, she would tell him in the middle of the night and the early morning before they were off to work. Sometimes it feels like I'm walking on eggshells but, I know that's you. I know that's you.

That is not where you want to die.