Road to Catharsis

I was putting cigarettes out on my arm when Joey let out an obnoxious yawn and said, “If I spend one more minute in this house, I’m gonna apply for a gun permit on the sole purpose of permanently eradicating this boredom.”

   The smell of burning flesh was permeating the air. I lit up another cigarette, took a hit and asked what our prospects looked like in the city that always sleeps?

   Joey stood up to make his way to the window. It was nothing but gray skies again with the promise of misery in the form of falling rain. “We’re fucked,” he said.

This wasn’t news to me. I did however suggest the dire need to escape these empty walls.

   We made our way to Bobby’s house in under ten minutes from Bethel Park to Brookline. Joe’s car didn’t stall once. Miracles happen every day. When they happen in Pittsburgh, they’re extraordinary.

   On the way there I spotted a sexy blonde who looked damn near identical to my ex. She’s been burning a hole in my mind. I’ve been losing a piece of my soul each day since our departure.

   Bobby let us in his dilapidated house, but made sure to inquire about the uninvited guest I brought along with me. He always was a cynical bastard.

   Apparently, we came at the right time. There was a small gathering of people drinking cheap beer, engaging in cheap dialogue. I told Joey to grab us a couple beers, as I pulled up two seats to the kitchen table, where all the action was happening.

   I was chugging my beer when Bobby asked, “Why didn’t you bring your girlfriend, man?”

   I screamed back, “I don’t wanna fucking talk about it!” as I slammed down the empty beer can on his filthy table. Dust from a lifetime of neglect was floating in the air above us.

   “Christ! I’m sorry, man,” replied Bobby with a blatant hint of trepidation in his voice.

   The damage was done. I felt tears swelling up in my eyes. My emotions were like a tidal wave. Crying like a little bitch in public over the best piece of ass I’ve ever had was inexcusable. I suppressed my tears, rose up from my seat, and grabbed another cold one.

   The small crowd of nervous, indigenous Pittsburghers made their introductions to Joey and I after my outburst. These people were insipid, forgettable human beings. I couldn’t tell you a single name from that party. My mind was preoccupied on other things.

   After a few minutes I began to question why I made the miserable choice of leaving the confines of my empty house to put up with another uneventful night at Bobby’s.

   Maybe the redundancy had something to do with it. Bobby has seen me in my worst, time and time again.

   In the hopes of diminishing my anguish Bobby put on Frank Sinatra’s greatest hits volume one, classic vinyl.

   Listening to the “Summer Wind” only set me off further. This is the album that would spin non-stop when I brought my ex over for cheap beer and good times.

   I continued to drink like a drunk on a rush. Joey couldn’t keep up, in fact, with the way I was drinking, nobody could.

   The record kept spinning, and the small talk persisted. It was all about men in tights, football and stats. The kind of dialogue that could push an unstable man over the edge. Occasionally, I would interject a crude comment about men being obsessed with men, followed by a condescending look to solidify my contempt for all things sports. The madness in my eyes was evident, so they nodded in caution.

   Bobby was feeling apprehensive, not saying much. Usually he’s the one rambling on like a coke addict about absolutely nothing. Panic had arrived in Brookline.

   Five beers later I took off to the bathroom. My first massive piss of the night was aimed in his grungy bathtub. I felt at one with the steam that ascended from the urine. She’s been gone for over a week, and with her, my happiness, muse and all around wellbeing.

   Joey stopped me at the bottom of the steps saying, “Mario, this is boring as fuck. These dudes are all lame, and I haven’t drank shit beer in months. What’s the chances of any girls showing up?”

   I pointed to the hole in the ceiling, assuring him it’s a bring your own policy. And that even then he better be careful. This place has a reputation for scaring off the most liberalized women available.

   We made our way back to the beer, then back to the table of men talking about other men. Frank Sinatra was still singing.

   “So what’s new, man?” said Bobby.

   “Well,” I said. “I’ve been jerking myself off to oblivion, losing sleep and putting cigarettes out my arm. Life is a beautiful fucking thing.”

   The crowd looked worried after my words. I stood up from my seat, lit a cigarette and began to pace back an fourth.

   “It’s all bullshit,” I declared. “Once you’ve finally attained a piece of sunshine, it’s only a matter of time before it’s lost in the shadows. Funny how greatness can turn into shit, and be flushed down the toilet, leaving nothing but a faint odor!”

   “Mario, it’ll get better. Just try to forget about her, man,” pleaded Bobby.

   I took my unopened beer can, and wailed at him, screaming “I fucking told you not to bring her up!”

   The beer hit the wall, exploding all over Bobby and the sports enthusiasts he called friends.

   Bobby screamed out, “Mario, what the fuck are doing, man?”

   “I’m crashing your fucking party, asshole!”

   Joey stood up and flipped the table onto the floor. The crowd was covered in ashes, beer and debris.

   I punched a hole in the wall next to the record player. It felt wonderful. I lost a piece of resentment in the drywall.

   All his friends scurried out the back door as fast they could to the safety of their Toyota Camry’s or Ford Escort’s.

   Most people cower away from violent situations. His friends were those type of people.

   After that I chased Bobby out of his own house. His absence was my elation.

   Joey and I laughed like degenerate assholes at the destruction we caused. I heard sirens coming closer, so we grabbed the rest of the beer and made our escape. Not before leaving close to an ounce of weed scattered in plain site all over the floor.



Michael Marrotti is an author from Pittsburgh with a chemical imbalance and lack of patience. His writing has propagated the small press like chlamydia in Beechview. He’s been faithfully volunteering at the Light Of Life Rescue Mission for the past three years now, the man believes in action. Check him out at

© Michael Marrotti


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