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Did you ever wake up to find
A day that broke up your mind
Destroyed your notion of circular time?

The moment his eyeballs clicked open he could tell something was wrong. He turned his head upward and was greeted by the glare of the morning sun that seemingly burned a hole in his retina. He turned his thoughts inward and thought to himself, “Jesus Christ, not again, not another cheap fuckin’ hotel room.”

How many times had he woke up in a place that was not his own? How many times had he made the same false promises to himself that he’d lay off the booze and the coke and that he’d try and walk the straight and narrow?

It’s not like he was going to turn his life over to God or anything but there just had to be a better way. Some other form of inner peace that wasn’t to be found at the bottom of a bottle of Jack or through the end of a straw.

He fumbled through his pockets and was pleasantly surprised to find three or four crumbled up twenties. It didn’t usually happen that way. He figured a quick jump in the shower would go a long way to wash the scent of stale booze from his body and jump start his senses so that for at least one day, he could become a so-called “productive member of society”.

Whatever the hell that means.

After toweling off and getting dressed he decided it was time to venture outside. To his left, he saw the yellow sign of a Waffle House, to his right, the neon sign of a dive bar just getting ready to open and serve the morning clientele and cure them of the shakes.

What choice did he have?

It's just that demon life has got you in its sway
It's just that demon life has got you in its sway

“Hey bartender, fix me up a Bloody Mary, not too spicy and hold the goddamn celery stick. My body ain’t ready for food just yet”.

He manages to nurse down one or two while staring at the cheap television above the bar. Fuckin’ CNN going on about all the problems in the world in countries he couldn’t find on a map if he tried. He tuned it out. He had his own problems to deal with.

The Bloody Mary’s weren’t doing the trick and it isn’t long before he graduates to his favorite form of poison. A beer and a shot (make it a double) go a long way to helping him forget his past and not worry about his future.

Pleasantly numb is a nice way to be.

Ain't flinging tears out on the dusty ground
For all my friends out on the burial ground
Can't stand the feeling getting so brought down

The bar was soon full of strangers but they wouldn’t be strangers for long. Booze and tales of woe are common among hard core drunks and it wasn’t long before the bar had become a factory of sorts. A factory where everybody took their turn at the machine and churned out stories that became merchandise to be exchanged amongst them.

After listening to these tales and buying a round for the other patrons he decided it was time to tell his own story about how he came to be what he was. It was time to put his merchandise on the table and see if anybody would buy it.

It's just that demon life has got me in its sway
It's just that demon life has got me in its sway

Life started out good. A loving mother, a devoted father and a hand full of brothers and sisters all ensconced behind a white picket fence on the outskirts of Suburbia, USA.

School was good too. He made friends easily and got along with just about everybody he met. He was one of those so-called “naturals”. You know the type, they’re the ones who could succeed at life without ever really trying. While the rest of the world breaks their balls trying to fit in, they glide through it as if on ice. They’re the lucky ones.

And then, he met her.

There must be ways to find out
Love is the way they say is real, startin' out

For him at least, it was love at first sight. For her, it was just another step on the journey, another rung on the ladder to climb in order to go higher and higher.

He tried to cater to her every whim regardless of how reckless they seemed. He’d do anything to hold her attention and win her affection. Betray a friendship, no problem. Rob a liquor store and steal a car just for the sheer thrill of not getting caught, easy as pie.

Wander downtown to score some drugs? Not an issue.

Whatever friends he had left tried to warn him that he was headed down a slippery slope. This girl had turned him into something he was not, someone they didn’t recognize anymore.

But he was in denial. What the fuck did they know about true love?

Until one day…

Hey, hey, hey now
One day I woke up to find
Right in the bed next to mine
Someone that broke me up with the corner of her smile, yeah

They decided to take a weekend off and travel a ways to some small town that was off the beaten path called Anywhere, USA. Before they left they loaded up with an eight ball of coke and enough booze for a week. They checked in to a no tell motel and decided to take in the local scenery. It wasn’t long before they ducked into the local saloon .

They talked a up a few of the regulars and it wasn’t long before they invited them back to the motel to get down to some serious partying. After a few hours of hard core booze the coke didn’t seem to have any effect on him and he passed out in one of the twin beds that the room provided.

He awoke an hour or two later to the sounds of grunting and groaning and watched in disbelief as his beloved was in the process of mounting a stranger. He closed his eyes and tried to make the image go away but it continued for another twenty minutes or so and the sound of her orgasm shattered his senses.

He laid there silently as the stranger got dressed and left, probably to brag about his exploits to the other locals. You know how small town gossip goes. He got up and feigned ignorance about the whole thing but inside he was seething.

Her back was turned to him and she rolled over, smiled, looked at him and said:

”I love you so much” and rolled back and drifted off to sleep.

It's just that demon life has got me in its sway
It's just that demon life has got me in its sway

When he was sure she was asleep he got up and plucked the razor blade they used to chop lines from the mirror.

He stood over her sleeping body and just watched her breath. He thought about how it easy it would be.

It's just that demon life has got me in its sway
It's just that demon life has got me in its sway

Instead, he left the room and drove off. He didn’t return home, he didn’t return to himself. He didn’t return anywhere. He became what he is today.

It's just that demon life has got me in its sway.

So now he drinks not to forget but instead to remember. To remember back to a single solitary moment that had it gone the other way might have turned his life into a death sentence rather than the factory of sadness it had become.

The end

There’s a couple of things that should be noted. This story is purely fictional but the term “A factory of sadness’ does indeed refer to something in real life. Unfortunately it’s a reference to Cleveland, Ohio and their inability to field a winning team in any of the major sports for God knows how long. May that too come to a fitting end in the near future.

Secondly, the lyrics come from The Rolling Stones and their fine tune called “Sway” which was recorded on the album Sticky Fingers way back in 1971. Also fittingly, the guitar solo at the end sends chills up my spine and gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. If you haven’t given it a listen, you should.

Happy Halloween!

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