Ritual Terror: A Month in Review

Ritual Terror: A Month in Review


Manz DeFio

March: a month of fresh beginnings, the promise of improving weather, smiles to be found on the city streets, new-born lawnmowers humming in the distance; producing the ever-pleasing odour of cut grass. The days are a prelude to summer laziness; iced glasses of booze in the garden, girls’ dresses lifting lightly in the breeze, tramps sleeping dangerously close to the water’s edge. But I’m getting distracted by the future. Did March deliver? Did I even have any expectations to begin with?
There’s a sailor who eats
Only fish-heads and tails
He will show you his teeth
That have rotted too soon

Financially speaking, the month has been perilous. Food needs have taken a back seat as, once again, I’ve been unable to shake the preposterous urge to consume the tropical spirit Rum. Last month, I dabbled in it; this month, it’s been coursing through my veins like sewer-water underneath a metropolis. Invariably, as I wander the shopping aisles loading cheap mince, kidney beans and toilet roll into my basket, my body begins to gravitate towards the drink section. It’s nothing short of instinct. Before I know it, I am staring at row upon row of shining fluids, and without fail my eyes are drawn further downwards towards the sparse blue and white label of Kinsey Rum. Decadent papa Kinsey, squatting in his glum and dusty domain, singing his putrid hushed ballad that my poor ears have not yet learned to dismiss. If we had the climate to grow sugar-cane, you can be certain that there would be reams of it standing tall in the back garden. Subsistence drinking: a simple, yet far-away dream.

The general health of the apartment took a turn for the worst this month. The immersion heater gave up, the washing machine began to incrementally fall apart and the toilet became monstrously clogged up. I awoke one morning, obscenely hung-over, to the sound of water splashing on porcelain. I stumbled towards the source of the noise and to my absolute horror discovered that the toilet had transformed into a hideous, perverted fountain. Shit-infested water was spewing all over the floor. To make matters worse, the water was steaming hot, being thrown back up the pipes from the shower upstairs. It pains me too much to dwell on it any further.

Adding to all of this domestic misery, the circuit breakers tripped for no apparent reason numerous times. If I was a religious man, I would have fallen to my knees and assumed The Lord God was punishing me for sitting around drinking all day and treating my neighbours with derision. As it happened, my house-mates and I, upon pulling various appliances out of the way, discovered a deadly extension lead under the sink, dripping with water, which was powering half the kitchen. The only logical conclusion: A team of Boom-Era animals wired the place under a cloud of fine whisky and mind-bending narcotics, all the while laughing and braying, wiping drool from their asinine lips with silk handkerchiefs.

But the month was by no means an exclusively depressing affair. Despite the ever-present burden of a near-empty wallet, I managed to grace the pubs and clubs numerous times. The key to this behaviour, as any moderate-to-obscene drinker knows, is to drink as much as possible in the home and take the rest out on the town with you, concealed in as many bottles and pockets as dignity will allow. A most wonderful discovery was the Cabernet Sauvignon on sale in Lidl for €4.79. It was like walking into a dimension where the shopkeepers don’t always try and whip every last coin from the drunkard’s pocket. Armed with this juice of the vine, and lubricated further with toxic rum, I scoured the evening beer gardens like a beast let loose from the confines of a zoo cell.

When I grow too old to dream,
I’ll have you to remember, my dear.

The pinnacle of March for many is Saint Patrick’s day. Myself, I equate the holiday entirely with the consumption and abuse of alcohol and any other available substance, and have done since I first put a tin of cider to my lips under the light of a summer moon in a country field many years ago. I decided that 1pm, Saturday 16th of March was the perfect moment to lash into the rum. I poured my drinks tall and proud, and set off on my patriotic trip into the bowels of degeneracy. Seven hours later, I was stuck in the corner of a couch, preaching obscenities to those in my vicinity. With most of the bottle consumed, it occurred to me to eat two pills of MDMA. For some reason, I completely dismissed the notion that one pill would be enough. It didn’t take long for the effects to kick in.

My memories from the night are hazy at best. I remember standing in the bathroom, smiling, turning the light on and off in order to observe my pupils. I was trying to see if they were dilated or not, trying to determine if the pills had kicked in. I began to travel around the sitting-room, the urgent need to engage everyone in conversation completely overwhelming me. I decided to hit the town with some friends. The journey there and back, along with the majority of the time I spent outside of the house, is a ferocious blank. To try and describe it in any meaningful detail would be utterly futile. I have vague recollections of dragging a collapsed comrade down a flight of stairs, terrible flashbacks of endless chattering and jaw clenching. The memories pick up again with me in the sitting room, sipping at the dregs of the rum bottle and shoving more MDMA into my system.

Of course, there was no hope of sleep, so I planted myself in a chair, opened a fresh bottle of wine and sat listening to music. When morning rolled around, my mind was completely torn in half. Vivid hallucinations haunted my vision. Floating Pi symbols, ghost-like pairs of glasses appearing and disappearing over friends’ eyes… People’s faces were becoming pixelated, nothing but gibberish was spewing from their digital lips. I sat like this for hours, at times enjoying the rare trip, but for some reason my brain kept on trying to rationalise what it was experiencing, which only served to cause intermittent spasms of animal fear. Eventually, I retired to bed, and managed to obtain three glorious hours of slumber.


It’s been tough on the system, but I crawled through the month relatively unscathed. April has arrived at last, and as I walked around the city earlier today, the sun blazing down from a cloudless sky, I observed residents happily conversing on street corners, birds singing on wires overhead, and I watched a stray dog obtain a satisfied belly due to a school-boy’s sausage-roll benefaction. My hangover shrivelled to a mere buzz in the back of my mind and I can tell you, if I had a bottle of good whisky in my possession this evening, I’m certain an album’s worth of beach ballads would come into existence before the dawn sun appeared.

Yes, March is dead and gone, may it rest in the empty rum bottles that lay scattered on my floor. I will gather them up tomorrow, place them in a plastic bag and hide them from my sight.

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