OK so I am drunk in here alone again. But this time it’s not my fault. Someone left a bottle of wine on my counter last week. I don’t remember who, because I was drunk when that happened too. She left other things as well, like blood on my sheets and a pair of panties bundled up behind the headboard of my bed. Who was she? Later that same morning, after I woke up and found her departure marked by my open apartment door, I noticed a note with my name written on it that had been taped to the window of my building. It was a love-letter from a man I didn’t remember meeting. I loosened my tie while I walked through the ghetto reading it, simultaneously afraid that its author was watching me from within the tinted compartment of any of those parked cars. Does hypnosis really work? It must have worked on Janet – she won’t stop calling me now. But, if someone used it on me, would it help me to remember what Janet looked like—so I could decide whether or not I wanted to answer my phone?—or who this Ben character is that wants to have coffee with me, and what I said to him that made him think I would, and how he knew where my house was? Sometimes I’m afraid of alcohol. Yeah but sometimes I’m afraid of my own street late at night. It doesn’t mean I’m going to stop living here. The other night when I was drunk a black man emerged from a dark alleyway just as I passed it and then he began to follow me. I believe he intended to rob me. I stopped walking, stepped to the edge of the sidewalk, pressed my back against the wall of a building, removed my jacket, flexed my arm-muscles and stared at him. He immediately crossed to the other side of the street and vanished into the unlit courtyard of a building there. I had a flask in my pocket that I removed and swigged from. I waited out there for a minute on the silent street before walking the rest of the way home. I have four direct relatives who died from heart and liver complications thought to have stemmed from alcoholism. But that doesn’t matter to me either, not yet. Sometimes you have to ask yourself what does matter to you. It’s pretty easy to see that everything is inherently meaningless. But if you’re going to keep breathing blinking pissing and all the rest you might as well draw a line in the sand at some point and say, “I’ve decided this is meaningful.” For me it’s: keeping my apartment clean, not biting off small pieces of my tongue too often, lifting weights in different ways so that my muscles develop definition, not masturbating more than three times each week, not backing down from a fight, trying hard at my job and not wasting time thinking too much about women. I am better at some of these than others, but the point is, they all matter [IE are of importance; have significance]. I don’t include writing in this list right now. It does not mean that much to me lately (all these books piled around my apartment). I get depressed when I quantify the human effort that goes into arranging words. OK maybe not depressed, but I get tired. Although that, like the blood on my sheets, could also just be the wine.