I stood in the shadows between the pool cues and a table occupied by a lone drunk. The drunk was staring, dumbfounded at me as he had been for the better part of half an hour, but I wasn’t bothered. Everybody stared, and the drunks stared more than the rest, since they had lost every vestige of self-respect that would have caused a pang of guilt to assault them for staring at a freak like me. I’ve gotten used to the stares. It’s the overwhelming number of drunks that bothers me.
In this Godforsaken country, if you couldn’t handle the stress of working at the plant, you turned to drink. It happened to everyone after awhile. When there’s only one game in town, they make the rules, and those rules were ruthless. Twenty-four hour shifts every day of the week. Ten hours between them to sleep, or, more commonly, drink until you finally fell into some sort of unconsciousness. No breaks, no meals, no excuses. You drank to keep the sting of a worthless life from getting to you. Finally, when the drink stopped working, you would just walk outside, into the cold, and die.