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Not The Event, But Certainly An Event, Which Led To My Current Alcoholism

We knew about the campsite through some sort of teenage folklore, passed down through generations of kids who needed breaks from their parents and school. We trekked back a softly muddy, narrow path. Thick pine needles slapped our faces as we towed forbidden coolers. Just when I was beginning to break a sweat, we reached total seclusion: a cliff off the back and dense forest surrounding. The nighttime was black.

We were young and teeming with hormones. Prompt as a school bell, we cracked open beer cans and took off our shirts. Through alcohol and skinny dipping we explored others’ bodies, our own bodies.

“We need girls,” my friend with the precipice of a mustache said. Magically, like the alcohol, girls appeared. They got drunk.

My susceptibility to peer pressure was best evidenced by my becoming more inebriated than ever before in my short life. So when my friends told me how hot these girls I’d never thought of before were, I believed them. Suddenly my friends’ rambunctious randyness made sense.

And then everyone disappeared, bodies stacked on bodies in tents, heaving silhouettes revealing their intentions. I offered Heidi Pitts, somehow still outside with me, a beer, and before I could open it we were under a picnic table, the last place on Earth, my hand against the wire of her bra.

“Wait,” she said, pressing the abundance of my face flesh back in restraint. “Tell me I’m pretty.”

Pretty or not wasn’t something I’d considered. I thought about this and then I mumbled back, like speaking through a stretched rubber band, “You have a nice face, but you could use a new body,” oblivious to my own heaving bosoms. After she ran away crying, I could only get drunker, alone and drunk enough to throw firewood at approaching hungry raccoons.

-Mike Bahl, from the forthcoming “Scenic Utah”