It’s a quarter to vomit and your throat feels like it’s being made love to by an enraged pumice stone.
The air hangs like a miserable, malevolent curtain, swirling visibly as the establishment’s patrons ghoul about to the rhythm of some anonymous drone.
The guys you hit the town with have either gone home with what may have been a group of oriental seafarers or had their necks punctured with a broken pool cue.
You’d leave, but finding the door is rendered impossible by the seemingly endless trickle of a cloudy moisture flowing like putrid lava from your inflamed retinas. Is this a result of the crystalline powder you snorted off the rim of a toilet bowl earlier? It seems likely.
You order another drink and offer to pay for it with a perilously wide range of personal services. The bartender is hip to your implication and fetches you a tequila and a slippery smirk.
It’s been a jagged night at the tail end of an evil week.
And then, minutes before you reach a state you’d previously heard enlightened people describe as ‘rock bottom’… something special happens.
Just like one would accidentally recognise a forgotten expression on the face of a long lost friend, you notice, there, on the far side of the room, through the haze of airborne cancer and the slobber of optical discharge, something that, against all odds, reminds you of your humanity.
A troubling thing.
Something in need of your academic intervention.
A grammatically incorrect handwritten sign.
You disaster your way to the far side of the room, making little effort to avoid contact with furniture encountered along the way. Drawn by the sign, and its assurance of redemption, like a Millennium Falcon caught in a tractor beam.
You may be mere hours away from a narcotics-induced aneurysm, but you refuse to see why this should inhibit your impulse… nay… your damn RESPONSIBILITY to introduce order to the linguistic bedlam that some brigand has inflicted upon the establishment’s wall.
You claw around in your pockets, searching for the partially dissolved red crayon you’d wrestled away from a bewildered street dweller at a time when you’d possessed equilibrium to do so.
You find it and, with a triumphant bark, scribble the correction into the offending message.
After admiring your accomplishment, and making a somewhat formless attempt at drawing attention to it, you crash your way back to the bar counter. You sit down again, never taking your eyes off the renovated message; smug in the knowledge that you have, despite significant handicaps, done your bit for the preservation of English.
You spend the rest of the night fantasising about the fame that is sure to follow. And bleeding internally.