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Drink Me

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Maybe it would have been wise to stay in Morocco. There's drink there--no faith's ever wiped out a vice--but not as much as here. Here, in this place the boy calls home and Haddock can only think of as ashore, there's a great inland sea of alcohol. Shops full of it, a bottle on every table, and if you don't take wine at dinner people think you're odd.

Morocco would've been easier, but the boy, for all his adventuring spirit, wanted to come home. So Haddock followed. He can't trust himself to stay sober away from Tintin. Away from Tintin, he's got no reason to.

Sometimes he remembers his hallucination in the desert. He was so terribly thirsty, and Tintin was a bottle of choicest champagne, cool and clean for a parched throat to drink.

Tintin is a cool clean boy, smooth, fresh, and delightful. And Haddock is dreaming still; his mouth goes dry at the sight of Tintin, his veins burn, his whole body's a desert aching for moisture. Not even the wine smell outside cafés torments him so. If he could just lay his hand on that sleek unyielding neck, just coax him open and taste him . . . oh, he'd never be thirsty again.

There's no curing a drunk, people say. He'll only find a new intoxication. The respectable ones go mad for God or politics, the contemptible ones descend to whoring or gourmandising. But this . . . people would have more respect for the lowest filthy drunk begging centimes by the docks.

He ought to go to Morocco. Or to his ship. Hire a new crew of handsome sailors and then drink himself into indifference to them. To Tintin.

But he is so thirsty, and the drink he needs is so near.