“Enjoy your hangover.”
Blaine’s eyes lazily followed the heel of Liv’s boot as she ascended the stairs and out of sight, then turned back to the feast he’d spread out on the table. Probably hadn’t been the best idea to open everything at once, but it wasn’t like he’d care if it was cold after another bottle. He’d spent most of his adolescence snatching dusty vintages from his father’s wine cellar, curling up in his room with whatever he could scrounge from the kitchen and drinking straight from the bottle until he was too drunk to stay awake. Now, sitting in the basement of the funeral home, Blaine felt a rush of nostalgia as he pulled an order of Peking duck into his lap, his fourth full size container. Thank god for delivery.
This was his third last meal in as many days. Ever since his father’s threat of the scratch, Blaine had been trying to cram as many hedonistic pleasures into as few days as possible. There was no telling when he might suddenly be zombified and after this brief reprieve from eating brains, he’d rather kill himself than go back.
A low gurgle rose from his stomach and he palmed at the ache that spread through his abdomen. It was still a little sore from all the pasta he’d stuffed down the previous evening, but that pain was nothing compared to the pain of not being able to eat at all. If Blaine was going to feel shitty, he was going to feel shitty on his own terms.
God, he’d missed this. Even three months of catch up was nothing compared to the year he’d spent eating brains and nothing else. He missed wine. He missed everything about eating except for the fact that eventually he’d have to stop or risk getting sick. In Rome, the aristocracy stuck feathers down their throats to purge so they could continue feasting. He’d be lying if he said he hadn’t thought about it, but the idea of all that food coming back up seemed wasteful and disgusting. Besides, he should have learned to listen to his body by now.
His stomach groaned again and Blaine sighed, put down the now empty plastic container.
“Okay, okay. I hear you.” He slipped a hand under his shirt and rubbed at the space above his belly button, swallowing a belch. “I’m stopping.”
Being full was not conducive to a good last meal. Death row inmates always requested mountains of food. Timothy McVeigh ordered two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Gacy ate a dozen shrimp and a bucket of KFC fried chicken. There was something vaguely dignified about going to the chair with a belly full of good food. It wasn’t as if Blaine was going to be executed, not really, but every single one of his tastebuds were. Might as well give them their last rights.
Okay. Wine. He could handle a little more of that, right? Blaine propped a twelve year old bottle of Riesling between his knees and dug the corkscrew in a little unsteadily. It would taste like iodine to his father, so why waste it? It’s not like he would notice among the hundreds of bottles in the cellar.
“Sick?” His father would always ask when fourteen year old Blaine stumbled down the stairs on the mornings after he’d stolen a bottle. Blaine would nod, duck his blond head and rummage around in the fridge for a bottle of water before sneaking back upstairs to chase it with five or six aspirin.
“You wouldn’t happen to know what happened to my ‘07 Trimbach, would you?”
“And if I stuck my fingers down your throat, you wouldn’t purge $150 from your useless little insides?”
“Let’s find out then, shall we?”
At least two dozen of his mornings ended like this, with Blaine curled over the toilet, pale and shaking with his father holding a fistful of his hair. He didn’t stop stealing bottles and his father didn’t stop forcing them out, leaving him coiled as tight as a pillbug on the bathroom tiles. Blaine chased the memory with a gulp of Riesling and an egg roll, feeling his stomach stretch with every mouthful.
“Boss?” Blaine didn’t look up as Don E. came through the employees entrance. “We having a party?”
“Something like that.”
“God, did you…” Don E. lifted a bottle from the table. “Did you drink all of these?”
“Mhm.” The combination of wine and rich Chinese food was starting to have an effect on his eyelids.
“Dude, you must be trashed. How are you still awake?”
“High tolerance.” Blaine reached for the dish of crab rangoon, popped on his his mouth.
“Uh, yeah, the highest. You’re gonna eat all this?”
“I’m gonna try.”
“Mind if I…?” Don E. reached for an egg roll.
“Knock yourself out. Gonna have to call it quits soon.” Blaine leaned back in his chair and rested both hands on his stomach, feeling how uncomfortably full it was under his shirt. He was still pretty slim despite his three month long binge. At least he had his father to thank for that. If anything, the brains put more weight on him than anything. Something about being undead really killed your metabolism.
“Your dad wants that guy’s son by the end of this week. Do you know how we’re gonna do it yet?”
“Mm.” He tilted his head over the back of the chair and closed his eyes. “Yup.”
“Care to enlighten me?”
“At some point when I’m not about to fall asleep.”
“Can I take this General Tso’s with me?”
“Mhm.” He listened to Don E. walk towards the employee door and close the door behind him before straightening up. A cramp spread across his belly at the sudden movement and he winced and kneaded his thumb into the sore spot. He didn’t want to stop, not really, but it was becoming clear that he couldn’t force down another mouthful, much less the contents of the rest of the containers. Blaine sighed and started popping plastic tops back onto the leftovers in front of him. He’d get to them later, once he stopped feeling like he’d swallowed a ton of cement.
When he was a kid, Blaine stole the bottles only in part to spite his father. Going to bed on an empty stomach meant a long night of staring at the ceiling and watching the digital numbers change minute after minute on the clock sitting on his bedside table. With a bottle of wine and a sandwich or leftovers in him, he slept much easier. It got to the point that whenever he was full, his brain automatically assumed that it was time to go to sleep. Blaine yawned, palmed at his stomach. Now if only he had a couch to crash on like Ravi’s in the morgue.
Caskets. Now there was an idea. Blaine pushed himself to his feet, bracing himself on the table when the floor wobbled under him. There was a whole room of them in the basement. So much luxury for a corpse. It would be better than putting his head down on stainless steel, anyway.
The inside of the casket was cool and soft, and Blaine propped open the lid before climbing in. He could probably close it partway without clicking the lid shut and sure enough, a thin crack of light shone through the opening of the casket. Blaine turned over onto his side, one hand massaging his stomach. Funny how he’d only gotten into a coffin when he came back to life. His eyes were getting more and more difficult to hold open and before he knew it, he was curled up against the wall of the casket, a warm body in a basement full of cold ones.