Regrets by Alan Catlin

Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again
Too few to mention….”
  “My Way”

Somehow he conversation at the bar
devolved, as conversation there always
do, into one of those totally politically
incorrect topics.  In this case it was
“My Most Memorable DWI’s.”
The other day guy says, looking at me
behind the wood, as if it were all my fault,
“I was working for you. You were out
with a stubbed toe or a hang nail or
something and I was still half-in-the-
bag from the night before.
Man, what a long day: just me and Moron
for hours until the after work crowd
began filtering in. At least, then, I had
someone half way normal to talk to.
I might have snuck a couple of pops
during the day to take the edge off.
I might have murdered Moron otherwise
By the time I finished my after shift drink
and had a couple of snorts with the regulars
I was pretty lit. I still thought I was Ok
to drive. Hell, it was only like five miles
to the woman I was seeing house.
And in a  straight line but it was through
Indian Country, Guilderland, home of
the world’s most vigilant highway police.
Hell, if Moron could do it, like every day
and over the river too, and only got stopped
once that we know of, well that’s another story.
So off I go. Couldn’t have been a hundred
yards over the town line and the gum ball
lights go on. ‘Well, I said to myself,
we’re cooked now.’ I had a prior still on
record.  Little did I know just how cooked
I was. After they got me out of the car
and gave me the machine to blow into,
I figured the worst that could happen was
I’d do a night in jail and a hefty fine to
deal with. Ha! Little did I know.
So I’m sitting in the back seat of the cop car
kind of zoning in and out as you do when
your pasted when the cop saunters up to me
and says, ‘Son, you just blew a 4.0.
Do you know what that means?
For me it’s a personal record but for you
it’s bad news. What I’m hearing over the radio
is that you should either be comatose or dead.
You’re not comatose or dead, are you?’
‘Not that I know of.’
‘Well, we’re going to have to take you in.
But it won’t be to the station. No, you’re so
special we’re going to take you to ER
so you can have your stomach pumped.
You heard that part about comatose or dead, right?’
‘Yes, sir.’
‘So now, if you ever sober up I want you
to remember one thing. I’ll write it down
for you so there will be no excuses about
a memory gap. Don’t ever even so much
as think about driving in my town again
with so much as an ounce of alcohol in your system.
Got that?’
‘Yes, sir, I got it.’
That was a real expensive day working for you.
What with the legal fees, the fine, the ER visit,
lost time at work, You know, the whole nine yards.”
And it was all my fault?
“Someone has to take the blame.”
“Remind me to make an extra donation to
the World Wildlife Fund in your name.
That should just about even the score.”

Alan Catlin
Alan Catlin is the poetry editor of His latest books of poetry are American Odyssey from Future Cycle and Last Man Standing from Lummox Press

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