Gifted by Phil LaMancusa
It was a dark and stormy night. Literally. I was nursing a bad liver and a broken heart a week before Christmas; going to assuage my heartbreak by making some Christmas pudding, and having procured a bottle of brandy for the recipe. Cheap brandy.
One hell of a storm put an end to that enterprise by issuing a lightning bolt the size of Cinemascope, effectively killing the electricity in households as far as the eye could see. The phone rings and it is her; asking after my welfare. What am I to say: “I’m f**king miserable”? Not me, not after a ruinous affair in which she gets off Scott free and I get the dirty end of the stick.
I ring off and open the bottle.
Eight hours later I wake up gibbering like a gibbon, being held to a chair by four people. I’ve had a black out, scared everyone in the house out and was captured heading for my car. Somebody gives me a phone number to call.
I call and was told that the service is free and that I can learn a lot about myself; I begin with the introduction “Hello, my name is Phil and I’m an alcoholic.” My best Christmas gift is a little wooden nickel that proclaimed that I had sobered up.