“The Alcoholist,” by Bill Gaston
Appeared in EVENT, volume 29.2, summer 2000; collected in Mount Appetite
Somewhat over 7 pages in this issue, ? words
(Spoilers ahead.) I must have read this story not long after it came out, when I was very young, and I remember sensing a certain heady adolescent romance about it. The hypersensitive genius going up against corporate stupidity, dying from the impurities of this world, drinking the exquisite pleasure of his own death. I was unsure then, as I am now, whether to take van Luven’s genius at face value (the way a part of me wants to take it) or to see him as brilliant but delusional, an alcoholic incapable of even accepting responsibility for his cirrhosis. Maybe it isn’t necessary to choose one or the other.