I pour myself another whiskey and Coke--my fourth tonight—and ramble like my brother Michael when he skips his meds: Frankly, I'm not sure I can hear one more story about the beauty within decay; I'm thinking about how the tracks that run down your dead mother's arm remind you of a string of Christmas lights; how you thought it was an innocent action when you pulled your skirt up over your head for the neighborhood boys, because your best friend's father slipped both of you into his bed. Your favorite word is dystopian, and honestly, I'm a little tired of it, your dark alleys and rough streets, who murdered who, and how David hung himself from the rafters of your parent's garage: I have ten fingers and I can name each one for every suicide. Not everything is an injustice. I give you the bottle and you swig like it's strawberry soda, this is the way it's always been. You drink because life is unbearable, and when you quit, it's not because your life has gotten any better, it's because the hangovers have gotten worse. Look, I say, I'm just as rotten as you are.

Val Dering Rojas
Collected Stories of Raymond Carver