Trying to Hold my Tongue Three Beers Deep with an Impatient Russian

I go through a bottle of vodka and three glasses of beer with my new friend Ivan.

Ivan is red-faced. “Let us talk about something interesting!” he says, slamming his fist down on the table between us.

“Something interesting?” I ask.

He nods again, with a hard frown, and says: “Yes, I want to talk about interesting things.”

There is silence. I take a sip of my beer and think. Ivan begins to list off things the finds interesting.

“Poetry, literature, science…”

Many of them I know a little about.

I open my mouth to say something—something absolutely fascinating—I’m sure of it. As I do, I hear a plop. A few droplets of liquid splash onto my chin. I look down through the amber fizzles of my beer and see my tongue sitting at the bottom of my glass.

I look back at Ivan. His face is getting redder and redder as he lists off more things on his fingers, he finds interesting, waiting for me to participate.

I nod vigorously and try to say something, but only manage a garbled moan.

I slip two fingers into the glass and try to fish out my tongue.

“History, mathematics, economics,” Ivan continues.

My tongue is flat and soggy at the bottom of the deep glass. My fingers barely graze the top of it.

“Physics! Astronomy! Technology!”

I knew a bit about all of those things, too. I’d recently read a book on Entropy, and an article about some company trying to download brains into computers. Surely, that would be interesting.

I go for a fork lying on the table. I continue to nod and make gurgling sounds in the hopes that it will just look like I am waiting for my moment.

I dip the fork in and drag the tongue halfway to the surface. It slides off and floats to the bottom. I don’t want to stab it, so I try to press my tongue against the wall of my glass with the butt-end of the fork, then try to grab it with my fingers.

“You treacherous little fucker!” I try to say, only managing more wet gurgles.

I nearly snag it, but the glass is too narrow, and I almost knock it over.

Finally, I pick up the glass and, hesitating only a moment, chug it down. The tongue slides in through my lips, passes its stop, and down my throat. I nearly gag.

“Philosophy, do you know anything about philosophy!?” Ivan snaps his attention back to me.

“Uh-huh-uh-mmh, hmm, uh,” I manage, drooling a bit from the corner of my mouth.

Ivan glares at me, takes the rest of his beer down in one gulp, says, “stupid American,” and storms off. 

Benjamin Davis is an American writer living somewhere outside of America. His short works can be found in Maudlin House, Star 82 Review, Cease Cows, 5X5, Defenestration, Three Drops Press and elsewhere. 

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