As a result of the binge drinking his long suffering girlfriend finally left him and our wider social group started to exclude him. Even close friends, fed up with looking out for him, became reluctant go socialize with him. Mike started to drift away.
About the same time sapling trees, recently planted in the street, mysteriously started to get vandalised in the middle of the night. As the weeks went by more and more trees were broken in half or knocked over completely. The damaged plants radiated out down each side of the street from the house the boys shared but no one was owning up. One morning we woke up and found Mike’s car backed into a tree, where he had abandoned it, being far too drunk to drive away and park further down the street to avoid detection . The culprit, when he finally emerged from his pit, fessed up to being the tree-killer but refused to admit that he was drinking and driving at the time.
Not long after we went to a party and Mike got out of hand big time. After a confrontation with one of the revellers and an argument with one of his friends who intervened, he decided to go home – by car. We took action. Jumping on him we pinned down the squirming drunken mess, three people sitting on the torso and legs, one holding the feet and the other attempting to wrest car keys from his grasp.
“Get off me you buggers, Get off me. I’m OK to drive” he slurred.
“No you’re not, your totally wasted” one of us shouted, which resulted in a serious of expletives exploding from the dishevelled bucking body on the ground and attracted the attention of large number of party goers.
“Got em” someone shouted and waved the car keys aloft.
We let go of Mike who immediately sprung up, danced around like a boxer, took a swing at the biggest person, missed, lost his balance and ended back on the ground. This time he stayed down but remained seriously pissed off. We left him to stew safe in the knowledge that we’d done the right thing and saved a tree in the process. The party wound down. Mike was nursing a sore head and feeling decidedly unwell as we loaded him into my car with apprehension, as he had a weak stomach and was renowned for throwing up at inappropriate moments. None of us were looking forward to the drive home.
“I swear to God if you throw up in the car I’ll leave you at the side of the road.” I said. “So if you feel sick let me know and I’ll stop the car.”
He nodded in agreement, we set off and 10 minutes into the journey he chucked up. I stopped, someone hauled him out of the back seat and pulled him out onto the grass verge. Unfortunately, I’ve also got a weak stomach and the smell in the car hand me lining up alongside him. I was not happy. The next day Mike, sober and repentant picked up his car. On his return he backed into one of the new plants and it snapped in two. It crossed my mind that maybe we’d misjudged him and he was just shit at parking. So much for the save the tree campaign.
He wised up – but not before he’d drifted away from his friends, jeopardized another relationship, lost his job and stripped the street bare of foliage. Eventually it came down to a simple decison, love and friendship or the drink. He made the right choice.