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Book Excerpt: Hangover Breakfasts by Nathan Graziano

Later this month Drunk Monkeys staff writer Nathan Graziano will have his second book published, an interconnected series of prose pieces titled Hangover Breakfasts. The collection will be published by Bottle of Smoke Press, in a limited edition hand-crafted paperback edition. Here we are proud to present one of the pieces, “Bad News”, to whet your appetite. The book can be ordered here.

Bad News

The day we moved into the lake house in late-August, before anything unpleasant was unpacked, I stopped at the liquor store off I-93 and saw Jill buying a bottle of Captain Morgan’s spiced rum. My college roommate’s ex, Jill was stunning—her skin bronzed from the summer, her long black hair pulled back in a delicious clip, a rollercoaster body. We hugged, chatted, and decided to go to my new place for drinks on the back porch that looked out on Lake Winona.

“There’s something I have to talk to you about,” Jill said as we got into our cars.

On the ride to the lake house, my imagination revved. Jill was in my rearview mirror, following me. While I have never been able to say it—until now—I loved Jill like an eye loves a blinding light, a masochistic love. Once, when my roommate was asleep, I stumbled into the bathroom at three a.m., drunk and needing to vomit. There, I found Jill in a black bra and panties, spilled like a perfect puddle, on the bathroom floor. I helped her sit upright and held her hair while she puked then she rubbed my back while I emptied my own guts.

Jill followed me down the dirt road leading to the lake house I was renting with Ray, his sister Tess, and Briana, his friend from work. No one was home, so Jill and I fixed stiff drinks and sipped them on the porch, the water rippling in the breeze.

“Asra has been cheating on you,” Jill said, both of us wearing sunglasses and staring at the small sparkles jumping off the water’s surface.

“I know.”

“I’m sorry,” she said. “You deserve better.”

And, Jill, what if I kissed you? Would our bodies have dissipated and we become sparkles on the lake’s surface, two specks leaping among everything horrible yet still so very beautiful?

Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester, New Hampshire. He is the author of three collections of poetry—Not So Profound (Green Bean Press, 2003), Teaching Metaphors(Sunnyoutside Press, 2007) andAfter the Honeymoon (Sunnyoutside Press, 2009)—a collection of short stories, Frostbite (GBP, 2002), and several chapbooks of fiction and poetry. He has an MFA in fiction writing from The University of New Hampshire and teaches high school. A chapbook of short prose pieces titledHangover Breakfasts will be published by Bottle of Smoke Press this monthr. For more information, visit his website at