Better Late Than Never

Kevin Chegger was a normal man – well, as normal as any man gets. He went to college and studied commerce. He had a well paying job and a wonderful wife named Betty. She was pregnant with his son, who was to be born a month from when this story begins. The only thing that was in any way strange about Kevin Chegger was that he had never had a drink – not even a drop of alcohol. He had never even eaten anything that contained alcohol, like tiramisu or Betty’s mother’s ‘special porridge’.

Kevin never drank because of his parents. They spent his entire childhood instilling in him a fear of alcohol. They told him that it would ruin his life, that he’d never have a proper job or any friends if he was to give in to the bottle. They told him that it was addictive and he would spiral out of control with even a nanolitre of alcohol in his body. Kevin had, of course, eventually learned all of this to be untrue, but he was still unable to drink alcohol, thanks to his parents’ conditioning.

When Kevin was in college in UCD everyone tried to get him to drink, but he remained sober. He went to the student bar all the time, but he never drank anything besides coke. He went to parties and didn’t bring beer, except occasionally as a gift for the host. He even went to terrible nightclubs with his friends and remained sober for the entire stay there. All of that and he was never once curious or tempted to try a sip of sweet, sweet booze.

When Kevin began his job he went out with his workmates every Friday evening after work to the nearby pub. He never had a drink. His co-workers thought this was very strange, but eventually accepted his pioneering as a respectable quality – everyone except his boss. His boss didn’t understand Kevin’s stance because he lived by the motto, “try everything once.”

Kevin got a promotion from over his boss’ position, so Mr Mooney didn’t have anything to say about the strange sober man’s performance. Now Kevin outranked Mooney. On the night of his promotion, Kevin went out with all of his co-workers, this time it was Wednesday. Kevin again was not tempted by alcohol. Mooney was pissed about Kevin. He attacked Kevin at the bar while heavily intoxicated. He was promptly fired and ejected from the club.

Mooney, a man who lived only for his job and alcohol (and one other thing), decided that since his hellish life had just hit rock bottom he had to seek vengeance on Kevin. He had everything planned out for the next morning when Kevin came into work, without a hangover of course. Mooney assaulted Kevin in his new office and knocked him out with chloroform.

Mooney drove out into the mountains and brought Kevin to a remote field, well off the main road. In the middle of the field was a lever. A hedgehog walked out of a nearby bush towards Mooney and the now conscious Kevin.

“What the hell are you doing to me Mooney?” Kevin asked, frightened.

“Oh, I’m not going to kill you, Kevin. I’m just going to let you destroy your life.”

“Who’s this then, Darren?” the hedgehog asked.

“This is Kevin Chegger, Nate” Mooney told him. “He’s going to be taking over here.”

Kevin was very surprised to see a hedgehog talk to Mooney. He was even more surprised when Mooney took out a gun and shot himself in the head.

“What the Christ!?” Kevin screamed.

“Well, I guess you’re going to have to be the new guy,” Nate said, sighing.

Nate explained the entire situation to Kevin. The lever in the field had a single purpose: if one pulled it the world would be destroyed. Kevin found this a bit hard to believe. Nate then said that Kevin would have to get a pager out of Mooney’s pocket. If anyone came near the lever, Nate would page Kevin to come and protect it. That was Kevin’s new job.

“How am I supposed to have a normal life now?” Kevin asked.

“I thought Darren was going okay – well, up until now.” Nate said. “You’ll just have to drop everything and drive up here when I page you.”

Kevin felt the entire situation was a bit surreal, but he took the pager and headed back to work. He put Mooney’s body in the passenger’s seat and just left the car in the staff car park at work, until someone discovered him. Nobody suspected murder after Mooney’s performance the night before. Kevin got off being a murder suspect quite nicely.

However, the rest of Kevin’s life wasn’t going so smoothly after that. His wife went into labour two weeks early and died, as did the baby. Kevin wasn’t even there for it because Nate had paged him about two rowdy teens near the lever, but they were just sniffing gas. Kevin lost his job because of the amount of times he had to leave the office to go to the lever. Somehow Mooney got off with very few pages.

Kevin had hit rock bottom. He drove up to the lever with two bottles of vodka. He was determined to get very drunk and then hit the lever, because if he was going down he wanted to take everyone with him. Nate walked over to Kevin.

“Kevin, are you doing what I think you are?”

“I’m going to drink these two litres of alcohol, then blow up the planet. Is that ok?”

Nate knew what would happen, so he let Kevin think he would succeed.

“Go ahead, Kevin, I know you won’t do it.”

“Oh, yeah?” Kevin shouted.

Kevin opened the first bottle of vodka and took a very big swig. He swallowed it and started to convulse. He fell over on the ground shaking, with foam coming out of his mouth. Nate walked over to his face. He was dead.

“That poor fool,” Nate said. “Didn’t he know that Cheggers can’t be boozers?”