Haymitch Abernathy

February 9, 2012
A platter full of food sits, untouched in front of me. I don’t care about food as long as I have wine, or any kind of liquor, to guzzle down my throat. My two current tributes sit at the table with me, both very interested in the wide variety of food. I remember my first capitol meal. I had eaten too much food and ended up throwing it all up that night. That was a change. Vomiting because I ate too much instead of too little.
The female tribute (I don’t remember her name.) looks at me. Anger fills her eyes. I’m used to this. People look at me one or two ways: Anger or disgust. I don’t care. They don’t understand.
“So, you’re supposed to give us advice?” She asks me. She is testing me. Seeing if I can help her in the games, or if I’m just the drunken, wash-out victor. I’m not so sure myself. My drunken mind finds this very funny. I lean forward to respond.
“Here’s some advice. Stay alive.” I burst out laughing. It’s actually decent advice. There is no secret to winning the Hunger Games. Just skill.
“That’s very funny,” Peeta the lover-boy says. “Only not to us.”
I find myself swinging my fist into Peeta’s jaw, knocking him out of his chair. I reach for my wine bottle to take another drink, when a knife lands itself in my way, inches front my fingers.
My mind slowly comes back into focus, washing away the clouds that the alcohol had put there.
“Well, what’s this? Did I actually get a pair of fighters this year?” Peeta grabs some ice to put on his forming bruise, but I stop him.
“No, let the bruise show. The audience will think you’ve mixed it up with another tribute before you even made it into the arena.”
“That’s against the rules.” He says. Yes, I know. I have been a mentor for a long time. I think.
“Only if they catch you. That bruise will say you fought, you weren’t caught. Even better.” The female tribute’s name finally dawns on my. Katniss.
“Can you hit anything with that knife besides a table” Katniss tears the knife from the table and launches it across the room, into the wall. Impressive. She got it stuck in between two panels of wood. Maybe these kids do have a chance. At least I can actually see what lover boy likes about her.
“Stand over here. Both of you.” I examine them. Peeta has excellent. Muscles and Katniss isn’t so bad herself.
“Well, you’re not entirely hopeless. Seem fit. And once the stylists get a hold of her, you’ll be attractive enough.” I think a little bit more.
“All right, I’ll make a deal with you. You don’t interfere with my drinking, and I’ll stay sober enough to help you. But you have to do exactly what I say.” It is a fair deal. They have no choice but to take the deal. They needed me sober so I can take care of them in the games.
“Fine.” Peeta says.
“So help us,” Katniss says, not so quick to give in. “When we get to the arena, what’s that best strategy at the cornucopia for someone-”
“One thing at a time. In a few minutes, we’ll be pulling into the station. You’ll be put in the hands of your stylists. You’re not going to like what they do to you, but no matter what it is, don’t resist.”
“But-” Katniss starts.
“No, buts. Don’t resist..” I almost laugh picturing Katniss in the hands of her prep team. Getting waxed, plucked and painted. She’ll hate it.
I walk out of the dinning room and head towards my compartment. I take a nice long swig of my beer. Have to enjoy it. It’ll be the last time I get drunk for a long time.
* * *

I lay in my unmade bed, thinking about my one on one conversation with Peeta. I was on the line of being unconscious and just dizzy, so I don’t remember everything. Peeta had gotten me into the shower and started to wash the vomit off of me. I remember making some sarcastic comment on his kindness.
Peeta stopped scrubbing suddenly and looked me in the eyes.
“Look. I have something very important to tell you. You have to remember it.” He was looking at me weird. I guess trying to figure out if I was listening or not.
“I-I love Katniss. I love her more than anything. You have to keep her safe in the Hunger Games. If it comes between saving me, or saving her. Save her. Do you hear me, Haymitch?” I thought about this for a moment. Didn’t happen very often in the games. Someone sacrificing themselves for someone else. I don’t know if I Peeta gained or lost respect from me. It was brave. But stupid. I could see in his expression, however, that he meant it. He would rather die than his fellow tribute.
“Okay then.” I said, slowly nodding my head. “I’ll save her.”





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team_haymitch This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 23, 2012 at 1:05 pm
I LOVE IT!!!
 
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