My Life on Rye

Written by
Nathaniel Kressen

My Life on Rye | Episodes 21-40



Commissioned by At Large magazine | Told in weekly serialization

In the wake of his failed marriage, a former artist / rising executive charts an unsteady course through forgotten passions, unexpected alliances, and bottle after bottle. Even as the costs-benefits of numbing himself come into startling focus, he feels alive for the first time in years — navigating a mad dance that leads him from the financial depths of Manhattan to the lilting lights of a foreign city.

Episode 21: Teeling Whiskey Single Barrel, Part 1

Quick nap back at the hotel. Luxurious trip to the steam room. Shower and a shave. Red-eye be damned, I feel like a human again.

Episode 22: Teeling Whiskey Single Barrel, Part 2

How many ways do the Irish have of saying somebody’s drunk?

Episode 23: Teeling Whiskey Single Barrel, Part 3

Conor’s apartment occupies the top floor of a pre-war building on the Liffey. He attempts to give me a guided tour that I indulge — jettisoned as we are.

Episode 24: Writers Tears, Part 1

Our first day with clients, I awake with a cavernous hangover. There’s no other word for it. Someone’s barrelled out my body.

Episode 25: Writers Tears, Part 2

The more powerful the financial institution, the sparser they keep their lobby.

Episode 26: Green Chartreuse

Thanks to Conor’s affinity for infidelity, I have our final night in Dublin to myself.

Episode 27: Kahlúa

Our legs connected under the table, our hands clasped when we rose. Without a word, we headed to her place.

Episode 28: Flying Dog Double Dog Double IPA

For the entirety of the first class flight home, I’m comatose — foregoing food, flicks, and frills to commence what’s sure to be a prolonged recovery.

Episode 29: Jefferson’s Ocean: Aged at Sea Bourbon

I cannot help but wonder if the lawyer considers himself to be God in this scenario.

Episode 30: Johnnie Walker Blue, Part 1

From across the street, framed by the door, my wife is a frenzied silhouette. She zips her collar against the lackluster rain. A storm’s not a storm until it speaks above a whisper.

Episode 31: Johnnie Walker Blue, Part 2

Bit by bit, we eroded the level of whiskey. We laid siege to the kitchen pantry — foregoing my future mother-in-law’s rice crackers in favor of Kitty’s doomsday supply of sugar cereal. Still left wanting, we nuked burritos.

Episode 32: Tres Mujeres Extra Añejo Tequila, Part 1

The momentum of Dublin grinds into the reality of conference calls and paperwork. I rejig contracts only to have clients change their minds, or our legal department weigh in, or Conor propose some new idea. Track changes become my nightmare.

Episode 33: Tres Mujeres Extra Añejo Tequila, Part 2

The hostess returns with a tray of glasses and presents Conor with the bottle. His accent wins big smiles — as do his watch, his suit, and the dozen or so other details that promise a big tip.

Episode 34: High West Campfire Whiskey, Part 1

When an open mic becomes a litmus test of your emotions, you know you’re in a bad state.

Episode 35: High West Campfire Whiskey, Part 2

Whiskey appears by magic. The next performer starts strong, then fizzles. I fuzzily think through my set.

Episode 36: Olde English

40 of malt liquor in hand, I realize my apartment no longer belongs to me.

Episode 37: Bordeaux, Part 1

What does one call the feeling — wanting to watch the world burn, wanting to burn along with it?

Episode 38: Bordeaux, Part 2

Blood pounding in my ears, I follow her to a dimly lit hallway.

Episode 39: Bordeaux, Part 3

Without clothes, one can see her every vertebra, her every rib. Her limbs are nothing but muscle and bone.

Episode 40: Powers Irish Whiskey

It takes a certain talent to say nothing and sound articulate.

And… in case you missed ‘em: The First 20 Episodes



This piece appears as part of a serialized fiction experiment by Nathaniel Kressen for At Large magazine. New installments are published weekly, each based around a different liquor.


Nathaniel Kressen is the author of two novels — Dahlia Cassandra (named Best of 2016 Fiction by Entropy & Luna Luna Magazine) and Concrete Fever (Bestseller, Strand Book Store) — as well as the co-founder of Second Skin Books and the leader of the Greenpoint Writers Group. He was commissioned by At Large magazine to publish his third novel in serialization now available, with new chapters publishing weekly titled My Life on Rye. And, as one half of the wife-and-husband team Grackle + Pigeon, he’ll be publishing a tome for modern living this fall Blanket Fort: Growing Up Is Optional (William Morrow). You can find his work at