In a universe much like our own lives Heron Argyros; the greatest alchemist in the world and a capricious, womanizing drunk. He's just become the first alchemist to create the Elixir of Life, but there's one problem. Now everything he touches with the palm of his hand dies.
To make things worse, his book-keeper, Zehra Tiryaki, refuses to have sex with him again until he sobers up and his Ax-Crazy nemesis, Norma Roussakis, is doing anything and everything to get her hands on the Elixir.
Forced to join an Alcoholic's Anonymous group, he drags a group of recovering alcoholics into his bitter feud with Norma and meets an Ensemble Cast, which includes not only Zehra, but plucky hipster and AA facilitator Charlie Reid, tactless doctor Max Milson, Declan Corcoran, a hapless single father from Derry and Abby, his Bratty Teenage Daughter with a surprising knack for alchemy.
Together they must thwart Norma's plans, recreate the Elixir, confront their own pasts and explore the nature of their own addictions, all without creating too many innocent casualties in the process.
This unpublished work provides examples of:
- The Ageless: Heron isn't so much eternally youthful as eternally middle-aged.
- Addiction Displacement: Charlie Reid used collection money to buy the church hall a coffee machine, because 'recovering alcoholics like coffee'.
- Most men find that they lose weight when they sober up. Not Declan. He's become very good at eating his feelings in recent years.
- The Alcoholic: Heron, and formerly Charlie. In fact, much of the cast is made up of recovering alcoholics.
- Artistic License: The story conveniently omits some of the more religious aspects of Alcoholic's Anonymous. The explanation given in-universe for this is that as an inner-city group, you're more likely to get agnostic and atheist members, and the whole "Power greater than ourselves" thing infuriates too many people for the group to bother acknowledging it.
- "Awesome McCool" Name: Heron Argyros. He doesn't exactly live up to its coolness, though.
- Ax-Crazy: Norma.
- Big Eater: Declan.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: Abby.
- Butch Lesbian: Also Abby.
- Deadpan Snarker: Heron and Zehra. Charlie has his moments too.
- Ethical Slut: Heron and Zehra.
- Fat Bastard: At one point, Abby literally calls Declan 'a fat Irish bastard in a too small suit'.
- Five-Man Band:
- Hipster: Charlie is this in spades. Zehra also qualifies.
- Ironic Name: Heron has a pretty bad fear of birds, and just so happens to be named after one.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Charlie comments that Heron "must've been quite handsome once" and that he still has "more than a pinch of pretty boy charm".
- Meaningful Name: Heron's full name is Heron Denis Argyros. Denis is the French form of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, revelry, fertility and dance. Argyros is the ancient Greek word for silver, a precious metal often used for medicinal purposes.
- My Local: The Flyswatter may be infested with hipsters, but the drinks are still cold and relatively cheap and their parmigiana is legendary.
- Nice Guy: Charlie.
- Only Sane Woman: Zehra is right in believing she's this. Well, most of the time, anyway.
- Sophisticated as Hell: How Heron often speaks.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Heron was this, and still this to an extent, though less so because of the damage he's caused to himself.
- The Teetotaler: Most of the cast.
- Touch of Death: One of the side effects of the Elixir Of Life is having everything you touch die.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Played With. Heron has a crippling fear of death and hasn't created an antidote to the Elixir is because he doesn't want to face his own mortality. However it's clear that he feels very hopeless and depressed, and that the Elixir has done more to harm him than help him.