One Hour in Hell

Waking fills me with the horror of being. The duvet is a comfort that I do not want to relinquish and I have my usual morning struggle, whether to enter the consciousness of the day or hide in the darkened chamber, blackening my insides with the first fag of the day. This morning I get up, although not before I have taken half an hour off my life.

A shaft of light enters the room from the murky window that had somehow avoided my rages, where every other breakable item in the room had been proven so. The dark blue curtains are partly open, although I do not remember even getting them so far moved. Last night must have been another bad one but the memories have vanished, and only the hangover remains to haunt me. I cannot remember where I was or what I did. This is good; I probably don’t have too many awful consequences to answer for. It has come to something when this is the only thing that I can be positive about.

I dress slowly, concentrating hard as I fight with my clothes. I am already late for work, unless I’ve now been relieved of this burden. It seems not to matter, although I decide that it would probably be a good idea to phone and check. I shall do it later. Slipping on an old pair of jeans and a sweatshirt, and spraying myself liberally with deodorant (and instant sex appeal if I could only get myself to believe the adverts) seems to be good enough preparation for the day.

Phone work. I have to clean my teeth first, as I do not want them to smell the alcohol. Mustn’t give a bad example. I enter the bathroom and survey the carnage. Bloodshot, fuzzy eyes, tangled long hair, the weeks growth of beard and the bruises (always the fault of gravity I find, it tends to get rather strong on the walk home), all reflected in the remaining corner of the mirror.

Today, as I have come to expect, I am not needed. Such are the troubles of a part time contract. A plan is needed, for I cannot afford to spend the day as well as the night in the pub. The prospect of making my liver explode seems a good one, but lack of money is a problem. Another Marlboro could help? And a drink.

A cracked class is next to the bed, and I drink to the remains of last night. The bottle is sadly empty. Somewhere there may be another and I must find it. Not in the bedroom. I go to the kitchen, but I cannot see anything, least of all a litre of poison. Focusing is getting to be a problem, pain has returned behind my eyes.

There are mixed blessings to the kitchen. Water is good. Hard floors are easier to mop. Cutlery is bad. What reason to add to the web of scars? I am awake, and so I have the reason. Today I have a red letter day, and I quickly wipe the envelopes before the insides are covered as well.

I find the whisky. It was behind the cornflakes. I celebrate this, and drink to my success. Whilst I am hunched over the table the phone rings, and I wonder who it is who has remembered that I am alive. A blast of ten year old courage hits the back of my throat, and I answer the phone.

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