THOSE MORNINGS SPENT CLOSE TO DEATH
The night before is blurred beyond any recognition beside the odd random image and a feeling of immense guilt that hangs over Jack’s soul like Death sizing up his next victim. Jack’s mind is a wreck; with very little recollection and an ever-increasing sense of doom. He leans over the edge of his bed and realises that he has been sick in the night, fortunately in to a bowl and not all over his already horridly acrid carpet. He is sick again and then collapses back on to his bed. He tries desperately to remember anything from the night before. There are images flashing through his mind but could they have really been from last night? Surely not even Jack, with his haphazard knack of pissing off everyone, could have infuriated so many people in such a short period of time. If they are his fear and sense of doom may very well be justified.
He initially witnesses himself chatting up a very young looking girl at his local bar. She can be no more than twenty years old, maybe even one of those damn fresher students who’ve invaded town recently flushed with the idea of freedom and fun away from the prying eyes of parents. Jack looks and feels old enough to be her father, easily twice her age. He sees himself buying a round that seems out of kilter with his usual behaviour; they are clearly the actions of a drunken man, a horny and drunk old man out on a Friday night looking for some fun but that ain’t going to come tonight, not with this poor young girl whose probably just desperate to get back to her attractive and equally young friends and away from this old man who simply doesn’t get her. He doesn’t get the fact that she doesn’t want to talk to him about anything ever, let alone his theories on a bunch of writers her Literature degree won’t even mention. For Jack though it slowly becomes obvious that she isn’t interested and his wait for some fun will have to continue; it already feels long enough to have made women a complete mystery, hard to understand and even harder to seduce.
His head feels like it is being pounded into a pulp as he recoils in horror at how bad he really feels; he leans over and is sick again. His mind races through some blunt emotions; he will never drink again, ok, he will never drink that much again, ok, he won’t be doing that amount of heroic drinking for a fair while or more likely he will not do it again until a new outrage afflicts his life. He can’t remember what caused last night’s bout, it clearly had not been that horrific of an outrage, but it does seem to have been something he should remember as it had been months, if not years, since he’d experienced a hangover quite as bad as this one. He simply couldn’t remember what had made him go so flat-out in his desire to get not just drunk but completely obliterated and concluded it was a conundrum that would remain forever shrouded in mystery.
Jack finally decided he would try and get out of bed; it would take a Herculean effort to get his body from where it was to the kettle where he would boil some water for tea and then attempt to smoke a roll-up without any further negative repercussions from his body. As he finally snuggled down on his sofa with his large mug of tea and roll-up the images in his mind refused to dissipate and again there was another young woman, this one though was clearly different as she just laughed him off and continued her night of youthful enjoyment. Maybe, he thought, he had just spiralled from girl to drink to girl to drink until all the women had said no and all the drink had been drunk. It seemed plausible as this hangover certainly suggested a huge quantity had been consumed and he concluded that he would inevitably find out the next time he returned to the scene of his delinquency.