The liquor store.
Standing in line at the liquor store, two packs of smokes and a bottle of Johnnie black in my hands, pretending not to hear the chatter of the checkout ladies as they poke and prod the screens of their cash registers.
I juggle the objects in my hands to free my fingers to be able to pluck a packet of peppermint gum perched on the shelf to my left, like an attentive nurse at the side of a hospital bed.
I carefully pop a piece out of its tinfoil wrapper and slip it into my mouth in a feeble attempt to vindicate myself from the offensive fumes of booze escaping into the air around me with every breath I take.
One of the checkout ladies gasps as she scoldingly observes my distasteful act, her hair was neatly woven in an intricate display of uncanny artistry, like some ancient tapestry, complex and perfectly stitched with the precision of a spiders web.
She’s talking about the state I’m in, blood stains on my powder blue shirt splattered around only god knows what manner of other smears and smudges making me look as if I was wearing a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting.
I hadn’t been home since the night before, got into a fight at the bar, as if I haven’t already taken enough headshots for a guy my age.
‘Oh fuck’, I thought to myself,’I haven’t fed my cat, hmm, oh well, I’m sure it caught a rat or one of those fucking birds that hang out on the branches outside my bedroom window and wake me most mornings before sunrise when my head feels like it’s being penetrated by shrapnel from a hand grenade with every chirp they make.’
My conscience got the better of me, poor cat, poor fucking birds.
I pull out my phone from my back pocket and call my neighbor to ask her to put some food in its bowl, I hang up, stare at the ground for a second to reconcile my shame and slowly lift my eyes a few degrees upwards and see the most magnificent ass I’d ever seen wrapped in tight blue jeans restlessly moving from side to side.
I take it all in, the color of her hair, the scent, of her perfume....’Ahhh.’ I thought,’its going to be a beautiful day.’
The checkout lady barks at me,’excuse me sir, you’re holding up the line!’ I pay, tell her I like her hair, she smiles and I walk into the day.