35. Roughly Woke


To say I wake up with the same regret is putting it mildly. Now sober, or closer to it, I feel cloudy with guilt. I also feel a strong draft. It billows in through the window and rolls across the floor and up over me. Why would I leave the window open?

Tilting my head, the light stings my eyes as I attempt to make confirmation. A brick lies inches in front of my feet. Broken glass litters the floor all around. I haven’t woken up this hungover in quite a while. The bewildering scene that is my apartment doesn’t serve to clear my head any. My eyes close and my head falls, out of necessity. My inaction is justified because I don’t seem to be in any immediate danger.

How or why did I do this to my window? Did I do this? Try to recount the events of yesterday and last night. The coffee date with Myra. Shit. What a disaster. I continued my assholery with those in the cafe after she left. Also with those in that same liquor store. Which I returned to barely an hour later. What a difference they must have noticed from my first and second visits. That’s another one I’m now banned from.

This brick was thrown from the outside. That’s how there’s glass on the floor. I definitely didn’t do that. Was it someone I offended out on the street? How did they know which window to destroy? Could it have been Myra? Doubt that she cares that much. It must have been someone who knows me. Or that has been following me. The confusion gives way to adrenaline. I’m sober and awake now. All of a sudden.

Eyes open, I make it to my feet. Then start dressing. I’ve got to go out and investigate. But I know this is paranoia. Partly driven by a subconscious motive. An all too familiar thirst. I leave, noticing the door was at least locked. Down the stairs, I stop at my building’s entry door. Could they still be waiting outside? That’s unlikely, but I still poke my head out and check in both directions before proceeding.

My feet carrying me quickly to and from the nearby grocery store. Booze at a discount if you buy five or more bottles. This will allow me to hole up long enough. I duck back in the building, realizing I didn’t bother investigating the window. Poke my head out in both directions. This will become the standard practice. Dart across the street. See what I can see. Jaywalk and stand underneath the window. Look up, down, and around. No evidence. One more trip back and forth in front from ground level.

Nothing to report. Except this has made me more thirsty. No more deliveries until I can figure this out. Bits are returning in pieces periodically. Meanwhile Carol complains via text about calling in sick after just one day of super-specials. She’s just giving me a hard time though. Saying that I “don’t have what it takes”. My new, elevated position isn’t yet in jeopardy. They simply don’t have the manpower.

What about the window? Get the glass off the floor first. I crack open a bottle, taking a few hearty gulps. I try sweeping the stained carpet. My worn out broom bristles fanning in all directions. This produces unfavorable results. The pieces of glass are mostly being shot up in the air.

I resort to picking them up with my hands. I should have gloves for this. Made even more apparent by the bloody fingertips I’m left with. They produce more stains on the carpet before I notice. Sometimes when I look at all the stains, I consider trying to purposely make more. In a pattern, to hide the fact that it’s stained. Like painting over a bad painting. I re-inspect several times to make sure all the glass is picked up.

Now to the window itself. Back down the stairs. Poke my head out. Look left, look right. Back to the grocery store, just for duct tape. Then on my return, head still on a swivel, I move around to the alley. I find only one cardboard box in the dumpster. Thought I’d have more to choose from. This will have to do.

Back inside, and up the stairs. Cut it to fit, and duct tape over the hole. A real custom job. Accomplished with a certain craftsmanship that should warrant a more pleasing result than it does. Because it’s cardboard and duct tape. These tasks briefly distract me from the paranoia. It returns, and I empty the first bottle. Who would do this? Pacing and drinking. Drinking and pacing. Who would do this? The Cyclist, who else? I can’t prove it. Not sure if fingerprints can be pulled from a brick.

I place the brick on the counter. It could be my new paperweight. Except who the fuck uses paperweights anymore? A few hundred more of these and I’ll have a new place to live. But a lot more drafty windows. If the landlord sees the cardboard, which he eventually will, somebody is paying for a new window. My sanctuary was violated. If I can call it that. Not that it will matter to him or anyone else. That crook just wants a reason to dig into my deposit. I consider this while digging into another bottle. I little voice says “Here we go again.”

I spend the rest of the day and that night pacing my the apartment. Drinking and thinking. Eventually in the dark. Contemplating, trying to understand. Inscribing a list of possible suspects on the cardboard window covering. Eventually I sit down on the mattress and stare at it. Until my eyes close out of necessity.