After Betty’s

A mild sedative force took hold of Jack. The smoke crept into his left eye and caused a tear to escape. He was dehydrated and needed another drink. The bottle in front of him was empty. So was his wallet. He hurried into the kitchen, hoping his thoughts wouldn’t catch up to him. Cabinet doors swung open and shut. Under the sink, behind a few folded paper bags was an open bottle of wine. It had a Christmas smell to it. There was one glass left. Jack put it down quick. He had to move fast. He grabbed his coat, turned off the television and slammed the door on his way out.

 

It was no use. He couldn’t move fast enough. Waiting at the bus bench he noticed the sun coming round the bend. The shadows gave way to a brightness that made Jack shrug. He dug deep into the corner of the bus shelter, his legs still warming by the life star’s rays. A memory grabbed hold of his mind and he began to spin. He knew not what he did nor what he would where was he going. He bent over into the bushes and in despair, confessed his sins to the earth.

 

Never again, he thought. It was time for a change. From this moment on he had it all figured out. Work, work, work. It had to be the answer.

 

The bus was late and full. Jack had to stand, as best as he could. The rest of the dead souls on the bus crowded against him, smelling of despair and want. There was never enough — enough money, enough sex, enough drugs, enough alcohol — they all knew they would never have enough. Jack saw the hopelessness in their eyes as they pretended not to look at him.

 

He had fifteen minutes of dreaming to do before he realized he had nowhere to go. He walked into his apartment and lay on his bed. What work? He was as useless as time. The calming effect of the diesel floating up from the street relaxed Jack. His mind drifted, and his lids shut.

 

The time of day is irrelevant. You need know only that it was night.

 

All the greatness in the world lay stretched out on a broken mattress and the world was a fool for not knowing it. Always waiting, there was nothing Jack was better at. Waiting for inspiration, for the next break, for the next hoorah. Congratulations on being recognized Jack. You’ve done good for yourself.

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