Monday, December 13, 2010

Shades of Jack B-side: Dreams

Fuck. Night sweats. My mouth's dry, too. Must have been wide open, because it tastes like the last part off the fence. Massive headache, too. Window's open, so the apartment's cold as hell. Early chill. Soaked through the sheets.

I hate when this happens. Just changed 'em, too.

I got up for the morning ritual, consisting of the longest pee in history, and my brain graciously decides to remind me of the nightmare that woke me up in the first place. Nightmare might be a bit excessive, because nothing scary happened, I just remember the faces of some friends that I haven't seen in a while.

"Mmmrrow." A trilling mass of fur headbutts me in the leg. I know the drill, but other calls of nature are taking precedence.

"Lemme pee, Cat," I think is what I said. She got the message, and purred as she skulks away. I'll feed her when I get my morning started. I shoulder the door open and tend to my urological urgency in the typical fashion, then brush my teeth, a nagging thought festering in the back of my mind.

I brush my teeth, slowly rewinding my morning with self-hypnosis assisted by the metronomic saccade of my teeth brushing, a trick that I have had used far too often in the past. Good thing there wasn't much to go through, so it's an easy trick backwards: cat bumping me, gotta pee, wet sheets, then I feel my consciousness soften, I visualize pushing my head through a barrel of water like bobbing for apples.

I see myself walking backwards in my dream, the last thing that I see is Frankie's face. That's weird, I think to myself. I haven't thought of him in a while. Haven't spoken to him in a while, either. I allow myself to roll backwards some more, but after a while, I decide that this is just my bladder shaking me awake.

"That's what I get for drinking two bottles of wine with dinner." I come to, but when I spit, I fill the sink with blood. "And that's what I get for brushing while under." I chance some Listerine, grit my teeth through the burn, then hop in the shower.

"Mmrrow?" I swear to any God you want that was a question.

"Not now, Cat. I smell like ass, and I gotta go to work soon. Get out of the shower, you're creeping me out."

"Mmrroooooooow." Not any less creepy.

"No, Cat! Stay out there, and wait until I am done in here."


"Wait. Did I just have an argument with my pet? Great. Losing my mind." I make it a quick one, opting out of shaving my head or beard. "It'll keep." I say to no one in particular.

Before getting dressed, I sit at my desk, reading the news from online outlets and emptying my email inbox. "Spam, spam, garbage. Ugh." I checked the news for something less annoying. "Oh, Obama did something that makes me regret living here. Nice."

The familiar pinging from my instant messenger chimed in a little too early to not be important, so as opposed to ignoring it until my second cup of coffee, I opened it.

Crazysausage: Yesterday, Franklin J Morris had a stroke last night and passed in his sleep. He will be missed.

Rakeatthegates: Wait, what? Frankie's dead?

Crazysausage: Yeah, just found out about it this morning.

Rakeatthegates: You okay, Andy? You want I should fly down?

Crazysausage: Nah. Everyone's here. I know that you two weren't close.

Rakeatthegates: U Sure?

Crazysausage. Yeah, it's cool. I gotta go. I got a lot of stuff to handle.

Rakeatthegates: You take care, man.

*Crazysausage has signed off*

As soon as he got offline, I could feel the walls closing in. The old familiar feeling was back again. My stomach churned like it was full of bad tacos, and my pulse sounded like hammer strikes.

"Fuck. Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck no no no no no... not again. I can't do this again." 

I picked up my cellphone and dialed the only number that I could ever be bothered to memorize. After three rings, a tired, albeit familiar voice came on the other end. "Hello? Jack? What's up, man, it's like six in the morning."

"I knew about Frankie."

"How do you mean?"

"How do you think?"

"What- no. No. We fixed it. Impossible."

"Lemme guess... roughly 8 in the PM?"

"But I didn't-"

"I don't think that matters anymore. What matters is that Frankie is dead, and there was nothing that I could do but wait."

"We're in trouble again."

"Yeah, and so is everyone that we know."

Chapter 1

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