I stumbled into the kitchen, filled the kettle with water, set it on the stove and fired it up. As the metallic beast slowly groaned into life, I rinsed out my only mug, spooned in some instant coffee and filled it half-way with my favourite bourbon. Kentucky coffee. That’s the name I’d given the concoction and I couldn’t get enough of the stuff.
I rubbed my eyes and tried to piece together the events of the previous evening as the kettle meandered its way to its whistling climax. What exactly did I get up to last night? I didn’t care. I just ran my tongue across my numb teeth, blew my nose on the tea-towel and waited patiently for the kettle to fully burst into life.
Returning to my bed, I hoped that sleep would grab me. The whiskey made my head swim but my heart thumped from the caffeine and my legs ached with restlessness. I felt both lost and trapped. I reached into my shirt pocket, searching for my tobacco, but I only found an old, bent cigarette and a couple of filter tips. Snapping the cigarette at its crooked bend, I lit it with the lighter from the bedside table and dragged deep. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. The cigarette was spent. I exhaled finally and stubbed the ungenerous bastard out on the radiator by my side. I had nothing left to do but lean back onto my pillow and wait for sleep to take me.
I was hazy as to how much time had passed before I was dragged back out of sleep by the incessant, shrill cry of my telephone. Ignore it. I had to ignore it. It groaned and whined, pleading me to answer, but I was going to ignore it. There was only one person it could be. It was going to be him. No doubt he would be ringing to find out when he was going to get his money back from the night before and then claim that I owed him a little extra than I actually did. He’d probably also want to know how far things went with the pretty brunette that was hanging around last night’s party. I couldn’t face talking to him. I immediately regretted ever allowing him to have my telephone number, or any means by which to contact me. I waited for the ringing to cease. I tried to shield my eyes from the sun flooding into my room, but the half-broken blinds were clearly being no help this morning and the light was penetrating my brain and it was not helping my fragile state. Finally the phone shut up. Thank fuck.
I dragged myself out of bed, in need of a shit. It’d be loose and wet and it would smell foul. Best not. Maybe I should save it for later and let it harden. I walked over to the desk by the window where my typewriter now lived. I felt so cool and chic when I bought that damned thing, but now I couldn’t help but think that it would probably have been easier and cheaper to just buy a cheap laptop. As I stared at the archaic thing resting on the desk, I was overwhelmed by the feeling that I was a dick. It lay there, motionless, with a blank sheet of yellow paper already loaded into it. Apparently I had expected some poignant late night creative spree when I got home last night but was instead met with the frigid bitch that is writer’s block. Oh well, at least the old trooper is good to go now. I should write a letter to Chrystal. It’s been a while since I spoke to the girl and she has been popping up in my thoughts on a regular basis these last few weeks. I started pounding on the keys...
I've been meaning to write you back for a while and I hope you can forgive me. I kept meaning to get some words down on paper for you but things kept coming up and I just wasn't able to get it done. Please don't hate me for that, I never meant to leave it so long.
I've been doing okay. I've taken some work at a bar called the Bucket of Blood. Yeah I know, the name sucks but the pay is alright. As you'd expect the place is a dive but the rest of the staff are cool and the manager pays on time. I work as hard as I can but I never suspect it's enough. I met a girl there and she liked my hair. We started seeing each other for a while but I got scared and stopped calling her back. I don't know why I do these things, but it happens. Well I messed up. I shouldn't go into details but I don't have anyone else to tell. I found out later she'd been fucking some other guy. He lived across the road from her and so I went round there and beat him up pretty bad. I left him in a mess. I'm not proud. I had to take up smoking again for a while just to get over it. I wonder if I should go back to find out if he died, but I haven't heard anything or read about him in the local papers, so I suspect he is fine. I'm a bad person, Chryst, but you know that. You were always right. I shoulda turned myself in that time when we were on the coast. Fuck. Let's forget those times. The guy'll be alright. Let God be my judge and let's move on.
My parents aren't so good, but thanks for asking. My dad hasn't been the same since he found out my mother was cheating on him. He kicked her out the house and I haven't heard from her since. I don't know where she went. I go pay my old man a visit about every fortnight. We just sit there and drink beer and watch the racing. He never says much, but that's okay because I never know what to say to him anymore.
I hear you're engaged now and have a kid on the way. That's fantastic. You've deserved it after all you've been through and I know you'll get that cut of happiness you've always been searching for. "Smiles on rainbows" and all that poetry you spoke of has finally come true. Sometimes I lay awake at night, thinking. It's been easier to sleep since I heard your good news. I love you Chryst, and I always will. Our hearts are the same even when they belong to others. Stay safe and stay true.
I'll try and come visit you some time. I managed to fix my car up at last and now it's running again, so it shouldn't be too hard to travel out to you. Let me know, yeah? Write back soon and tell me everything.
P.S., I finally took your advice and quit eating meat. At last you can take me to that restaurant you’ve always raved about. I’d appreciate it now. My body certainly does; I’ve never felt healthier."
Done. The load had been shed. I leant back in my chair, clasping my fingers together behind my head and blew steadily outwards – eyes clamped shut. I was feeling better for it. Sighing hard, I reached for the letter and yanked it from the typewriter. Where the fuck was I meant to send this little bastard? Where was she living now? It’d been too long since we had last spoken. To hell with her. I screwed the page into a tight little ball, dropped it to the dirty floor and crawled into the sanctity of my motel bed. If only there was ganja.