I’m shaken awake by the activity outside my window. As per unusual, the dog is talking to me. I’ve stayed alive for quite some time without the miserable advice afforded by canines, but I’m assured that it’s IMPORTANT, this time. Yeah, Fido. Whatever. Give me a beef jerky and be done with it, mutt.
“No. I mean it. You have to listen!” Fido whines, his whimpering legendary among his peers as being conducive to human compliance.
“All right, fuck-o. Make it quick.” I bark back while noticing my fingernails need trimming, again.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah! Check this out!” He marches to the window and howls. “Come here! I mean it! I mean it!”
I wrap a ragged plaid blanket about my bare bodkin and stand next to the excited beastie, wrinkling my brow and focusing myopic eyes on the part of the front yard that’s moving in a dizzying whirl. An instant headache is the result. I belch. Too much wine last night. Why is this dog talking to me?
“Uhhhh…” I reply cleverly. “Why are you talking to me?”
“Wha’? You think that’s weird shit? Check out what’s going on outside! C’mon! No time to argue! Your glasses! Your glasses!”
I grab my Buddy Holly spectacles from the disheveled nightstand and direct them to the general area of my face. They’re speckled with wine drops (Carlo Rossi Red Sangria, if you must know. Yeah, it was a lean week), and repeated attempts at smearing them to a state of clarity are unforgiving. I see better without them, so I continue to squint at the maelstrom of green outside the window. I have nothing to say. Worse: my dog does.
“Isn’t that the girl you brought home last week? Yeah, yeah!” Fido says, his tail wagging nervously. “You threw your shoe at me when I was trying to tell you my water dish was empty!”
Yeah, he’s right. It looks like that girl from the bakery that had followed me home the previous Wednesday. Like Fido, a stray heart I’d taken in. Sure, the only reason she’d followed me home was because I’d left my wallet on the counter and she had been kind enough to bring it to me, but we’d made small talk and found one another to be satisfactory as mutual bed partners. This was, of course, after a few glasses of the aforementioned Carlo Rossi wine product (three jugs hence).
Anyway, here she is, outside of my window, at ungodly-o’clock in the morning, swirling up my lawn with a large branch of what looks to be sturdy oak. What gives? AND MY DOG IS STILL TALKING TO ME!
“Wh-wh-what’s going on, boss?” Fido says, looking up at me with expectant eyes. Like I’m his answer man.
“Fetch!” I shout, throwing a fuzzy, brown, seen-better-days slipper out into the hallway. Fido complies. I slam the door shut, latching it (the little son of a bitch is smart), and roll back into bed, hoping to sleep away this bad, off-kilter dream I must be having.
At exactly five am, the phone rings. It’s Fido, from downstairs. “Hey, hey, boss! You locked me out!” I growl and slam the receiver down, nestling myself back under the soft, warm covers.
“Nouveau Pauper” is the phrase that springs to my head upon waking, finally, at ten o’clock in the am. I quickly jot it down in my journal and look around the room. The door is ajar, Fido sleeping peacefully at my feet. For some reason, I remember that I’ve got exactly $2.94 in my bank account, and I don’t get paid for another week. These are the kinds of things that occupy my thoughts upon waking, so it’s no wonder my dreams would be a little screwy during the times when my brain is even less guarded.
“Fido?” I call out. The pooch doesn’t stir or move an inch. Damn, he looks peaceful. I think about maybe just rolling over and catching a few more Zs, but I know I could sleep until midnight with little to no provocation. Best not to tempt it. Fumbling for and finding my glasses on the nightstand, I stand up, stretch, and look for my slippers. I only find one.
I scratch my head and shrug. I really don’t need slippers. It’s summer. Fine, good, yes. Egads, but I’m especially dizzy this morning. How DID I make it home last night?
“What? Do I got gnomes livin’ in my cleavage? You talkin’ to THEM, or are you talkin’ to ME? You talkin’ to THEM, or are you talkin’ to ME?” She slaps me. “PAY ATTENTION!”
Ugh. That’s a memory I could’ve done without. Just an excerpt, but enough for me to know I’d made an ass of myself. And, if my scattered memory serves me right, that was an early-evening event. Fast forward: Myself. Now. Headache.
I practically crawl forward to retrieve my robe. Not such a problem, after all. I step forth, after donning the robe, to look out the window.
What the FUCK?
It’s chaos. Sheer, midwestern chaos. A tornado occurred while I was asleep? AND I’m not dead? I guess that’s a bonus, but it’s hard to tell at this point. My feet itch. My brain is feeling all sorts of fuzzy right now. God, is it too early to drink? I’ve got to do what I think is right. I guzzle down a forty-ounce bottle of Mickey’s Big Mouth and I immediately feel so much better. Breakfast of Champions, my ass. I’m a scumbag and I know it. I teeter, I totter. I smile. Much better!
The dog drops my missing slipper and wags his tail. It’s going to be a long day.
[Image by Arthur Heming]