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It's Fun While You're At It

When I woke, it was sweltering. The room seemed to lurch and rollick with the heaviness of the heat. My mouth was dry and the sheet, scrunched beneath me felt like sodden, sad Jatz crackers.

Groping blindly through the faint blue light in the rough direction of where I’d left my water bottle, a taught pang of pain ran up my neck, sudden as the breaking of a guitar string.

It’s fun while you're at it but you always pay in the end.

I could almost hear the well rehearsed words of my mother, reverberating in my aching head. The scolding she would give me whenever she’d caught me in the act of being dreadfully hungover.

You can’t fault her logic.

I downed the contents of my water bottle in five frenzied chugs, half of which went down my throat and the rest down my front, as coming to a fully upright position was unthinkable. I decided I didn’t mind the wet and nestled deeper into the blessed cool patches on the pillow, breathing in the overripe air that had staked its claim of my room. Judging by the steady flow of street noise rolling up through the open window, it must be somewhere in the ballpark of 4am. The first wave of workers were already on route. An hour or so from now the birds will start bleating out morning g’days to mates displaced of a night time, catching up on all the goss. Who shared a nest with whom and so on...

Next, if my foggy calculations were correct, would be the garbos. They come pelting down these narrow lanes twice weekly, spurring their ravenous metal chariots ever onward.

Feast, my beauties! These streets run-eth over with trucker tucker.

...The pram patrol would be out in full force soon after. Pounding the pavement with their ‘it’s not too late’ determination, their keep cups held high in salute of a new day.

Fuck the lot of em.

Well, maybe thats a tad harsh.

Fuck em all, just for the moment.

Just until the pounding in my skull subsides and my rudimentary motor skills return. Please.

Yeah yeah, its nobodies fault but mine and yeah, no one forced me to drink cheap scotch until the lights came on and they kicked us out and blah blah fucking blah…

Through the convoluted haze of exhaustion and lingering intox, I note two duelling sensations slugging it out for primacy, somewhere behind my sinus.

The first, a niggling awareness that despite my fatigue, I already don’t love my chances of falling asleep again. The second, and likely to claim priority.

I desperately need a piss.

Wrenching myself away from the placatory discomfort of bed I lumber down the hall, using the left and occasionally right wall for support before falling through the entrance to the bathroom. After a microseconds internal equation I decide to take my chances with the lights remaining off. Leaning heavily on the cistern I approximate my aim. The sonar sound of fluid on tile makes me alter course. I’m now far too committed to stop entirely, but with the right amount of wriggling we finish up more or less on target. That will, unfortunately, have to be a later problem.

I feel my way back out the room and follow the ghostly beacon ahead that is the precocious moonlight, leering through my closed shutters.

I fall back into the callous embrace of my bedding as an involuntary tuft of air escapes me, like the lament of a mournful sauce bottle, on its last squeeze.

Thats me, I think piteously.

Im all squeezed out. No sauce left to give.

My mouth is again, dry as a handful of Milo and theres a sheen of perspiration licking my forehead. I toy with the possibility of getting up for a second trip to the bathroom to refill my water bottle but this instance seems easier to ignore than the last. You really should. The voice of reason that sounds uncannily like my mothers, if indeed internal dialogue has an accent.

Why should I?

A new contender in my mental olympics has rushed the pitch, tripping over their own feet as they go.

You’ll feel better in the morning!

As if a half litre of tepid tap water with a twist of chlorine at 5ish in the morning might wind back the damage of the twenty odd drinks from last night, most of whom are still with me, or on the floor beside the toilet.

No. I wont do it.

I do, of course.

Having successfully delayed the process another ten minutes, I sit up and make my way down the hall again, swearing at anything that wont fight back. To make the trip more cost effective I neck the first refilling, then top it up and do my best on a second bottleful.

Returning to the bed with my bottle brimming and my guts churning with the threat of indigestion, I flop.

Then come the birds.

At first I just wait. It could have been the bed springs? Please let it only have been the bed springs! But there is no mistaking that second antagonistic yarn from the leafy kingdom. They have awaken. And I know this, like I know my own name. Like I know every lyric to 'Around The World' by Daft Punk.

I know, I wont be getting back to sleep now. For that matter, I wont be getting out of bed either, which lands me in a predicament. A predicament I wish I could say I was unfamiliar with…

Through bleary, stinging, half shut eyes, I lie there and peer through the slats of light at the window. Light that has already danced away all its blues and has turned a tentative, wishful yellow. I lie there and eavesdrop on the lorikeets as my stomach churns in time to the rumble of the traffic. Was that the distant screech of a trash truck, winding its way to my window? I swear I can even hear the neighbourhood mums waking. The tap and scrape of acrylic nails, tickling instagram pictures, readying to rise and see to their offspring. I lie there and I hear it all, like the braying from the hens of hell, raucous and unyielding. I lie there and above it all, in my head I hear my mothers shrugging voice… if indeed internal dialogue can gesticulate…

"It’s fun while you're at it but you always pay in the end."


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