You wake up at the first light of dawn with a sticky feeling in your mouth. You can smell your horrid reeking breath. As you smack your lips together, the chapped skin feels desiccated from the dehydration which wracks your body. You lick those two cracked pieces of red skin and your tongue, bloated, white, and parched like a desert, feels like a cats tongue, a piece of 50 grit. Reaching for the cup of water which normally rests on your nightstand, you find in its place a tallboy and in desperation swill it. A sudden pang of nausea washes over your body, and regurgitation begins to boil in your throat. Running to the bathroom, you find yourself prostrate to this benevolent divine being the porcelain god, who accepts your oblation of last night’s revelry. Wiping the vomit off your face, you kneel back and wait wondering if further involuntary explosions will issue forth from your body. Walking back to your room, you stand in the doorway and notice the obvious thing you missed, in your quickened haste to void your body of stale beer. Who is that in bed?
Ah, the next morning. The walk of shame. The hangover. The blackout. We’ve all experienced this. All had too much to drink, and upon awakening the next day, realized we had no recollection of the night before. As the day continues, bits and pieces fight their way through the fuzzy haze of a whisky fog, and fleeting glimpses are recalled, sometimes shaming the owner of these memories. The house is like a crime scene, but is only where the corpse was dragged for disposal. The murder was committed in some darkened cheap bar, with three dollar shot specials of well vodka, which can peel paint off the hood of a car. The cans of beer were pounders, and they flowed from that bar freely into your hand. You grope through this rotgut haze of dead brain cells all the while existing in a liminal space of self-induced amnesia.
Walking downstairs you find your couch inhabited with people. People. People in the literal sense of living bodies in your home. You do not know these people, and you jog back into the recesses of your mind, fighting the fog, desperately trying to remember these strangers. The house is a disaster. Sticky floors, beer bottles, and cans on every surface, even one sitting in the overhead light of the living room. This can sits inside the glass bowl which dangles from the ceiling, like an albatross, a portent of impending doom.
Another pang of nausea, you run to your bathroom next to the kitchen, and upon opening the door, you see a naked couple lying in your tub. Feeling self-conscious about vomiting in front of strangers, you run outside and vomit off your porch, your alert and awake neighbors watching you dispose of last night’s poison. Wiping your mouth with the back of your hand, you wave to those who just witnessed this revolting display, and walk back inside with an ataxic gait, slightly shamed.
Your coffee brewed, you sit in the kitchen, nursing your hangover, staring at the onyx black steaming liquid, wishing it were some magical elixir which could drive this feeling from your body, and restore your memory. Reaching into your pocket, you yank your phone out with a sudden panicked fury and then breathe a sigh of relief. Ok, no drunk texting. At least there’s that. Popping some Tums, and chewing the chalky artificial flavored cherry tablets, you continue to drink your coffee with reverence. After a while, you decide to try some food, and finding cold pizza in a box on your countertop, you eat that slice with a voracity that would embarrass a 1972 Uruguayan rugby team trapped atop an Andean mountain.
Wandering into the living room, you are met with a strange and surreal image. They’re all gone. All of them. The people. The strangers. The freeloaders that inhabited your home only twenty minutes ago are all gone. Only last night’s disaster left in their wake. The only lasting impression of these strangers, who left your house in this slatternly state, is a hint of cigarette smoke that wafts through the house. Now your mind wanders upstairs. Clutching your coffee cup in hand, you walk up the stairs gingerly, carefully as if you are a child sneaking out while his parents are asleep.
At the door to your bedroom you see tresses of auburn hair draped across her face. And then, it hits you. That’s not the woman you’ve been dating for a week. Steam rising from the blue glazed mug in your hand, you stare at the figure as you frantically search the sparse, mental photo album from last night’s debacle. A neurotic shame comes over you, and staring at the heap of sparkling clothes on the floor, it looks like a whole slew of ungulates, snakes, and exotic cats were massacred to make the few articles of skimpy clothing, which last night adorned her body. She finally notices you standing there, and beckons you to join her in bed. In your delirious state you shrug your shoulders and acquiesce with very little hesitance.
Showing absolutely no sign of timorousness, her touch is brazen and hedonistic, and you forget about your search for memory. Curling up next to her, you caress your hand across her body, fondle her breasts, probe her curves. She rolls over with a sigh, and the stranger in the bed kisses your lips. You roll with it and figure the damage is done. As steam wafts from the coffee cup, cooling in the morning air, you find a stimulant better than caffeine, and you relish it, as much as every sip of your java.
And as your mind drifts, you wonder again, who the hell is the naked couple in my bathroom?