MONDAY: Just a Quick One

BY PEGGY BRACKEN

Copyright is held by the author.

WORDS FLOW out of me like spilt milk rolling across the dining room table. Fast, relentless, unstoppable. My obsessed fingers dance on the keyboard; words and thoughts explode onto the page so fast I give up trying to follow them. There’s a freshness and excitement to these words. They reek of talent. I watch in awe as the part of me was smothered by chemicals and self-loathing emerges like a butterfly from a cocoon and takes its rightful place on the page. This is what it used to be like before the booze and the drugs melded my days and nights into a gray, mindless fog. More important, it’s a sign I’ve left the past behind.

I am worthwhile, I am happy. Practiced mental mantras float to my consciousness while my fingers continue to boogie and jive creating my masterpiece. I do deserve to be successful. I am a reason for celebration. Hell, maybe this shit really works.

I pull my hands from the keyboard and sit in awe of the words that have appeared before eyes by some great mysterious alchemy. Christ, I’m bloody amazing. A cigarette to celebrate perhaps?  I deserve a break. But just a quick one, right?  Don’t risk breaking the flow. Don’t piss off the writing gods. Sure, sure, whatever; I strike an agreement with my inner disciplinarian and reach for my cigs. Lighting up, I visualize the doors to the echelons of the literary elite swinging wide to welcome me. I’ll be forgiving of their short sightedness as I step over the threshold into the world where I truly belong. This is my New Year’s Day and all those who doubted, gave up on me, and left me behind will soon come creeping back, looking for favours, seeking my help and influence. Well to Hell with them.

The computer screen tells me it’s 11 am. The Night Owl Bar and Grill would be opening its doors now, providing sanctuary for the desperate, the angry, the lost and weak. I’m so glad to be free of all that shit. The smoke burns deep in my lungs before I release it into perfect rings that immediately become misshapen and ugly, fizzling to pale toxic haze around my head. Leaning back, I suck on the cigarette again and look around my small room.

Paint hangs in ragged strips from the cracked ceiling. A water mark has crept down the wall like a disease, forming a brown Rorschach pattern on the yellow and orange wallpaper. Squinting, I try to interpret the shape created by the crazy lady in the apartment above me who had a thing for running water. A bowl of spaghetti? No. A bird? Nah. I remove my glasses and scrunch my eyes tighter. I feel like Mr. Magoo. It’s a dog; yeah, a beagle. I always wanted a dog but my dipstick of a father would never allow me to have one. I should get a dog. Yeah that’s what I’ll do when I get my advance. That would show the old man. I spend a few minutes puffing and fantasizing about the look on my father’s face when I stop by strutting with my new pit bull or what’s the other one, the big ugly one with the smashed in face and the bad attitude? Rottweiler, right. One of those big buggers would make daddy sit up and take notice.

The cigarette is almost gone; two more puffs and its back to the old grind, back to making magic. My knee starts to bounce up and down like it has a life of its own. No, no. I have to get back to it. Maybe I’ll work until noon then go for a walk. Fresh air, that’s what I really need. The air in this dump is so stale. I can’t be expected to work in this kind of atmosphere; it stifles the creative juices. Just a quick one around the block then I’m right back here, riding the creative surf board to fame and fortune.

I pick up my jacket and head for the door. Someday I’ll remember this dump and laugh. Someday, when they interview me on Jimmy Fallon or one of those other yahoo, late night shows, I’ll crack jokes about this place and everyone will laugh including Johnny or Jimmy or whatever his name is. I’m gonna be big, no doubt about it. I step out into a hallway that stinks of cabbage, urine and hopelessness. Maybe I’ll just slip into the Night Owl and tell the barkeep about my success. He’s always been a good listener, old whatshisname. Yeah just a quick one, then right back to it.

 

2 comments

  1. Sheree Schlote

    Peggy I’ve enjoyed both your stories on this site and hear you will be having another one published soon. I look forward to reading it and wishing you many more stories on this site.

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