I dedicate this story to Anita, who was so lost in her own life that she had to live in the thoughts of others.
Who's Ursula and Alex? Who cares!
A Quick Thought
In an empty room is any sound created? In a silent bedroom, blinds half drawn, the sunlight’s intensity slowly building through the cracks of glass glinting through black canvass, does any noise penetrate dusty, heavy ears? If a mind is momentarily disabled from last night’s intake of a shared carafe of the house white wine, six half litre bottles of Becks, and several assorted shooters, containing a mixture of spirits, the ingredients not entirely including baileys, kahlua, sambuca, grenadine, tequila and three types of whisky, then does anything exist outside of that, at this moment, very incapacitated brain? The only points of reference computed are sensations; several zones of pressure pushing into the skull, a dryness of the mouth so real that one can taste sand, and, an uneasy weight slowly and gradually building inside the bladder. The floor and walls moved uneasily, as the formerly immobile body shifted from its resting place and sat on the edge of the bed. Tiny silver lines blazed and swam in the corners of its sight, as it opened its eyes, and realised its sweaty nakedness and very sticky fingers. It searched for a point of reference, but couldn’t find any clothes, not on the floor, or the end of the bed, or anywhere else in the room. The body stayed very still and tried to let any sort of thought bubble up to the surface of perception. This was surely the worst hangover it had ever encountered.
Slowly, ever so torturously slowly, a giant rumble pealed into the body’s consciousness from outside the window hanging overhead. The drawstring of the blind was fumbled for and then finally found, the blind allowed to drop with a crash, one disproportionate to the noise roaring outside, and then hoisted upward to reveal a yellow crane, at least twice the size of the bedroom, swinging straight at the inquisitive and aching and perspiring person now watching agog at the quickly unfolding proceeding.
Perceptions and angles are a funny thing: the crane, never aimed at the bedroom in the first instance, seemingly lifted away from the room at the very last moment and swung into the construction site next to the apartment complex, its true destination, as the reluctant waker found their feet, as they madly dashed for the bedroom door, and a source of exit, before their legs, surprisingly not the stable platform they normally, reliably are, gave way and involuntarily spilled the waker into a spiralling swan dive, down onto the hard, unyielding floor. The empty bottles dislodged from their congealed residue made a tinny, loud clunk as they bounced and rolled about the pine wood landing pad; a sound that, to the less perceptive, distracted mind, would seem to be the chaotic din appropriate for the ultimate end of existence, created courtesy of an oversized piece of industry-standard construction equipment.
The body began to move after a minute had expired, after concluding it was not dead, and very much alive, and newly aching in its body from point of contact with the floor, along with the existing soreness that it had been dealing with since awakening, and still very, very nude, in a room it, it had absolutely no real idea where the room was located. It carefully lifted itself off the pine-wood floor, making sure not to step on one of the Becks’ beer bottles caught in a groove in the wooden boards and rolling back and forth, and as it did so decided that the apartment was somewhere in a city; the city.
At such a period of recognition the décor of the room will inevitably start to impose itself. The walls were a blinding white and made the silver lines in the body’s sight momentarily reappear. Several ornately framed posters, styled in expensive, Roman Baroque motif, featuring scenes from vintage foreign films of the 70s, courtesy of the auspices of the Italian, French, and Swedish film industries, hung off invisible hooks, and a long, sleek table, made out of what appeared to be pine, stained dark, which shared space with a slim, flat screen monitor, of the latest model of Macintosh computer system, in an aluminium and glass case, surrounded by more beer bottles with the labels peeled off, lied in the corner. A large wooden cupboard, made out of Jarrah, with tiny carvings of children populating its dual panels and posing overtly, was in front of the hangover elect. The blinds, light fixtures – and their respective switches –, door handles and hinges, all shared a clever, minimal, stainless steel motif.
The awoken, but not exactly fresh, body was momentarily impressed by what they saw; not just anyone would outfit the room in such a refined, carefully cultivated taste. It looked closer at the children carvings, first realised that the portraits were no older than two, and secondly, completely, absolutely naked, before the matter of its own nudity came back to the fore. They opened the cupboard doors, only to reveal an impressive selection of clothing that hung from tastefully chosen, black and silver hooks.
When flicking through the first clothes at hand, it is not important to note what the details are, as more important is a quick solution for correcting the current aberration of nakedness, so a dusty mind can bring its full attention towards solving the mystery of where it currently finds itself. The body stopped at a fluffy green bathrobe and removed the garment and respective coat hanger, and paused to discover a piece of cursive embroidery on the front of the garment, that which read: “Alex”. It stared at this name for what was a long time, before slipping the bathrobe over its shoulders and tying up the front; the name seemed very, very familiar to its perception. Not only are perceptions and angles a funny thing, so too the mind can be as well, when under the duress of a head ache, and confused, and not storing properly the short term memory recently created of the crane swinging by the window, that same crane now making a return journey, and appearing as though the construction equipment was looming over, and threatening to crush, the bedroom a second time, a threat that was duly noted and instantly reacted to as the hangover elect let out a stifled scream through cracked and dry lips and dove under the bed it had only just woken up from, before the true reality of the situation could sink in and the crane once again swung away from the apartment and into the lot next door.
After a body has taken in all the information it is able to gather about its immediate surroundings, and finds itself no less the wiser, it is key for that body to take itself, with head throbbing and skin crawling up and down its back, to a new location to try distell further insight into its predicament. It is also important for this body, when given the proposition of a full bladder with no let up in burning pressure of urine, to try not to wet itself and instead empty its bladder at a commonly accepted toilet of the day.
Surprisingly, the hangover elect seemed to know exactly where it was going, in an instinctual sense, as if its state of mind when languishing in sobriety would know what it was to face, when it opened the door to the apartment and stepped out into the hallway adorned with more Roman Baroque-clad posters and black wood and aluminium bookcase stuffed with modern classics of the day – not entirely including, Orwell, Greene, Tolkien, Kafka, Hegel, Derrida, Jacques Lacan, and Wittgenstein – and what, alarmingly, appeared to be the entire collection of every novel ever penned by Patricia Cornwell, of which was featured on an entire self. It knew with no undue certainty that the door perpendicular to the bedroom entrance would contain a bathroom.
It contemplated this epiphany as it sat down on the toilet bowl and relieved itself with great satisfaction, as it rest its head against the washing basin and felt the cold porcelain ease its sore and hot forehead.
As it washed its hands, and duly realised that the impossible and ineffable stickiness of its fingers was not receding but instead seemed to be growing stronger with each scrub, the slow, slow body took note of its red, flushed cheeks, and closely cropped bob of black, dyed hair, with tiny, faint blonde roots showing at the crown, of which was a widow’s peak, and reconsidered the cursive, backwards “xelA” on its left breast. Can a place be remembered from a past life inhabitation, a new place one has never been to before? The body clenched its fists, and felt the way the skin pulled against skin as the fingers loosened and let go. Can one experience an event and yet not be there when it happened? As it rubbed its index finger and thumb together, which only further made the stickiness of skin even more adhesive, and as looked into the mirror again – a neo-gothic abomination encircled in spires, barbed wire and, in every corner, dual snakes spiralling around each other and touching forked tongues – it decided that it could quite possibly be a seminal approximation of the first and last person to ever walk upon the face of the earth. In true gothic style; the iconography of the mirror’s frame was made to seem identical and matching and symmetrical on first inspection and yet, when looked at and carefully studied, it revealed inconsistencies and flaws and peculiarities particular to each individual element: one of the snakes winked at the audience as it lunged in for a kiss, another had the anachronistic head of Rasputin (the time period was all wrong) and a third was missing its eyes.
As tired, and distracted, and unsteady of mind as an intransient in time, lacking in sleep, and disorientated as to their exact position in the greater overall scheme of physical placement and memory loss was, the engravings around the mirror were still enough to make the said intransient step back in a reaction of shock and dismay. It took in the neo-gothic aberration further and knew that it would replace the monstrosity if it were the one to be living in this apartment. Eyes flicked back to the embroidery, and the last thought, that only seconds before entered the dusty brain connected to them, was computed, “if it were the one to be living”. To the right a distant, pealing rumble sounded through the bathroom’s black and white tiled wall.
“Alex” didn’t have to check to know that there was construction taking place in the empty building lot next to the apartment complex, didn’t have to think too hard to conjure up the image of a kitchen and connected lounge room behind the other shut door it hadn’t opened yet, or remember the scene of chaos in the bedroom, even if it didn’t understand the true reason for the empty bottles, regardless of the sureness that it drank some, if not all of them, or that behind the final shut door in the hallway lied, lied a room, a room that, that contained, contained certain artefacts of living, and incontestable objects of worth, objects that proved, proved that, that in relation to – “Alex” clutched its head and decided that the sink’s basin was as good a steadying device as any to deny the body’s wish to lose balance and fall over.
A newly formed brain can always, regardless of the seemingly sure-fire effectiveness of indoctrination, register and develop incorrectly a portion of the details to its existence, and live with incongruent memories that it doesn’t realise the inaccuracy of. The remaining closed doors, now open, didn’t reveal what “Alex” had expected them to. Firstly, the open-living, joint kitchen and lounge room were behind the wrong door and were a mirror image of the mental floor plan that it had envisioned. Secondly, the other room was completely, absolutely, empty, with the only signs of anyone having lived there being several pieces of dry, yellow, adhesive tape stuck to the wall, and some scratches and a dark stain, apparently from a hot liquid spill, on the wooden floor. It is hard to say whether “Alex” noticed the faint, yet still there regardless, odour, which was nothing unpleasant, or even that remarkable, but was certainly of a different stench from the room that it had woken up in, and particular to this empty space. Even if it didn’t notice this anomaly, “Alex” was however positive that the room, which felt like a blank on the mind, wasn’t a coincidence and had a very real meaning to it, as the hangover elect hovered at the entryway to the room, and something deep and unconscious inside its body tried to find a reason otherwise for it to be concerned about the emptiness before it.
The hangover elect, faced with an unshifting headache and very palpable uneasiness in the stomach, that was starting to rise to the chest in the form of either tremendous heartburn or something else much more insidious, possibly the remnants of last night’s activities, prised itself away from the mystery of the missing room, that it was sure the contents of which hadn’t actually disappeared but were displaced within its mind, a thought which seemed to be the cause of a deep seated concern, and turned its attention, all in an attempt at distraction from the hot burn in its now frowning brow, onto the final room it hadn’t given any more than the most perfunctory of examinations so far.
But instead of being impressed by the lavish, open-living plan kitchen and lounge room area, and massive, 72″ Sony brand, black plasma screen hanging off the wall, faux Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, and Claude Monet prints in styled, minimal, polished bronze frames, collapsible three piece dinner table sculpted out of jarrah, covered in even more empty green beer bottles, some of them peeled, others untouched, formal, yet comfortable looking, studded leather Chesterfield couch, dish washer and oven in stainless steel finish, and kitchen counter tops decked in a very, very real marble, “Alex”, on the contrary, felt a surprising sense of pride, as it held its hot, and dehydrated, and throbbing head over the kitchen sink, and coughed and barked up a piece of violet coloured phlegm, not dissimilar in appearance to that of a small piece of coral.
The body has deep-seated urges, ones that rise up and are only marginally controllable at best. Not many of the people inhabiting the Earth are able to enforce the strict regime of self-denial and sacrifice that is a requirement for any chance of conquering these inner, subconscious, reptilian desires. The body hung over the sink, as the silver lines wavered up and down the walls in diametric poles, almost like they were pulling apart, by the corners, the portrait of vision that they belonged to, the sudden unsteadiness of the room complemented by the sure immobility of the thin sliver of counter top that enjoined the aluminium sink, and now rested underneath “Alex”’s hands, as the body experienced a great, faint-worthy emptiness and a roaring ocean of bile rose from its stomach and up to its throat, to meet and greet and burn the reflux valve at the back of its mouth.
Gracefully, the vomit subsided almost as quickly as it had arrived, and while the hot liquid receded back into the chest cavity on route to the stomach, “Alex” convinced itself that it was the one to choose not to perform the act of emesis, when, in reality, it was the body’s internal processes, as it brushed away the loose black hairs hanging down into its eyes, and noticed, for the first time, riding out from underneath the cuff of the bathrobe, a Bvlgari bracelet around its wrist, a broad banded, 18carat, white gold, Bvlgari cup bracelet with pavé set diamonds, tightly bound around its left wrist, wrapped so tight, like one half to a set of handcuffs, and that the piece of jewellery had not moved during the entire time the body had been awake.
“Alex” stared at the bracelet, the foreign object cut so tight into the skin that the jewellery was almost fused to its very real flesh, and all the unanswered questions that had been pushed into the background of the mind returned to the fore, in the form of nagging, inquisitive, unfolding arguments exhibiting a train of logic alarming to “Alex”’s currently fragile mental and physical state. Such as: why was everything so familiar and yet nothing would strike inside its mind to fill in the information missing, information that could inform the body further and alleviate the confusion? If “Alex” lived here, then why couldn’t it be certain of such a fact, and why were there no pictures of itself in this space, if it lived here then surely it would keep mementos of its existence, and, precisely, whose bracelet was this?
It dawned on “Alex” that not all of the items in the apartment it liked, such as the mirror, and the television, and the computer, and the cupboard with its very, very problematic child pornography, it could do without these items, however, the books and paintings were so familiar it could recite and remember and recall their pictures and words without any prompting, and surely that in itself didn’t make any sense if it truly were the resident, experiencing different feelings toward what it owned, wouldn’t it just get rid of what it didn’t care for? The bracelet was something that the hangover elect, now very confused, and still aching, and exhibiting symptoms of sweaty queasiness, felt mixed reactions toward. It liked the jewellery, but the bracelet on its wrist didn’t feel like it was completely its own.
And how could someone’s fingers be so sticky? “Alex” tried in vain to loosen the bracelet, but the catch would not be set free, like the hangover elect didn’t really have absolute full control over what was in its possession, the unknown residue, that was stuck to the finite skin cells on the exterior of its fingers, was only making the effort even more futile. Inevitably, the bracelet dislodged and painfully twisted around the soft points of flesh on the body’s petite wrist, all at the same exact constricting diameter. “Alex” winced and angrily rapped the bracelet against the marble counter edge in three measured, forceful, blows. With not some insignificant, malicious glee, it took note of the ever so slight chip, which it could now spot, newly scratched, in the marble.
But the most alarming thought of all, was, indeed, if it didn’t live in this luxurious apartment, then, well, how had it come to be here? And who did live here?
The door to the mind will not open, it is stuck, and requires a forceful push, from the other side, the silent room began to spin, and the hangover elect felt like a fly trapped inside an upturned glass. If one is imprisoned inside an escape proof cell, and the walls of the said cell were translucent, would one want to look outside, even if one knew there was no way of ever being on the other side, before the jail sentence had expired?
“Alex” uneasily plodded over to the long window, which overlooked a park, a large pine tree partly blocked the view, but still it could make out the feet and legs of a sunbather lying on a towel, and a pathway which led to a lime green bridge that lied over a cobblestone canal, trickling with water, that split the grass at the section of the park. “Alex” followed the lie of the land and paused at a main road, that lay parallel to a row of low rose bushes running along the outside perimeter of the grass, as a white and red tram shot past, letting out a loud ring to go with the metallic scratching and rumbling of its steel wheels on the stained red-brown tracks digging into the bitumen. It was no later than three o’clock in the afternoon, judging from the shadows of the trees, cast from the sun.
The current information displayed before the body was of no help, there were numerous parks in the city, the tableaux could belong to any one of them, and the hangover elect absent-mindedly picked up an empty beer bottle, lying flat on the seat of the couch, the label unpicked, it could feel something rough and sand-like caked to the glass, and walked back over to the sink, turned on the cold water faucet, washed away the coral shaped spit it had just hocked up, and placed the bottle on the kitchen counter to go with the rest of the rubbish earmarked for recycling. As the body did so the front door in the living room creaked and clicked, and the handle turned ninety degrees and swung inward.
Alex, the owner of the bathrobe, and the other clothes in the cupboard, along with most of the items in the apartment, that “Alex”, the hangover elect, the slow, sweaty body, had discovered and considered for the last half hour, stepped over the threshold, and into the apartment, and took in the body with no little surprise:
“Ursula, you’re still here?”
Alex stopped dead for a tangible second, smirked, and hung his keys on one of the tiny metal hooks next to the door, and then took a step closer to “Alex”, as he hooked his thumbs into the waistband of his shorts.
“Well, fancy that.”
Alex was styled in a white polo shirt with blue, thin horizontal stripes, a matching fluffy, white, sweat band, with excited tick, on his left wrist, high cut camouflage shorts, thick black saddle-stitching ran up the sides, wide Italian leather loathers and white sockettes, the entire look topped off by an audacious red rubber band, worn for awareness of World Aids Day, worn two weeks past the date, on his other wrist.
When an unintentional doppleganger comes face to face with the real article that it has, unbeknownst, to the body, been filling in for, an instant, sobering, hangover wiping, information ripe, and metaphysical reaction, inside the body is affected. Unfortunately for Ursula, learning her real name was not quite enough to end her confusion. She stared hard at Alex; he had bags under his bloodshot eyes, the polo shirt was completely unbuttoned at the neck, beads of sweat hung off the tip of his nose, and his hair had not been moused like usual. It was obvious to her, he was nursing a hangover as well; she hadn’t drunk all of those empty bottles in the apartment, that much was certain.
She unconsciously tightened the drawstring of the bathrobe and crossed her arms over her small breasts. Why was it he didn’t really seem like he was expecting her, and yet he was amused all the same by her appearance? She made sure to pay careful attention to his reply as she asked:
“What am I doing here?”
Alex straightened up at this question and walked around her, distracted by the bottles on the jarrah table and tried to hold as many as possible in his hands.
“Standing there. You could have cleaned up when I was out.”
He looked at her, still completely stone faced, but she could see the eyebrows arch ever so slightly, in a bemused way, as a bottle slipped from his thumb and forefinger, which he barely noticed in time to stop it from dropping. It was an old trick to stir her up, she could remember that much.
“Oh, fuck off!”
“You’re always so quick to turn personal.”
“That’s ‘cause I don’t suffer fools – ”
“Didn’t seem like that last night.”
Alex smiled, the trick had legs: she paused, confused, Ursula didn’t want to be in this state, as she stood before him, feeling dumb, and tried to make some sense of her predicament, at a loss for sense, and confused, as Alex deiced to play the trickster, and act out a game with her, not answering any of her questions with a straight reply, which wasn’t what she needed at all in this period of time, which could have been, and almost certainly was, anywhere, such was the degree of her distress. He placed the beer bottles on the kitchen counter – they clinked together as one fell over and made a dull, echoed sound as it spiralled across the marble. Ursula couldn’t remember if Alex still peeled the labels off bottles like he used to, or if that was a trick she had picked up off someone else. Alex coming back home didn’t really help Ursula at all.
“Look, what am I fucking doing here?”
He rubbed the back of his neck, his hand ran around to his adam’s apple and brushed against a necklace, the silver half of a broken love heart, a cheap looking necklace, spilt out from behind the unbuttoned polo V, and then disappeared from where it had come from. He leant against the marble counter top, folded his arms, mimicked her posture, hunched his shoulders and pretended to look concerned.
“You’re starting to get a bit strange.”
Ursula knew that he didn’t own a racquet, but didn’t know why he was dressed like a tennis player would. She broke the mimicry and scratched at the Bvlgari bracelet digging into her skin.
“Did I stay here? I mean, am I –“
Alex let out a melodramatic sigh and straightened up, broke eye contact and started searching the apartment for something.
“No, you’re not living here. Not any more, remember?”
He looked at the jarrah table, then the couch, next the counter top, craning his neck, and, as he did so, over Ursula’s shoulder, she tried to draw his attention to ask him:
“So, what happened?”
He scratched his nose, looked back at the couch again, arched his back and leant over the cushion and dug between cushion and the backing of the seat.
“Do we have to go through that again?”
“But if I’m not here, living here, then where are my clothes, how did I get to be here? And what do you mean by that; ‘Do we have to’ – ”
He produced a remote control and pointed and flicked a button, in the same precise motion, which caused the Sony plasma screen to flare up and display to a channel that blared out a special news report that seemed to discuss, in detail, the pros and cons of a falling stock market.
“I must have thought you up.” Alex nonchalantly remarked.
She knew he had to be kidding again. But what if he wasn’t, what if there was some truth to what he said, if she wasn’t real, and wasn’t actually in the apartment, in which case where would that leave her exactly? She looked back outside the window as Alex grinned.
“You’re a quick little thought I had last night. One that hasn’t gone away.”
“But– ” Ursula took two quick steps over to him. “Stop fucking with me! I’m real, I’m here!”
Alex hooked a thumb into the waistband of his shorts, and hung his other arm over his head, let it rest there in the crook of his elbow, his arm swinging loose, as the polo short rode up and a patch of blonde pubic hair peeked out from between the bottom of his shirt and the top of his shorts.
Ursula stopped dead in her tracks, and tried not to stare at his stomach, and his pubes, and his dick, and tried not to react to him as he came closer, closer to her, a shit eating smirk on his face, close as a couple of inches, now centimetres, and now almost brushing against her.
“Hey, here’s another quick thought: how about you sling off that ‘robe and we fuck again?”
“We had sex last night?”
Her robe was loose and slipped down past the breastbone of her chest. Had it been like that the entire time he was in the apartment? Did they have sex last night? That Alex said it didn’t really reveal any new information inside her mind, he might have said it just to mess with her. He grabbed her drawstring and tried to pull it free.
“No Alex, I’m too sick and hungover.”
Ursula stepped away but made sure not to turn her back to him. She might have felt unwell but she was too quick to know what he wanted to do.
“I don’t see what – ”
“I need to figure out what’s going on.”
“What’s to figure out, you’re still here.”
Ursula scratched her scalp furiously, and her hair wildly puffed out. The television seemed like it had become louder; had he turned up the volume with the remote control? A bald man in a pinstripe suit – representing the Bank of Deutschland –
droned on, without using any commonly accepted words of the day, and the noise invaded the tightly constricted skull she was the owner of.
“It’s too late, now you’re definitely strange.”
Ursula felt desperate, she stared hard at him, and waited, and didn’t make a sound.
“Yes, you are real. Yes, you are in the apartment.” Alex stressed these two points with his hands outstretched, like he always did when he was annoyed, or short on patience. Some of her tricks still worked as well.
“But how am I here?”
“I guess you came in through the front door, like I did moments ago?” Alex shrugged and tried not to smile.
It was no good; it didn’t add up, the situation, and his appearance, and her being in the apartment.
“Where are my fucking clothes?!”
“Dunno. Did you bring any?”
He didn’t even try to hide his grin, a devilish light took over his eyes, he adopted the look of a faux brainwave hitting him, and the sarcasm positively dripped as he posited:
“It makes perfect sense! You’re not here, you’re a figment of my imagination!”
It was her turn to invade his space. If he didn’t have the room to manoeuvre, he couldn’t avoid her and turn the question inside out, she’d force him to answer straight, and feel awkward if he tried to talk his way out of the situation.
“But… I’m here! I’m real! You’re talking to me!”
Ursula stood close to him, right underneath his nose, her foot, the underside stained black from walking over the wooden boards, brushed against his bare shin as it stamped down hard on the floor, but for some reason Alex held the smirk on his face.
“So where are your ‘fucking clothes’ again?”
Her head felt rotten and every bone in her body ached. She was a puzzle set, one where the manufacture of the game, back in the toy factory, had been lacking, and there were gaps between the pieces, the entire picture threatened to fall apart, even though technically it was correct.
She knew he was ready for her reply, and had an answer for whatever she was going to say next, the conversation would go back and forth like this for hours, the answer never forthcoming, as they cleaned the apartment, and succumbed to their hangovers, as the shadows grew long, and finally, by careful and clever scheming, Alex would open the stainless steel of the fridge, the fridge that together they had bought last summer from the Ewe white goods store, and hand her a Becks, and crack the top to his bottle and, with a smirk, toast to something irreverent, such as ‘the hair of the dog’, or ‘harmless drinking’, or the old, deadpan, satirical favourite: “Here’s to you and me’.
She stood away from him.
“Fuck this. I’m going.”
She pushed past Alex and stomped to the front door, he didn’t follow, but, instead, called after in a high whine.
“Don’t take my bathrobe!”
Ursula paused and considered the garment she had on, with its cursive ‘Alex’, the soft, green fabric, and the drawstring that hung loose, and then shrugged.
The bathrobe is stripped off, scrunched into a ball and thrown at Alex’s head, as the hangover elect opened the front door and, without a backward look, leapt over the door’s threshold and slammed the frame shut, slamming it loudly, the wall of the lounge-room shaking violently.
Alex wiped the sweat off his face with the bathrobe and tossed it on top of the table, walked over to the chesterfield couch, sat down and, using the remote, switched off the plasma screen. He wondered whether he should switch on the computer and start work on the new design project that had to be finished by next week, or keep on cleaning away the empty bottles and sweep the floor, or go back to bed and get some more sleep, but the alcohol induced fog in his brain was too thick to be pierced by thoughts proactive and wouldn’t let up, as the silence of the room slowly took on a loud din, which was broken by a light, invasive knocking on the front door.