Where is this? A widening parallelogram of sun rises on the living room. Its bright finger begins a slow investigation of the wooden floor. It climbs the side of a beer bottle used as an ashtray and grows longer and slides over the bottle and sweeps across a Robyn Hitchcock tape on the floor, a three-by-five card someone has typed something on, a potted plant. Sunlight rolls over the toe of a mannequin with a sombrero and plastic sunglasses. The radio comes on.
Jerome awakens into a burning anxiety. His personality returns in a blur of fragments. He crushes the goosedown pillow against the wall and leans up and blinks. His sleep had been an asphyxiating, dreamless, blank unconsciousness. A wretched cognizance overcomes him as he stares unblinking at the wall stained by feeble fogfiltered morning light.
The day has begun, the sky is grey. The weather hangs like wool, as still and irritating. The curtains move gently in the draft streaming in through the ruined window.
He will not go to work.
Cigarette clamped between two fingers, he stands up, staggers to the bathroom, and hurls repeatedly. With a gasp the chunks pour out, shaken loose. Chunks of what, he wonders dizzily, negotiating spasms. He hasn't eaten.
He stumbles outdoors into the ruins of cinderblocks and a rust eaten Webber grill, past an abandoned hot dog truck on bricks, a spent condom among beercans. Picking shreds of regurgitation from between his teeth using the pinky of his cigarette hand, he walks.
Today, he thinks, I help blow up the world.
Then, as the flames rise, I get drunk for real this time.