by HST UK on July 16, 2013


He woke with a clay mouth. Swallowing took great effort, so instead he gulped in a mouthful of air. Something had stirred him. Yes, that was it; the ringing that was infiltrating his ears came from the alarm clock. It’s ok, he thought. Today is Sunday.

Today wasn’t Sunday, and it took him another thirty seconds to realize this. A jolt of panic pulled the covers from his body, he couldn’t feel the bed sheets, and they fell off him as if removed by a poltergeist. He was trying to figure out what to do. Saturday was an eight o’clock start. The red digits read 08:02am.

Ok, right, what to do… He got out of bed, staggered around on the balls of his feet. Sun light shot through the gap in the curtains, it pointed across the living room carpet. He followed the light and it led to a pool of red. Had a crime taken place? He bent down to take a closer look, squinting hard because he wasn’t wearing his glasses.

Vomit. The potent smell of which forced him back to his feet. Not enough to suggest a full stomach emptying hurl but enough to be of some concern. He rubbed his left arm nervously, and something flaked away from his wrist. Again, it was red. Clues began to get noticed.

He moved into the bathroom to take a look in the mirror, and noticed a pale rouge hand print on the sink, and a splatter of vomit in the basin. His eyes were bloodshot, a different kind of red.

Ok, it was now time to think. Try and recall how he got home. What did he do last night?

Usually he would consult his phone and read erratic drunk text messages he had sent with clumsy sticky thumbs to give him an approximate timeline of misadventure. The outbox was empty. He had deleted his history. Perhaps this was a bad thing. This made him a little paranoid. Did he send something he shouldn’t have sent?

The phone would at least solve one problem. He dialled the control room, the line rung for what seemed like an eternity before. “Hello control, how can we help you?”

Words were slurring in his mouth as he curled his lips and told a porky pie. He was running late – fact. He needed time to get ready – fact. He was not at home, a family emergency had taken him across town, therefore he needed to head back to the flat and collect his uniform. He’d try and make it in for nine – fiction.

Fatigue crept in and the crepitus creaked in his joints, each movement was arduous. He staggered into the shower and let the water wash over him. He scrubbed the red from his wrist and hoped for at least one pure thought.

He thought of Roberto Duran surrendering to the referee back in ’80. “No Más”.


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