Frank opened one eye, then the other. He surveyed his dim apartment, cautiously. He felt the rhythmic snoring of the beast lying next to him. 2 AM. She wouldn’t be up for at least four more hours. He sat at the edge of his bed, brushing the Cheetos off his white-beater. There was a brown beer bottle next to the green lamp he read by. He took a drink…
“Oh, god! That’s my own piss. I must’ve got plowed last night, and was too lazy to use the bathroom.”
“What’s the matter?”
“Oh, go back to sleep.”
“No, no, you got me up.”
“I just drank my own piss.”
“Serves you right. It’s god punishing you for using his name in vain.”
“We don’t believe in god.”
“I’m starting to think you should. Somebody has to hold you in check—it certainly isn’t me. Now, go make me some waffles, and put the coffee on.”
Frank needed the morning, to make sense of his day. His therapist was lying in the corner, asleep. He lived with two women, and they always fought for his attention. She had sexy silver buttons that he pushed. He could smell her black ink, when he turned her on with his charm. She always made him feel good, and without her, he was nothing. The Imperial typewriter was a way to deal with his boss, his girlfriend, traffic, his job, and now he loved the stories coming out of her, but there wasn’t time to write—he had awakened the monster.
“Frank, you left your socks on the floor, and your underwear. This is why I can’t have my friends over, and where are my waffles?”
“Liz, I’m leaving you 10 dollars for the waffle house. Pete’s here! I got to go.” Frank left the third floor, tripping on a skateboard on the way down. “Damn teenagers!”
Pete was in a Red Ford Ranger, beat to hell. He was smoking a long cigarette, and drinking a cup of coffee. Dunkin Doughnuts. “You woke her up, didn’t you?”
“How did you know?”
“I can always tell. It’s going to be a long day. The union is threatening to strike.”
“I can’t have that happen. I need this job to get away from Liz.”
“Why don’t you try to write your novel.”
“Any time I’m not at the job, is Liz’s time.”
“Make an excuse and go to the library. What do you have in your pocket?”
Frank showed him, Octopussy.
“James Bond, huh. Brother, we are as far away from that, as a man can get.”
“I don’t know. We take care of human waste.”
“Exactly! Jeffers switched us to Zone 7.” Pete looked like he had poop under his nose.
Zone 7 was the worst circle of hell, reserved for employees who talked back to the boss.
“What did you say?” Frank asked.
“I told him that he wasn’t measuring up. That’s why he couldn’t get a woman, and that’s why nobody liked him.”
“Why did you say that?”
“He took the vending machines out of the breakroom.”
“You know that you can’t insult his height. All the world’s problems were created by little men. Hitler. Napoleon. And Alexander the Great. They overcompensated by making guys like us do shit jobs like Zone 7.”
To be continued…