Another small part of a Romany Skies. Either because I’m generous, or because I have nothing better to do. Take your pick.
“God damn it Sam, open your eyes will you!”
Jack shook the sleeping man, then shook again, harder. Sam, still asleep, slumped forward in the driver’s seat, his head banging on the steering wheel, the horn sounding a brief, muted honk in protest.
“Jesus H fucking Christ, Sam, will you wake the fuck up!” Jack shook the near comatose man even harder, then yanked on his arm. Sam slid sideways in the seat, and slithered, flopped out of the car onto the gravelled surface of the car park.
“Wha… gaa… wassup?” Sam tried to speak through numb lips and past a swollen, furry tongue. He peeled his eyes open, and the bright sunlight burnt straight through them, fusing his brain to the back of his skull.
“Ohh, gawd… sick…!” He rolled onto his side and gagged, but his tired body refused to cooperate by not allowing him to vomit. His head throbbed, expanding and contracting with every heartbeat, eyes burning from the light even though he had them closed tight. Sam raised a hand to his face, and it shook like a tree in a tempest.
“Think I’m dying, Jack,” he said thickly.
Jack leant back against the car, arms folded across his chest, and sighed.
“Yes Sam, you are. Everybody is, fer Christ’s sakes. We’re all getting older man. But you’re the only one I know that wants to die a death every day for the rest of his natural. Look at you man! You’re a mess, a bloody disgrace.” Jack paused for breath, looking at the rumpled, crumpled form laying before him. “And what the bloody hell are you doing sleeping in your car anyway?”
Sam groaned and opened his eyes, trying to focus on the wiry old man who appeared intent on worsening his hangover by berating him like a small child. The sunlight was still too bright for his aching brain, so he flopped his forearm over them as a shield. He felt every one of his forty three years, plus another thirty or so.
“You told me last night that I was too drunk to drive home,” he muttered.
Jack shook his head, the movement making Sam even more nauseated just watching it.
“I meant for you to get a taxi, or at worst stagger back to your house, you fool, not for you to sleep in your damn car!”
“Yeah… but… well… it seemed like a good idea at the time.” Sam made a feeble attempt to sit up, but it felt as though the ground was swaying, upsetting his balance and his already delicate stomach. He lay down again, groaning.
The back door of the pub flew open with a crash, and the small whirlwind that was Jack’s wife came breezing out, all skin tight jeans, leopard print top, platinum bleached hair and cheap perfume.
“Whatcha still doing talking to that drunk, Jackie honey? We need to be leaving or we’ll be late. And,” she winked lasciviously at Jack, “I might be able to spare a few minutes for some more loving.”
She scowled down at Sam, tutted, and disappeared back through the door, the scent of her perfume lingering behind as a reminder of her brief appearance.
“As you can see Sam, I have to go. You know Stella ain’t one to be denied.” He stepped over Sam as he headed after his wife. “I’ll call a taxi to take you home. Get yourself sorted out. Believe it or not, a few of your friends do still care, and it hurts us to see you this way. Imagine what Kate would say.”
He glanced back at the prone form of his friend, shook his head, hitched up his loose fitting trousers, and disappeared through the door, closing it quietly behind him.
The taxi pulled away from the curb, leaving Sam standing by the side of the road, swaying slightly. Imagine what Kate would say. Those words had hurt, forcing their way through his alcohol numb body to squeeze his heart. Imagine what Kate would say. It had been three years since her death, yet most days the pain was almost unbearable. Alcohol helped, a temporary relief from the stark reality of death, but it wasn’t enough. He thought of the stash of sleeping pills he had amassed, hidden in a cornflakes packet in the back of a kitchen cupboard, then shook his head. Jack had been right. Imagine what Kate would say.
Sam passed a hand over his face, fingers rasping on his three day old stubble. Sadness threatened to wash over him once more, and he took several deep breaths to ward it off. He needed to get a grip, he knew he did, but it was hard. So, so hard. He turned and shambled along the path to his front door, fishing the keys out of his jacket pocket as he did. Today was another day. Make it through, and tomorrow might bring something new. It was bullshit, he knew, but it was all he had. And, to be fair, it had worked for him so far. A brief laugh escaped his lips as he closed the door behind him, the coolness inside the cottage soothing his aching head. Tomorrow is another day. Well, fiddle-dee-dee, go get ’em Scarlett.
Once again, that shallot.