Wednesday, April 7, 2010

the lie and how we told it: Time Again by David Layden

Time Again
by David Layden

If I had a name tag (and I sometimes wish I did) it would say HENRY. I only know because that is what this girl hovering above me – not at all angel-like – keeps saying. “Henry, where were you last night?”…”Henry, why do you look and smell like toasted dog shit?”…”Henry, get in the fucking shower and think and clean and think real good because you have some explaining to do.”

Even with this hangover I remember that dad accidentally switched the hoses under the faucet in the bathroom sink. It has been years now and I have just never bothered to switch them back. The routine: Turn on the cold tap (which is really the hot), check! Sit down on the toilet for five minutes with head in hands and go over list. I was yelled at today, this is how I woke up. I smell, check! My back hurts so I must have either slept on the floor or started out on the bed and was pushed onto the floor, check! There is a woman in my house I barely know, check! I have both hands and both feet, check! My name is... shaking my head in disappointment doesn’t make the answer come any quicker. I keep telling myself “I need a damn name tag."

I see steam rising from the sink, turn off the faucet and step into the shower. For two whole seconds my body is shocked by very cold water and then scalded as I fumble to turn the knob in the opposite direction, then I am shocked so I turn it again. It usually takes me a good minute to remember to turn by degrees, that small movements will yield pleasant results. I must be in here for a long time because every once in a while as the water beats down, as the toothpaste makes a trail out of my mouth, down my belly and collects for a few seconds moisture-like in my pubic hair then follows on to the floor, down the drain, as this happens I keep hearing through the soap and water in my ears, a dull pounding and that goddamned voice again. “Henryyyyy,” oh yeah, that’s my name... ”Henry you motherfucker you better not be avoiding meeee!!” And then the dissonance is gone and then it returns. The pounding gets louder, the words more cruel, the voice more sharp, then it retreats. What on earth could I have done to attract all of this anger? Thank God my house has good water pressure. Maybe it's strong enough to wash away all this dirt, this skin, these bones, that shrill cunt pounding on the door, this house, the block I am on, whatever it is I did wrong and the rest of my memory.

I grab my humongous salmon-pink towel and wrap myself, reach for the bathroom doorknob and hear a lot of quiet. I panic; she must be either distracted or waiting. My mind does not work in split seconds so I do my best. I unlock the bathroom door and hurry toward the bedroom. From somewhere not so distant I hear bare feet on wood floor heading toward me. Lock both bedroom doors, check! “Thump! Thump! Thump!”

“Why are you doing this to me?” With all the clarity I could muster I say in a very loud voice “May I please have some alone time, I have not had a good week and I need to sort things out and I cannot do it with you up my ass every waking moment!" And then there was a pause. I felt a fullness inside of me growing, an uncomfortableness. A quiet, then another quiet. And then, from behind the door, a muffled holocaust of words. “...shit...fuck you...son of you think you are talking to...I have been nothing but nice...fuck...” And then I open the door to see her wide-eyed, ugly. Anger made her not pretty at all. I started feeling a cramp and stopped. I looked her in the eye and said “We have only been dating for a goddamned month and already this is the grief I get? You act like a fucking wife!!” As the blur of her hand motioned towards my face I felt a cramp and then an easiness and then, sunshine. The look on her was absolute puzzlement. My face still stinging from her slap, I followed her gaze down past her breasts to her skirt, legs, socks, and shoes, which along with the floor were covered with lukewarm piss. I looked down at my cock which was halfway hard and dribbling urine now on my own foot. I paused then and heard rustling. When I looked up I saw half of her overcoat slip past the front door. I went over to the door quick and locked it, check!
David Layden can often be found in Santa Ana with a magical bag filled with magical whiskeys. This might just be a man who actually likes whiskey more than I do.

To read the other stories in "the lie and how we told it," click here.