...My awakening is slow. I waft upwards towards full consciousness through a unsettling dream-state. Little, unidentifiable noises jolt me each time I try to slip back to blessed sleep. Eventually I give in and raise grainy eyelids. My head is slightly elevated so I let my eyes grind downwards. I am treated to a view of naked, shivering, sweaty flesh. My flesh unfortunately. An intense, whole-body tiredness has driven stakes through all my joints so I don’t move in an attempt to appease the pain that is gathering steam, ready to make me suffer. For some reason I’m laid out on the floor, with rolled up damp towels tucked all around me. A towel also covers my modesty. The bedroom I’m in is a disgusting mess. Judging by the stack of porno mags beside my head I think it must be mine.
My stomach convulses which stamps on my intention of never moving again. I ask for Will Power’s help to give me the strength to crawl; it’s way too soon to try walking. My slashed up lips are glued together with crusty blood. Not being able to open my mouth spoils the effect of the heartfelt moan I try to voice. I make it to the bathroom and kneel at the sink. Burning my hand under the hot tap that I mistake for the cold fires up shocked nerve endings. A numb brain begins cashing the cheques my body has saved up while it was blacked out. A wet towel dabs my lips but I must use a finger to force them apart. The groan waiting behind those puffy lumps of flesh rushes out. I continue washing the yellowish crust from the scrapes on my face and then woodenly tend to the punctures in my puffy, ragged hands.
Fuck! A sudden urge to crap nearly overtakes my fast scuttle to the toilet. I don’t even have time to put down the seat before a biblical rush of foul smelling liquid shit rushes from me. High velocity farts follow each ping- pong ball sized lumps that are possibly my major organs.
I groan some more over the next few minutes as my insides twist and squeeze out a decade worth of poo. A suitable period after the contractions ease I stand shakily and flush away the horrific mess.
Now that I’m standing, albeit in a geriatric slouch, I figure I may as well get under a shower. The water soon runs red with fresh blood as scabs soften and peel off. Several minutes of gentle scrubbing and pitiful groaning later I pronounce myself clean enough. My outlook on life is at an all-time low and the drugged limbo I’d enjoyed has been totally despatched.
I copy the movements of a sad, beat up wreck in the mirror when I reach for a towel at the same moment he does.
Holy shit, Mirror Me is a wreck.
I squint at myself through puffed up, blackened eyelids. Damn, I look shitty. My chubby face, which is covered in welts and tiny scratches, wants to shy away from the scrutiny, but I sneak a few sidelong looks. My beard that I feared was beginning to be streaked with grey, still contains flecks of vomit and dried blood. Annoyed and swearing at the inconvenience, I get back in the shower and wash it out before repositioning myself, dripping, in front of the derelict man I’ve become. I’d look better without the beard I suppose but shaving is out of the question. I’ve got enough cuts for the moment.
It’s hard to breathe. One of my nostrils appears to be blocked solid. In fact my entire nose glows like a poisonous red beacon. I shudder at the memory of the thing that did this to me. Using tweezers, I mine lumps of dried blood from it which means tearing out the nostril hair as well. Tears spring from my eyes and fresh blood plops from reopened wounds. A plug of toilet paper dams the flow.
I switch my attention to a painful ear hole. An experimental poke with a cotton bud hurts so bad I’m convinced to leave it alone..
Actually, everything hurts. I’ve adopted a constant low level moan for every action I perform with the addition of higher level squeals and hisses as needed.
I turn my bitten hand under my alarmed eyes. It has puffed up alarmingly. The red poison trail from the bite marks lead almost up to my elbow.
An infection! Jesus, a slow, death of rot and pus. I’m starting to get a bit morose , which could be seen as an improvement.
I bite back the involuntary girly shriek and turn it into manly profanity.
“Shhhhhhiiiiiiiiit! Son of a bitch!”
I’d completely forgotten about bringing Kristine to my home. She jumps in alarm them relaxes with a smirk, and leaning against the bathroom doorway like she owns the place. I turn back to the mirror to fold away my panic, but I see her gaze slide across my backside. She seems quite unimpressed. If I were a fish she’d just caught, I’d be thrown back for sure.
I make an effort to stare back at her using the mirror so I don’t have to turn my aching neck. She’s scrubbed herself up pretty well in the time I’d been crashed out. Other than some healing scratches around her face and dark rings around her eyes, she looks alert and, well, a bit of a stunner, I suppose. A dark-haired angel in a white bathrobe.
An errant wisp of steam uses a sinfully forming thought to form the outline of wings behind her. I blink rapidly and the vision clears.
“Sorry. Didn't mean to scare you.”
“S’OK. Yeah. I feel...”
I’m speaking slowly to keep my lips from banging together too hard which probably sounds retarded.
How do I really feel? I delve inside for something of substance.
I feel… sober. And I don't like it.
Kristine sees my eyes glaze and gives up waiting for a proper answer.
“So, is my hero rejoining the land of the living, or are you going to have another nap first?”
I detect an unwanted intrusion into my domain of sarcastic comment.
Some bloody hero I am. My adventures are nothing like the movies where the leading man pulls every unlikely stunt in the book, gets beaten up, saves the day, finds the energy to fuck the leading lady and then drives off into the sunset.
There’s no fucking or driving in my immediate future. Lying down, falling down or sitting down are the biggest decisions I’ll be making for a very long time.
A shockingly cool current of air reminds me I’m naked.
“Hey, get out. I’m not decent.”
I grab a towel and press it against an embarrassingly shrivelled penis. Kristine’s continuing smirk in no way bolsters my confidence in this respect.
“I’ve already seen everything you’ve got ‘big man’. Who do you think cleaned you up for the last couple of days?”
What’s that “big man” comment supposed to mean? More sarcasm? I’ll have her know that my penis fits very comfortably in the middle of the average zone, for her information. Slightly further towards the longer side of the middle average percentile according to my measurements and consultation of certain internet sites. And anyway there’s a lot of factors at stake here. Consider the coldness of this room! It’s only natural that it appears somewhat shrunken.
Kristine rolls her eyes at my stricken silence and leaves me to my inner turmoil. My humiliating is complete when she switches on the TV. Cringing , I hear fake orgasms blare from the speakers as the porn video I’d left on starts up.
She lets it run long enough to make her point before switching it off. I feel like a wayward child who has disappointed his mother.
I sigh and lean my forehead on the cool porcelain hand basin for a time until the tiny scrap of dignity I have left is tucked away. Kristine’s first impressions of me are decidedly unfavourable I am thinking.