The growing wail of a siren pulled Roger back from a very unhealthy and uncaring sleep. He needed aspirin badly or some form of paraphernalia. He tried to gain leverage into the past few days but the best that he could do consisted of the cast from Jesus Christ Superstar and a rugby game.
“Why, oh why, do I drink,” he cried, and then abruptly sobered, “Oh yeah I don’t why don’t I think.” Events of the day before or was it Wednesday? cascaded through his mind like a bad Neiman painting:
Her and her chiseled boyfriend (owner of one of those god-awful singles aerobics bars) lugging out furniture; her telling him that their split was investable when she meant to say inevitable; and the hunk telling her, “Not that print it was so garish”; her saying Malcom or Jumanji or whatever the fuck his name was thought it was a good move, like he’s really sensitive you know; and the pompous prick trying to be real chummy, offering him a cut rate to join his yuppie spa, and Roger just standing there on the sidewalk shaking like the catch of the day, trying to provoke the fucking very image of Hercules or some other built motherfucker into a fight. And the dude just being real calm, giving him worldly advice, knowing that he already had his woman and knowing that Roger would probably break his fist on his chin anyway, like the bad cat in a Mighty Mouse cartoon don’t it make your blue eyes brown.
The continuous sounds of sirens may have interested him since he was trained to recognize the very sound that permeated below his window but did he care I mean I ask you.
“Sirens! Sirens! I can’t write, I can’t think, all I can do is drink, drink, drink!” his voice echoed in the stillness of the room, then died suddenly in his throat. The Kiss by Klimt, the sole work of art still left hanging on the empty wall; the print he spent three weeks hunting down for Terrasea, so that he may give it to her to mark their fifth anniversary. Even then, he could not be sure if she had been sleeping around the slut and to what extent she was already planning her escape from him and his fucked up problems.
The wail went from his heart to his head and mirrored the sense of loss he was feeling. She was truly gone; her heart had been given to another and Roger was savvy enough to know that once a woman gives her heart to someone, they give it their all and then again. He felt somewhat stupid also, hadn’t read the easy signs much less the subtle hints, so engrossed was he in his apocalyptic scenarios and his preponderance to dwell on things he could do nothing about or change in any way, he failed to take care of business.
Shit! Roger raised himself on one elbow and gradually focused, as a sliver of morning sun blared through the blinds. And in that shaft of light he could see the absence of a life Christ! She took everything. The walls in the bedroom looked worse than bare, for you could make out the outline of dust where the painting had hung, lighter shades on the carpet where the dresser had once stood; over to the right, her vanity table gone. His clothes were tossed in a heap, hey that was mine! where his bureau had rested.
Roger rose from bed and went over to the window. Pulling the blinds up, he readied himself for the onslaught of sunshine that would inevitably wake him fully. Below he could make out an ambulance that was just pulling out of the alley and several officers, as they unwound yellow tape to mark off the crime scene. Damn! I wonder if I’m missing a story. He reminisced the euphoria of his first breakout story, the accolades, the notoriety, and the awards. At the time he was the hero of the hour, the golden boy, who single-handedly stopped a major terrorist attack on the west coast, God, was it only four years ago toasted by politicians, feted on all the talk shows. The story caused a spike in newspaper sales across America. Like the phoenix I will rebuild my destroyed life from the ashes. The world moved fast and furious, and four years later he lived in an apartment he couldn’t afford at a time he couldn’t afford to be him.