Good Fucking Morning

Good Fucking Morning

by Mark Driver

7:12 AM and my mouth tastes like it’s been scrubbed out by an unlicensed nurse with a pair of gasoline soaked panties. My tight, pinched headache synchs perfectly, thoughts gliding aimlessly through my head like loose magnetic tape. Limbs hang dizzy and sausagelike with minor flailings I’m not sure I’m compelling, commanding, or controlling. It’s quiet out. The lunar part of the night slid silently off radar, replaced first by a calm, giggling dawn, and then by harsh fluorescent taxis and surly gray people going to work. Little kids glumly going to school. Christ, I feel like shit. Sun up, dry mouth, too bright. That first, hot part of morning sun. Sitting on the front porch of a house I don’t remember coming to, waiting for a cab that someone called me so they could finally get some goddamn sleep who the hell are you anyway.

I suppose I should feel cooler than I do, having spent the night in a hottub full of strangers, some naked, some not (I wore my shorts in), some rock stars, some not, smoking great richkid weed, drinking $150 worth of someone else’s Corona, pulling the moral high road when they started passing around the coke (please God save me from the stimulants). I think I ate something that had been sitting out in the sink for a few days – and now, covering my eyes as the cab rolls up and stuffs me in the back, black pleather corner, catapulting me around the back seat like a monkey on a rubber band. If touched, I would puke or scream and curl into a tender bud like those little flowers we used to torment when we were kids. The cab pulls up outside of my building an eternal 30 seconds later that’s actually 15 minutes. I shove a wad of bills at the driver and spill out onto the sidewalk, parts of me still soaking wet from the hot tub. Parts of me hope I don’t see anyone I know, parts of me hope that someone I know sees me, and the good part of me says I’m a chump for caring either way.

Going up the ancient elevator in my crumbling building it suddenly dawns on me that I might be in trouble. It is, by now, 7:30 in the morning and the last words to my girlfriend were from 9:00 the night before as, cup of Gatorade and rum in hand, I had said “I’m going to a show, I’ll be back by 2.” Did I call and leave some sort of message around 4? I thought I did, but I wasn’t sure. Who knows? If I did leave a message it would be something like “hey, it’s me, I’m at some house somewhere with people I don’t know in a hot tub. I’m really fucked up and these people are fucking freaks (screaming in the background). Don’t know when I’m coming home, bye! ……. uh, I love you.” Uck, that was, in fact, the very message I left. I’m definitely in trouble.

The scene that greeted me as I opened the door to the apartment was deja vu in someone else’s shoes. I felt like Andy Capp, red-nosed and apologetic, coming home far too late, far too drunk – little asterisks popping above his head while the wife hefted a rolling pin (remember when drunks used to be funny?). Now is the time for the punchline and the end of the night, where everything cuts to black and I wake up again in tomorrow’s edition in another comic strip where hilarity ensues. Only that’s what comics, and movies, and television shows leave out – the moment after the punchline that doesn’t fade to black or resolve itself neatly in time for the commercials. That time after the punchline that hangs on like an ambitious hawk at the back of a screeching family dog. After this punchline there is nervousness, boredom, silence, yelling, dark fingers of fatige swelling in the corners of my eyes, the stringing together of noteworthy incidents that piled and raged and kept me out of bed on this night. It always seems that when you need to do the most amount of explaining is when you’re in the least decent condition to be doing it. Cops, girlfriends, parents, hotel managers, whatever. But you put me on autopilot and by God this tongue does its fucking job. Not sure what the tongue did on this morning, but I know it didn’t lie. That’s not its style, unless the tongue is conducting business, and then everyone better look the fuck out.

But this is no business deal, this is my life and love – pissed, worried, sleepless, dealing with my shit as she’s off to work for the next 10 hours while I hum snugly in the bed I probably should’ve been in yesterday. Still, I’m no apologies, other than not calling sooner, honestly sympathetic to the fact that worried girls don’t sleep and sleepless nights before honest days of work (something I know next to nothing about) make an already tough working day that much shittier, and yes, it does hurt me to think of the girl I love rubbing her sleepy little eyes while drowning in the pettiness that pays her bills, cursing my name and scanning faces for a suitable replacement …..

She’s off to work and gone, still pissed. I’m saved by her work ethic. Most girls would call in sick and spend the day raking me over these coals and the piles of other coals that burn from yesterday back to my very first birthday, but she’s out the door and I’m on the bed, poisoned, black T-shirt constricted around my head to block out that blaring morning sun, red sheet curled around my calves, smelling like a bitter blend of Listerine, chorine, and, dare I say it, urine? Dirty hot tub pissers. The fight played over in my head. The night played over in my head. The fight played over in my head. I wouldn’t know this until later, but: everything would be alright. We’d have a nice night. We agree: She overreacts. I’m inconsiderate. Truce? Truce. Another clumsy patch welded onto the good ship relationship as it sails through the usual icebergs and walruses onto whatever I do wrong next. At this point, however, I’m still worried. Eventually worry gives out to hallucination, and hallucination goes to sleep. God bless you sleep.

But I’m not out for two hours before that bastard of a phone rings. My body turns up the volume and plays the full gravity of the situation in every pickled cell from my anus to my eyeballs. My stomach revolts, tries to burn its way to freedom – “anyplace but at the end of this guy’s esophagus” it says to my liver who grunts in agreement. I peel myself from the bed and fall like an unbelieving invalid into the wall. Legs don’t work when you burn them. My muscles are pissed. My bruises answer the phone because I’m stupid. It’s a boss, treble and hollow in some far off city.

“What are you working on now? It doesn’t matter, quit it. We’ve got an Online Emergency. The world is spinning sideways and could very well end. Everything is completely fucked up. I know it’s not your fault. We should never let the salespeople onto the server, I know. That UNIX class didn’t seem to help much. Something about rm’ing the main index directory. That’s serious, right? Christ, Driver, are you still sleeping? Get up, time to get up. Have a late night last night? Suck it up. Get to work Driver, we need you. Our clients are missing tee time. No, they’re not English, they’re golfers. I know it’s a stupid fucking game but this is what we pay you for. Wake up. Up and at ’em! Up and at ’em! Up and at ’em ……”