by Madeline Laughs
Barney woke up in his usual spot on the sofa, with a splitting headache. It was already three o’clock in the afternoon. He was sleeping more during the day now and staying up all night chatting on the Internet. He was usually so bombed out of his mind on a steady diet of prescription pills and bong hits, that as the sun rose he was just hitting his stride of belligerence, peppered with more lies.
It wasn’t surprising that everyday the number of friends he had online took a nosedive. He was probably the most blocked person on the Internet. No matter, he thought, I can always make new friends. And he did. There were always a group of losers, just like him, waiting to make friends to have someone to verbally abuse. The catch was just being better at it than they were. That way they stuck around a while.
He reached into his handy dandy pill container and popped a few pickemups to get his day started. Or his afternoon, whatever. He didn’t care if he was keeping vampire hours. He had nothing else to do and no responsibilities.
He strolled into the kitchen and started the water boiling for his instant coffee and then ran down the hall to the bathroom. His prostrate had been giving him a fit lately and was swollen again this morning, which sent his bladder into a fit. By the time he made it to the toilet and pulled down the elastic band of his sweat pants, he already had another wet spot to add to the myriad of dried pee stains already on the front of his pants. He shook his head and fussed as he peed. He guessed today he might change his pants before going out to check his mail.
After several cups of joe and a few bong hits, he had accomplished nothing more than checking his messages online and surfing some porn.
He decided to get dressed.
Donning a newer pair of semi-clean, bright yellow sweat pants and a fresher teeshirt, he stopped by the bathroom to pop his teeth out and give them a good scrub. You just never know who you might run into out at the mailboxes and if he felt like saying hello, he wanted his breath to be as fresh as a daisy mint. No concern was given to the fact that he hadn’t bathed in several days, or that he smelled like walking death. His breath would be fresh and that’s all he cared to manage at the moment.
After sliding his feet into his soiled slippers, he walked over to the flaps in his blanket curtains and did a little reconnaissance for his mailbox mission. He liked his old slippers. He bought them at the Dollar Tree and when he was checking out the lady behind the counter made the remark that his mother was going to enjoy them. He knew they were lady slippers, the kind with the open toes that you slide into, like flip flops, but he didn’t care. They were really soft and they didn’t hurt his feet. He even wore them to the market sometimes.
He peeped through his flaps long enough to establish that the parking area he had to cross in order to reach his mailbox was empty of all life.
He didn’t like to run to the mailbox. Honestly, he didn’t like to run anywhere because the bulk around his midsection made his knees scream out in protest. He liked being able to casually cross the short distance with a devil-may-care walk. Like he was James Dean in a cool movie. This way, anyone looking out their window watching him could think “Now there goes a cool handsome dude” just checking his mail, like he won the lottery, or something.
He started out the door and began the long, 100 yard walk to his mailbox.
Nothing but junk mail. He was disgusted that he had gone through all of this preparation and angst for junk mail. He rifled through the small stack of envelopes one more time just to make sure there was nothing important. Nope! Just trash. Now he’d have to add it to his already overflowing trash can inside.
Taking out the trash was a recon mission for another day…walking his trashbags out to the dumpster wasn’t half as scary as checking the mailbox. He made those trips in the dark of night and didn’t bother brushing his teeth for them either.
He surveyed the parking lot between him and his front door to make sure nothing stirred. All clear! He began his casual stroll back to his apartment and resisted the urge to break into a run.
And that’s when he saw her.
- Exercise That Trunk!! (terry1954.wordpress.com)
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