Friday, August 7, 2009

Living Room

He passed out in mid-drink at eight o'clock.  His left hand hit the end table, and the warm beer he had been nursing fell and leaked yellow onto the carpet below.  The couch he sat on smelled of old urine and grease.  There was no one else home to fret over the carpet or the couch - a tour of the house would reveal four gutted rooms.  No one came to wake him for a late supper.  No one cleaned the cans of beer and food out of the kitchen sink.  No one eased off his tired boots or smoothed his wild hair.  

The room was getting dark, and Richard was alone.  A handful of early stars gazed mournfully at him through a window.  He didn't snore in his hard sleep.  Something seemed to catch in his throat and he almost purred.  No one one shushed him. 
The box fan rustled a pile of newspapers near him.  With a grease pencil he had circled want ads - nurse technician, live-in nanny, cook. The numbers would never be called.  There was no phone.  He would walk to the neighborhood store in the morning, but he wouldn't remember to take the month-old ads with him. 
Completely dark now, the room awakes to the sound of Richard stretching.  He is stiff.  His hand aches and he doesn't know why.  It is four in the morning, but he is not aware of time, that it has come and gone.  He knows he is thirsty.  He knows the seat of his cheap, wrinkled slacks are wet with sweat.  He knows he is broke.