Friday, January 16, 2009

The Day After by Gareth Storey

The sun was coming through the curtains; I hadn't pulled them all the way. The pale yellow light was directed into my face. My mouth was dry; and my tongue felt like it didn't belong to me. I tried to remember how I got home. The only memory was that of meeting outside the Odeon at five p.m. and I know we went for drinks. How many drinks? That is the question.

I felt tired, thirsty and hungry but didn’t want to move. The rhetorical question I asked each hangover ran through my mind: Why do I do this to myself? I waited for an answer and got nothing. In the kitchen I filled a Stella pint glass with cold tap water. I gulped down the water, put the glass down and took a deep breath. Idea’s started to come to me of ways to make this hangover go away. I could have a beer or a Bloody Mary, that worked, but I didn’t feel like letting the cycle begin again; or go for a run, exercise would shake me up or I could take the easy option: take a valium, put on Scent Of A Woman and fall asleep. A better idea came to me instead of those: Breakfast.

After I’d eaten I had a shower, got dressed and decided to go into Slough to buy some magazines and the Sunday papers. I walked into town, enjoying the rare sunshine but my head was killing, it felt heavy, like an anvil.

While browsing through the music magazines at Borders a voice behind me said:

“Hello, stranger.”

I turned around to see a girl with short brown hair, green eyes, light tanned skin and a great body.

“Hi,” I said, thinking: “who the fuck is this?”

I looked into her eyes and then to the magazines I was holding: Premiere, Empire and Total Film. I looked like a geek. She watched this happen and then laughed.

“You told me you liked films.”

She laughed again, it sounded good, she leaned on me as she tucked her shoelaces into her Converse all-stars.

“So, how’s the head?” she asked.

I had no idea who she was but I replied:

“It’s ok, ehh, it hurts.”

I shrugged after I said this letting her know that I’m used to feeling hung over. I let out a nervous laugh and she smiled at me.

“I’m not surprised,” she said, “You were, let’s say, very inebriated.”

“Yeah, I’ll bet. Did I do anything stupid?”

As soon as the words had come out of my mouth I regretted asking, but it’s something a drunk must do the day after to find out what happened: put the pieces together.

“Well, you were funny, in fact you were charming but you got thrown out…”

“Of where?” I interrupted.

I didn’t remember being thrown out of anywhere, oh fuck, I didn’t remember being anywhere.

“You don’t remember? We were in Reflex.”

“Reflex?” I said. “Oh shit, I remember falling off a stool at the bar. They’re really tall and awkward those stools.”

“Yeah, when you’re wasted,” she said and laughed again.

Talking with this girl who I couldn’t remember made me feel better. I asked her did she want to go for a coffee but she was the one who said to me:

“What about a beer?”

“That sounds great,” I said, sounding too enthusiastic.

I put my magazines down and we went to the pub next to Borders and I paid for the beers. It was one o’ clock on a Sunday and a few men sat alone drinking pints and smoking. We sat at a table near the back of the pub. The television was playing football without any sound. When she asked the next question I felt like a fuck up.

“So, do you remember my name?”

I hesitated, “Ehh, is it…?”

I searched my mind for her name and nothing happened.

“I can’t remember it right now but until I do I’ll pay for the drinks, all right?”

She seemed pleased with this. Then I asked her if she remembered my name. She waited and said:

“James. James Brogan.”

Fuck, she even knew my surname.

“I’m impressed,” I said, “And I was just testing you.”

We kept drinking and I kept paying. We talked about lots of different things I found out she liked country music, reading the classic Russian authors and drinking. She told me about how I approached her and her friends last night and how I made them laugh. Parts of the night came back to me but still I couldn’t remember her name.

After five pints I asked her if she wanted to go get something to eat (with me paying again).

“Let’s go to your place,” she said. “You told me last night you were a cook. You weren’t lying were you?”

I felt a surge of excitement and said: “Yeah, sure, I wasn’t lying.”

I couldn’t believe it; I was taking a girl to my place to cook dinner, I was guaranteed to get laid. It had been over six months, which means: nearly a year.

The taxi dropped us off at the shop near my house and after I’d picked up everything I’d need we walked towards my house. I put on some Al Green as I cooked and she sat at the table smoking and asking me questions about my family and my job. My questions to her were about films and music. After a dinner of Grilled chicken and chilli Tagliatelle and a bottle of Petit Papillon Grenache Blanc, she looked at me and said: “Thanks for dinner. You weren’t lying.”

She moved to the chair next to me and we kissed. We kept kissing and started to grope each other and take off our clothes. We moved to my bedroom and she lay on the bed naked. I stood fumbling with my socks. I got a condom from my drawer, put it on and lay next to her. She looked at me. My cock was as hard as it had ever been.

“James, I’m not going to let you fuck me if you can’t remember my name.” Her words sounded loud and ugly. My cock deflated, I fell back onto the bed and sighed. She got off the bed and put her clothes back on while I watched her. I put my boxer shorts on and sat on the edge of the bed. What a tease. I felt depraved. This was the closest I’d got to being laid in six months. Fuck. I lay on the bed depressed and thought of quitting drinking. It does me no good. She walked out of my room and went to the bathroom and as I heard the toilet flush her name pounced into my mind.

“JANE!” I screamed.

I couldn’t believe it, I remembered. She came out of the bathroom and walked into my room.

“Jane,” I said again.

She smiled and undressed.

Hurricane Jane (The Twelves Remix) - Black Kids

Gareth Storey was born in a hospital in the wonderful Guinness producing Dublin City but now lives in Camden, London. He has been writing for over ten years and has had stuff accepted on various websites such as Route and cityofsharedstories. He is currently enjoying his new found optimism, dark haired women in heels and Belgian beers. He continues to write short stories and poetry. Cheryl Cole inspires him.

Street art by "DAIN."

Photo by Adam Lawrence.

Jacksonville's Black Kids have been on a eighteen month whirlwind that has resulted in stardom, a contract with Columbia records, and upcoming tours with Kasier Chiefs and Mates of States. The original version of "Hurricane Jane" appears of their debut full-length album Partie Traumatic.

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