The Morning After The Night Before
How could I have been so stupid as to lose my keys? My dad had kept warning me of the possible consequences of keeping my name and address on them. But me being me, I just hadn’t paid any attention, and now I was paying the price. Because evidently it wouldn’t be some kind old lady who had found them, and would no doubt have returned them, but this madman everyone called The Joker. Well, that was just great! Well done Becks! You fucked up yet again! From the way he’d been studying me in the club, he’d obviously be coming after me. Neither Cat nor I got any sleep after that. We spent until the first signs of daylight discussing various ways of dealing with the situation.
“What if I moved out? He wouldn’t be able to find me then,” I slurred at one point, after my fifth, rather large, brandy.
“Don’t even bother; he’s probably there already, waiting for you to put in an appearance.”
“Nooooo, don’t say that,” I moaned. Then, “Uh, oh!”
“D’ya think he’ll break in?”
“Why would he do that, you muppet, if he’s got your keys?” she stated, oblivious to the look of horror on my face. “I mean, he’s bound to take a look around, isn’t he? After all; that way, if you don’t show up, he can learn soooo much more about you! Oh my god, it’s rather exciting if you think about it! He’ll feel like he’s on a treasure hunt, finding all the clues, leading to you as the main prize!”
“Cat, I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but that’s really not what I want to hear! Besides, I don’t want some psycho rooting through all my personal belongings!”
“Oh, y’mean all that kinky gear Matt the Rat got you to wear? Yeah, I see what you mean … on the other hand, it might work in your favour, y’know? He’ll realize there’s someone even sicker than him around, and won’t want anything to do with you!”
“Gee thanks! That makes me feel so much better,” I said, followed by a very loud noxious burp. “Oh hell … I think I’m gonna be sick!” And with that, proceeded to throw up all over Cat’s brand new carpet.
I woke later that afternoon, still on the sofa, covered with Cat’s duvet. My head felt as though it was about to explode. I had visions of globules of grey brain matter flying through the air before landing with a heavy splat onto the carpet that was still damp from where it had been scrubbed to hell and back with industrial strength disinfectant and carpet wash.
Cat stood over me, scowling. “Next time you throw up in my house you can clean up your own stomach contents! Here, drink this, it’ll make you feel better,” she said, thrusting a glass of what looked like Alka-Seltzer under my nose.
I took the fizzing liquid and sipped, pulling a face at the taste of it. “Don’t worry; I’m never going to drink again! God, my neck hurts!”
“Yeah, well, that’s probably from sleeping on the sofa without a pillow. I didn’t want to move you, in case you gave a repeat performance. And there was no way I was gonna give you bed-space!”
“Oh, come on! You know you love me really.” I winced in pain. My head and my neck were battling for supremacy, and my stomach churned as it awoke from its slumber; no doubt ready to join in the fight to beat me into total submission.
There was a knock at the door. Cat signalled to me to try and make myself look presentable; a bit difficult seeing as I was still wearing last night’s make-up, which meant I was most likely sporting a pair of smudged black eyes to rival the Joker himself. My ivory dress was badly creased and proudly displaying a brandy stain down the front – way down – as if to say, Look everyone! She’s wet herself!
I made my way slowly into the bathroom to cleanse my face. There wasn’t anything I could do about the dress, and Cat’s size 16 clothes would drown me. First things first, though; I desperately needed to pee. I sighed with relief as I emptied my bladder.
“Becks, hurry up! We’ve got to go!” called Cat, from the living room.
“Go where? Hang on a minute, I need to do my face!” I shouted back.
“Don’t worry about your face; you haven’t got time for that!” She rushed in, pulled me out, and then handed me my shoes. “I called the police department while you were asleep. I told them exactly what happened last night and that you didn’t want to go back home on your own. So they’ve sent one of their guys over here. We’re all going back to yours, then Officer –?”
“Harrington,” said the young rookie.
“Officer Harrington will check out your place to make sure there’s no-one there who shouldn’t be.”
“Yes, Maam, and I’ve arranged for a locksmith to come and change the locks.”
As hung-over as I was, I got the message that Cat was concerned at the possibility of my becoming a permanent feature in her house. I perched on the edge of the sofa, and bent down to put on my shoes. My head pounded and my eyes felt as if they were going to burst out of their sockets. I couldn’t decide who I wanted to kill the most – Matt, for two-timing me; bitch-features Soozie for not leaving him the hell alone; or the Joker for getting me in such a panic that I was ready to emigrate to outer Siberia if that’s what it was going to take to stay alive.
I stood up to take my coat off Cat. “I feel like hell!”
She shook her head at me. “No offence, but you don’t look too great either. Anyway, don’t worry, I’m coming with you.”
I mumbled some words of gratitude to her and Officer Harrington, before picking up my bag and following them out of the door.
“This is it,” said Cat to Officer ‘call me Bob’ – Harrington, as we pulled up in the police car outside my block. There didn’t appear to be anything out of the ordinary going on from the outside, but then I lived on the 8th floor, so it was unlikely that there would be. That is if you didn’t count the odd needle, empty beer bottle or used condom littering the entrance. What a dump! Still, it had been my choice to live here. Well, not my first choice, obviously, but I’d been going crazy living with my parents, and wanted some independence.
“I suggest we go up,” said Bob. “The locksmith should be here in about half an hour. That gives us time to check the place over.”
We went through the lobby, and called for the elevator. When the doors opened, we were greeted by the smell of stale pee – nothing new to me – but Cat and Bob couldn’t disguise their disgust as they wrinkled their noses, before the doors closed. My still-delicate stomach growled in protest as the elevator creaked towards the 8th floor.
We exited quickly, glad to breathe freely again. “Ok, this is mine,” I pointed towards number 39.
Bob bent down to scrutinize the lock. “It doesn’t look like it’s been tampered with.”
“No shit, Sherlock,” I commented under my breath, at which Cat gave me a filthy look.
“Now, if you ladies would look away, I’ll see if I can get this door open; don’t want to go teaching you any bad habits!”
We turned our backs, raising our eyebrows at each other, as if to say, ‘what a jerk!’
“Er, I’m having a few problems here,” said Bob after a couple of minutes. “Maybe we should just wait for the locksmith.”
I was about to suggest we wait outside in the fresh air, when the door was flung open from the inside, to reveal the Joker, looking for all the world as if it was his place and not mine.
He took one look at me, shook his head in amusement, and said, “Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. And people say I look rough!”
It was at that moment that the ordeal of being incarcerated in the elevator got the better of me.
I threw up again. All over the Joker’s immaculate shoes.