The Morning RitualMature

Peter awoke, as he did every day, to the 8am news reading from his bedside radio. There hadn't been any need to wake at this hour since the unfortunate business of his dismissal but Peter saw no reason to break the habits of the past 15 years. For this same reason Peter showered, shaved and shat, in that order, dressed in his second favourite grey suit, white shirt, navy tie and black brogues, before heading downstairs to collect the morning paper (Guardian, Monday to Saturday) and pour the first of the days cocktails. This was the one area of Peter's life where a certain degree of flexibility was permitted. Depending on various factors, the severity of that days hangover, availability of mixers and so on, Peter would select his poison carefully and with a sense of precision. However, this morning was clearly a gin and orange morning for no reason other than it felt like a gin and orange morning. Some days instinct would dictate over logic.

Peter settled, as he did every morning, in the armchair situated in between the window and the now redundant fireplace of his not too modest lounge. After checking the time, 8:25 as it should be, Peter spread the days news across his lap and took the first grateful sip. Pages were turned much more quickly than they could possibly be read, a scan of the headlines tended to satisfy. Should the need arise in some exchange or debate to draw on detail from any such article Peter knew well it was much easier to fabricate specifics in your favour than to rely on the harsh reality of 'truth' or 'fact'. One article today was deemed worthy of more than a few seconds attention, a rather toothless attack on a government minister and former school friend of Peter's, the Right Honourable David Figg. Peter knew things about David that would make this piffle look like a wet fart in a hurricane and thought fleetingly about revealing some of these youthful indiscretions. It had long been established, however, that these stories were far too useful to bandy around for a simple moments pleasure and that holding on to these devastating little bombshells was the one thing that gave Peter a sense of control or power in the admittedly downward trajectory his life had recently been taking. The muscles in his face tightened, contorting his dry mouth into and gentle grin, a rare feat indeed. Stuck by what an alien sensation this was, especially with such a low blood alcohol level, Peter drained his glass and proceeded to the hall where he found and inhabited his coat, pocketed his keys and proceeded through the front door with the all the intent and impetus of somebody with far more pressing engagements than cocktails at 'The Ruby Lounge'

The End

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