"Gawd! It can't be morning already."
That was not the first time that those were the first thoughts of my day, but it was the latest. Big Ben, my over-sized brass two bell alarm clock, was ringing and he would be denied. Big Ben was a gift from my ex-wife, a move of desperation on her part, I suppose. Too many mornings trying to pull me back from the nether lands of a late night drunk had forced her to bring in the help of this big bonging bouncer.
And every morning, like clockwork and like two grouchy old men, Big Ben and I would go to battle. Some days, Big Ben won; some days, Big Ben lost, ending up in the wicker trash basket by the dresser. Of course, on those days I'd get chewed out by the Captain for being late ... but I always survived and would keep my job for one more day.
Funny thing about Boo. He had the ability to shut out the ringing of Big Ben, wouldn't even open an eye. But when he heard that clink of the milkman leaving the morning milk outside the door, Boo was up and ready, meowing by his dish.
Shower and shave, get on my boxers, and pour some milk for Boo and some over my cornflakes, flavored with Sioux Queen honey. Read the newspaper starting with the sports section, then the obits, the crime report, the weather, the comics, and finally the front page, skipping over the national news that was beyond my control anyway to get to the stuff from the city desk. That was the stuff of my little world.
One more heavy starch white shirt from the stack I haul back from Chang's Laundry every Friday, one of my three ties I own, all gifts from my mother, and one of my famous herringbone jackets, way too hot to wear in the summer, though I still carry it around on my arm, and not quite warm enough in the winter. Retrieve my badge and my Smith and Wesson from under my pillow, and I'm off. And every morning Boo sees me to the door.
Down the hall, Lady Templeton gives me a wave and that damn poodle gives me one early morning booster shot of irritation. "Stop by the station and then make a call on the right and proper law firm of Keller and Brown."
But first a cup of coffee from Mickey's Newsstand. Mickey was a blind, bald guy that had been working this corner since he came back from WW II. A couple of sips of Mickey's Java ... really not all that bad ... then a prayer over the old Ford and one more day of the life of Ian MacKenzie gets off the ground, headache, backache, and all.