“Shit…” grumbled a hungover Dick.
He waddled into the bathroom, groggy and bleary-eyed. A most pressing thought ran through his mind: Coffee.
Yet, he was in the bathroom. He questioned himself, as he squinted into the mirror, holding onto his head in the most strategic of places to prevent any of his pounding brain from leaking out of the sides.
Why did I come in here? There’s no coffee here. Wait, what sides?
His stomach was swift to gurgle, and he felt the acid juices deep-gut churning. Refluxing. If that's a word. And then he remembered the urge to pee.
A minute there, he shook himself off, zipped up his jeans, which he’d apparently slept in, and turned to the sink.
Moistened his hands. Lathered. Momentarily, the bar slipped out of his sudsy hands and he fumbled to grip the soap again. Finally, he rinsed. While he was there, he leaned over, closed his eyes, and splashed his face. The cool water was a shock, but refreshing, and slightly invigorating. And he hated it.
I want to go back to bed… No. I want coffee. I need coffee.
Dick almost lunged at the medicine cabinet, when he nearly lost balance. Careful, Richard. You could have killed yourself hitting the edge of the bath. Stabilised, he swung the mirror back, and pulled out the brush and toothpaste. But I need two hands for this tube of toothpaste. Stupid fucking thing.
He dropped the brush, and set to work on unscrewing the cap which had hardened over time to toothpaste which had either leaked out or had spilled and oozed out and let alone to dry.
Stupid fucking thing.
But Dick stopped all of a sudden, when he saw a black shape out of the corner of his eye. Aghast and eyes now fully opened, at the sight of a black-hooded figure. His heart raced faster than a hare in… well, a race. And the room became freezing. So cold he saw his breath.
A second later, he felt a wave of relief. Not a burglar. He recognised the cloak.
“Hey, Death,” Dick mumbled.
Death groaned in reply.
“No,” Death managed to say as he stumbled in. He grabbed onto my shoulders. “Still just wasted.”
He looked at Dick. His eyes glazed over. And Dick stared back at him quizzically. He could tell from the look in Death’s black faceless shroud that he was still pretty fucking drunk, and wondered if he was going to be sick.
“You need a… slice of coffee or something. You look like… shit,” said Death.
“I feel like shit. But you don’t look so hot either.”
“Mhm. I think I might… might. I think I might.”
“I might now.”
“Might throw up?”
Without warning, Death went to hurl, and Dick heard him gag, but nothing came up. He had suppressed it professionally. Dick sighed. Happy not to have sick on his face.
“Nope,” said Death.
A circumspect Dick looked on, and asked, “And how did that taste?”
“Pretty fuckin’ horrible. If you ask me… I…”
“Ask you what? Come on, finish your thought.”
“Yeah.” said Death, having smelled his breath. “That’s some nasty halitosis.”
“You always have bad breath.”
“Seriously, but no. Really. Like… really… bad… Do you wanna smell it?”
“No!” and Dick put up a hand, “no thank you! I'm trying not to as it is. I’ll take your word for it.”
Quickly, Dick rooted back in the medicine cabinet, removed Death’s toothbrush, and handed it to him along with the paste. And he stepped aside as Death went to work.
Unthreading the cap with ease, Death squeezed out a dollop onto the brush and began scrubbing. Dick didn’t know what exactly, as he only saw a brush plunge into emptiness. Into the black hood. It could have gone into his mouth, but Dick couldn’t see his face. He never did.
Dick picked up the tube, and started brushing his own teeth when he decided to ask, “Did you do this?” But Death ignored him.
“Death?” Dick said sternly with his mouth full of froth, and the brush clenched in his jaw. “Did you do this?” He pointed to the dried and crusted toothpaste around the top of the tube of toothpaste. The glue that had held the lid firm to the container and had caused Dick the slightest trouble.
Death stopped brushing, and he slowly turned and looked at Dick. And he said with both clarity and authority, slurring just a few of his words, “Don’t get peevy with me right now, okay. I just broke up with Jen. Asshole.”
He resumed brushing. So did Dick.
“Why’d she break up with you?”
Yeah right, thought Dick.
“Seriously, why’d she break up with you?”
In between brushing he replied, “She said… like… when she was with me… she felt like I was… I don’t know… sucking her soul? Or draining it? Or something? I don’t… I don’t.”
“I don’t know. I gotta take a piss.”
Dick spat into the sink first, followed by Death.
Before Dick left he asked, “Hey, do you want to grab some coffee?”
“Yeah. Maybe. I don’t know?” answered a bipolar Death. “Yeah, I’m… I might.”
“Okay. Take your time.”
Dick rubbed his temple, and itched his nose. He was more awake and alert now, and a lot less hungover, but his head still ached. However, he remembered why he had been drinking. Oh yeah, I was celebrating with Karen!
He removed the phone from his pocket, and dialled. His fingers sidled smoothly over the keys.
“Hey, babe…” Dick smiled. “I’m just calling to hear your voice.”