Thursday, November 4, 2004

Walking Away - Chapter 4: Twelve Can O'clock

Doug estimated that it was about twelve can o’clock, which meant that he had finished his twelfth can of beer. The actual time wasn’t midnight but only about seven and with his head cold, the late fall early darkness and the still falling rain, it felt much later than that. They had finally called in their dogs that hadn’t been able to chase one coyote near enough for them to shoot without accidentally plugging one of the dogs instead. He wasn’t too broken up about it because he really didn’t want to have to get out into the damn rain anymore than he had too. The truck cab was warm and they still had a few cold beers left though they were getting dangerously low.

He pulled into the truck stop to drop off his comrade in arms and then make a break for home and bed. He wanted to get a decent nights sleep before his hot shot run tomorrow, which he figured to start about three in the morning so that he could get back home in decent time. He pulled up next to his buddy’s truck and put it in park, waiting for the question that inevitably was going to be asked.

“It’s too early to go home yet Doug, so what say we go tip back a few more brews at your place? I reckon the old ball and chain hasn’t got the brats to bed yet.”

There wasn’t a bar in this shit hole of a town and so Doug’s friends had turned his house into their own private tavern of sorts since his wife had left him. Doug enjoyed the company and his friends usually left more than enough money to cover the beer so it didn’t cost him a dime. It also had the advantage of him not having to drive home afterwards especially since he hadn’t had a driver’s license in over ten years. Too many DUI’s had robbed him of that privilege though it really didn’t affect him since he continued to drive anyway. But it was still nice to be able to get pissing drunk in your own home in the company of friends.

His sinuses were stuffed up and his head felt like it might split open like a ripe melon if he touched it to hard. But he had some extra strength cold and sinus medicine, the kind that he now had to sign to get thanks to the meth-heads, at home in the medicine cabinet, and he figured that he could still take some of that and get a few quality hours of sleep after some more quality time drinking with his buddies.

“What the fuck,” Doug said, “come on over. I ain’t got nothin’ better to do.”

Five hours later at midnight, and way past twenty-four can o’clock or at least by his estimation, Doug staggered into the bathroom after the last person had finally left. He voided his bladder one last time to avoid pissing himself in bed and popped three of the cold and sinus capsules. The box said to only take one every twelve hours but he felt that desperate situations required desperate measures. His head was about to blow right off his fucking neck and he only had three hours before he needed to leave. He washed them down with a double swig of Nyquil hoping that the extra codeine would send him directly into la la land. He staggered into the bedroom and started to sit down on the edge of the bed so that he could set the alarm clock but his legs gave out and he fell backwards into bed instead. He made a feeble attempt to sit up but decided it wasn’t worth the effort. His last conscious thought before he passed out with his legs still hanging off the side of the bed, was that he could probably make up any time he overslept tomorrow on the road. He would make that mother humper fly.

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