“Clock Work” (excerpt)

He wasn’t the healthiest guy in the world. Every morning, he had trouble functioning unless he had a Camel Light with his coffee and a Bloody Mary to follow; he considered the Bloody Mary his breakfast since it was made with V-8.

Cold sores.

That was it.

I guess I had forgotten how painful those fuckers can get. I got through it alright. It gave me a reason to rub down with Ambuesol and Kava. Always a nice combo.

If it wasn’t for the damn clock, he wouldn’t have time to relax and prepare for the day ahead before he dove into his daily schedule.

It wasn’t like I had been without a cold sore in a while. As a matter of fact, last November was bad enough to steer me away from Janine’s German potato salad.

I felt badly, but the lips couldn’t bear the vinegar burn.

His work carpool colleague, Doug, asked him, “Why do you chew Certs in between each cigarette, Ned?”

“Keeps me from smokin’ too much,” Ned cleared his throat while he spoke.

“Doesn’t look like it’s working. I mean… it’s one after the other. Why don’t you just quit smoking altogether. Just eat Certs.”

Doug looked at Ned directly, or at least as directly as one can look at another person’s side-face while driving.

“Eat the shit out of ’em,” Doug sternly proposed.

Ned shrugged.

“Then I wouldn’t need the certs no more. I only need ’em when I smoke.”

The “bewildered scowl” he inherited from his father’s side of the family creased Doug’s forehead.

“That makes no sense.”

Ned flipped his head back and half-grinned.

“What makes no sense? I chew on Certs when I smoke to give me a breather in between each cigarette. Get it?”

“Well,” Doug replied, “why don’t you buy yourself a box of Certs and give yourself an extra long breather, idiot.”

Ned rolled and popped his neck. His eyes remained on the road.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s