Wrong Side of the Bed

(Originally written Spring 1996. I was taking a creative writing night class at KCKCC when this was originally written.

7:30 a.m. (Some Monday morning)

It was bad enough that another Monday snuck around the corner again. What made things ten times as bad was the rain and dreariness Pete viewed through his bedroom window upon awaking.

“God damn it.”

Pete yawned, craned his neck from left to right, popping and creaking along the way.

“Fucking Mondays,” he rumbled and rolled to the edge of his bed.

He yawned again, this time with a louder extension of the “awwwwww’ sound, and leaned to the nightstand on 2 feet from his head. His hand blindly snatched for his Winstons, but they weren’t in reach. His hand swayed around the nightstand surface while Pete’s head was still face down in his pillow. but to no avail.

“What the hell is going on?”

He rolled over to face the nightstand and squinted his eyes to adjust to the light.

“I always lay them here,” he said with a hint of hesitation. “I didn’t think I was that drunk.”

The bedsprings squeaked wretched sounds of rusted coil as he rolled out of bed. It was bad enough waking to a dismal Monday morning – the rain with its constant pitter and patter against his leaky skylight, mist sneaking its way into the crevices of his bedroom ceiling and eventually making their way into small puddles of water and/or spores of mold – with thoughts of the day’s customers, their complaints, the back and forth of people from every direction “just to annoy the hell out of me”.

It was bad enough that Pete had a hangover still hanging from two nights prior. It was worse now that he could not locate his smokes.

“Fuck-ing Bull-SHIT!”

Although his eyes were only working at approximately 30% due to the swelling of his head and the swelling of his left eye (“musta fuckin’ fallen again”), Pete attempted to scan as much as possible before attempting to stand.

“I know I have them. I bought them on the way home from Steve’s,” he muttered to himself. “Even though I don’t remember most of the drive, I do specifically remember stopping at the ‘Con-Mart’ before turning into the neighborhood. Carly was working the counter. She gave me a free hot dog because she was cleaning up and was going to throw it out. I KNOW I was there. I KNOW I bought smokes! I KNOW I need to find them because I am in no shape to do anything else until I have nicotine in my bloodstream!”

Pete zombie-walked to his dresser, scrounged atop and within the drawers, but no luck.

“Son of a BITCH!”

After 15 minutes, on the verge of giving up, Pete slid his hand into his left jean pocket and felt the crumpled cellophane.

“No way,” Pete laughed. “The whole time? Go figure.”

Pete wriggled the wrinkled Winstons free from their denim prison. As he fingered his way into the disfigured “pack of smokes,” Pete grimaced as he began to pull out the first of 15 broken cigarettes.

“Son of a BITCH!!!”

Pete howled, raised his arms and head to the ceiling, fell to his knees, and landed on a die-cast metal Hot Wheels of the “General Lee” from Dukes of Hazzard. The top corner bore its orange steel into Pete’s shin before causing him to roll on to his side writhing in pain and matching his actions with profanities, some of which were created at that particular moment.

As if the adrenaline warded off all pain, Pete worked his way back to his feet upon realizing there were still 3 or 4 unbroken cigarettes wedged in the corner of the pack. His finger tunneled its way back into the abyss of the pack to locate three unbroken albeit slightly bent Winstons.

A sense of cool relief encompassed his entire being from head to toe. It was as if the hangover was already clearing now that he was able to calm himself with the healing power of nicotine and tar.

Pete looked into the mirror and attempted to adjust his posture, calm himself, and regain a sense of balance in order to complete his daily tasks before heading to work.

“Everything is cool,” Pete yawned as he looked himself over in the mirror. “Let’s take these last cigarettes, go into the kitchen. grab a beer, and take a breather to regroup after this traumatizing experience.

7:50 a.m.

Pete calmly walked out of his bedroom, two of the three remaining cigarettes behind each ear with the one he was smoking currently dangling from his lips. He strut-stumbled over to a refrigerator covered with, what seemed like, hundreds of pictures of his favorite rock bands torn from various music and entertainment magazines. Once he opened the refrigerator door, he fumbled around numerous food items, most too old to eat without developing a potentially fatal case of food poisoning, and found a can of Schmidt’s beer in the back. He pulled out the can accidentally dropped it on the ground. Pete leaned over to pick up the can, laid the beer and the cigarette that was dangling from his mouth down on the counter, and proceeded to pop the top of the can.

Before he could finish his favorite morning statement of “Son of a…,” Pete was pounding his fists on the counter. Upon opening the shaken-up can, the liquid contents sprayed over the top, down on the counter, absorbing into the one cigarette while spraying the other two “ear” cigarettes enough to ruin them both for the time being. He picked the beer-logged cigarette off the counter, but it fell in wet pieces from his hand.

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