Cool Stuff

3185 Words13 Pages
I hadn’t meant to stay the night, wanted to avoid the dreaded morning after, but I must’ve fallen asleep at some point because I woke to the smell of bacon and peppers so strong it was like they were coming straight through the hand-carved gaps Ms. Laughlin’s ornate rosewood headboard. I checked the clock—9:30 a.m. Save for my annual two week vacations I hadn’t slept in that late on a weekday since college. I guess being unemployed, or in Ms. Laughlin’s case unemployed and divorced, had its upside. The whiskey from the night before throbbed in my temples, pushed at my ear drums like altitude pressure. I pulled on my jeans and shirt and stumbled to the bathroom. She had porcelain his-and-her sinks. His was free, I figured, so I turned on the water and stuck my head in, wet my hair and face, turned my mouth and chugged it straight from the tap like I used to from the garden hose back home during all those sweltering Midwestern heat waves. Spinning the knob closed I smoothed my cowlick down to a manageable level then dried my face with a plush white towel embroidered MKL. In the kitchen Ms. Laughlin lifted a frying pan from the stove and spooned its contents onto two plates. In the kitchen Ms. Laughlin lifted the frying pan from the stove and spooned its contents onto two plates. She pushed one toward me across the granite counter island. I stared down at the slabs of bacon cut thick and crisped at the edges, a pile of home fries sprinkled with bit of red and green peppers. I folded a slice of bacon into my mouth and chewed it down in about two seconds. “Well, good morning to you, too, Mr. Paul,” Ms. Laughlin laughed. “I figured if your hangover was even half as bad as mine you’d appreciate a little fried meat. Coffee?” She held up ... ... middle of paper ... ...chuck the shit just don’t do it off the motherfucking roof again.” “I told you, it wasn’t the roof. It was my window.” “Whatever the fuck, man. The point is you could hurt somebody.” “Okay, Fernando.” “I’m serious, man. It’s one thing if you want to go crazy and destroy your own personal property and shit, but that don’t mean you gotta go putting other folks’ well-being at stake. You know what I’m saying?” “Okay,” I said again. “Next time it might be somebody’s head that catches that shit, rather than a nice cushy pile of garbage.” “Okay, okay, okay.” “You sure you don’t want to catch a flick?” “Fernando, I’m exhausted.” “Yeah, unemployment can be exhausting. Am I right, Pauli D?” “You’re right, Fern. You’re right. Don’t call me Paulie D.” “Then don’t call me Fern, motherfucker. Only Ern’s allowed to call me Fern.” “Okay, bye Fernando.” “Peace easy, my man.” * * * *

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