Chris felt the blow across the bridge of his nose. His eyes burst open, and with vision still bleary from the prior night’s consumption, he could still see a limp hand lying across his face. Chris reached up and removed the hand from his face, but held it aloft for a moment so he could follow the hand with his eyes, down the arm to the shoulder, which was attached eventually to a sleeping face….
“Who the hell….? Oh… right… Delores.” He thought to himself. “Oh geeeezzzz…. What was I thinking? What time is it? What DAY is it?”
Slowly moving the hand over and hoping not to awaken the sleeping woman, Chris looked through the haze of his vision, and tried to locate his trousers, which had his cell phone in them. Unable to find his pants, he decided to get up and look for them. Swinging his legs over the side of the bed, he suddenly realized the bed he was on was no more than a mattress and boxsprings lying directly on the floor. Surveying the room some more, he found there to be very few pieces of furniture at all, and what furniture there actually was, seemed cheap and old, but not old enough to be considered antique. Instead, it was cheap-Walmart-put-it-together-yourself crap that had probably been purchased at a garage sale.
“What a dump!” Chris thought. “Where is a clock and where the hell are my PANTS!” Throwing aside the ratty blanket, he said, “Damn… forget my pants…. WHERE THE HELL ARE MY UNDERWEAR?”
Chris pushed himself to his feet, and began to forage about the small apartment, looking for ANY piece of his clothing. The apartment was actually two rooms. One was the bedroom he had been in which also contained a small bathroom containing a toilet, sink, and the smallest shower unit he had ever seen, with no door, but a long cavas tarp hanging from four nails driven into the wall above the door frame. The other room was a combination living room and kitchen with a table pushed up against the wall, upon which set a TV with rabbit ears topped with aluminum foil for better reception. Laying across the TV, was Chris’s suit jacket and his tie was draped between the rabbit ears of the TV.
“How the hell did I do that?” Chris wondered when he saw the tie.
Laying across the kitchen sink, and covering several bowls with spoons implanted in soured milk which was so thick that the old Cheerios looked like someone had pressed them into off-white Play Doh; was Chris’s shirt. One of his cuffs lay atop a salad plate, with several tendrils of shrunken lettuce on it and old, Thousand Island dressing infusing its now orange color into the white cotton. Chris picked up the shirt and said, “Damn… what a way to waste a two hundred dollar shirt…”
Still searching for the lower half of his corporate uniform, Chris noticed the front door of the apartment open just a crack. Still just a tad confused, he walked over to the door of the apartment and openned it wide; standing completely naked in the doorway and holding his coat, shirt and tie. Looking down, he found his pants lying on the floor in the hallway OUTSIDE the apartment. He grasped the door frame to steady himself while he bent down to pick up his pants. When he tried to straighten back up, he lost his balance and slumped against the door frame, and as he did, he felt something fall from above and drape across his shoulder. Turning his head sharply, he found a red, woman’s thong. Gasping, Chris shoved them off his shoulder and onto the floor.
“You didn’t mind them there last night…” a raspy voice said.
Looking up, Chris noticed a little old lady, who looked to be about 110, standing across the hall, two doors down in a doorway. The woman had long, tangled gray hair, which was topped with a dirty, stocking cap ringed by a thin stream of smoke emanating from the cigarette hanging from her mouth. She was dressed in army fatigues, with the name “Dubinski” on a patch above one of the breast pockets, and the legs of the pants and the arms of the jacket rolled up at least six times. The crotch of the pants hung to her knees, or at least where one would suppose her knees would be.
“You seemed to be partial to that red-band-aid-on-a-string last night… and if you are looking for those fancy silk boxers you had on… check Delores… and I would suggest you put that monkey suit back on before her husband gets home. I think he is supposed to be back sometime today.” She said and then cackled a deep, raspy laugh which escaped through the three teeth in her mouth and which ended in a wet, hacking cough.
Chris put his hand into his pocket to retrieve his cell phone and check the time…. 10:30… am.
“SHIT!” Chris yelled. Turning back into the apartment, he slammed the door and began to hurriedly put his shirt on. “Delores…..” he yelled. “DELORES! We’re late for work! Dammit!”
A muffled reply came from the other room, “I don’ haveta work today…”
“Damn… I have a lunch meeting today with Mercer’s dad… SHIT! Maybe I can get to the restaurant before they do… DELORES…. I need my boxers….” He shouted.
“Mmmmbut they’re so soft….” Delores purred from the doorway of the bedroom. “Just wear mine…” she said with a slight smile.
Looking up from the task of buttoning his shirt, he saw Delores leaning against the side of the door frame, with his boxers on and nothing else. She said, “Take the day off. We can spend the day in bed…”
“I can’t,” Chris said roughly. “I meet with the Old Man today for lunch. Never mind about the boxers… I’ll get ’em later.” Pulling his pants on and tucking his shirt in, he grabbed the zipper and hurriedly pulled upward… too fast, because part way up, he got skin caught in it. “OUCH!” he screamed. Slowly unzipping, readjusting, and then rezipping, he said through clenched teeth, “Besides, I thought your husband was coming home today… the lady across the hall said…”
“Ohhhh…..” she said and began to giggle, “that is Granny. She was probably tryin’ to get a rise outta you. She is hilarious that way!”
“Yeah…Pretty funny.” Chris said sarcasticly as he hurriedly tied his tie. He moved quickly to where Delores stood, and grabbed her around the waist, pulled her close, kissed her roughly and said, “Gotta go…”
Turning quickly and shrugging into his coat, he walked through the door and took the stairs two at a time down to the lobby and out the doors onto the street. Looking down the street, he noticed a cab just letting out a fare. He whistled and shouted, “Hey cab!” The driver finished taking the money from his customer, and drove the few feet to Chris… It was the same driver that had let Chris and Delores off the night before.
Chris gave him the address of the restaurant, checked his pants pockets and said, “Uh, I’m out of cash. Do you take credit cards?”
“Sorry… the cabbie said through the open window while the cab rolled by. “The train is just around the block. See ya…” He then just kept driving and left Chris shouting from the curb.
Cursing profusely, Chris began walking down the street looking for either the subway, or an ATM. Eventually, he found an ATM and looked around nervously as he retrieved two hundred dollars, and then began to both look for a cab and voice dial Mia… he needed another shirt and wanted her to bring him one at the restaurant before the meeting. As the phone began to ring, he finally saw a cab and shouted, “Taxi!” just when the answer machine picked up. At the tone, he began the message with, “Shit…. I hoped you would be there… I have a meeting at lunch and need another shirt. Could you bring…”
Mia was standing at the door with bags packed and the doorman loading them on a cart when the phone rang. As Chris’s voice droaned over the recorder, she pulled the door closed and locked it, leaving the recorder to take a request that would go unanswered. Walking down the hall, Mia cradled her protruding stomach with her hands.
“Hope… let’s go home.”