After being left off at his apartment, Chris approached the outer door of his building and made his way up the stairs to his apartment. The door was closed but not locked. Turning the knob and giving the door a nudge with his foot, he tentatively slid his hand down the wall just inside the door to the light switch. Before he found the switch, however, his hand passed through a sticky substance of some sort. Jerking his hand back, he thought to himself, “I’m not even going to ask…”
Flipping on the light with just the tip of his finger, Chris entered to find the apartment in remarkably good shape. Just inside the door on a small table, Chris noticed a piece of paper with the imprint of two lips made with lipstick at the bottom. Picking up the note, he began to read:
Baby, I am so sorry for tonight! I hope you are ok. After you left, and the building super kicked everyone else out, I cleaned up after the party. BTW… YOU OWE ME… BIG time! Anyway, I didn’t want you to come back to such a mess. Text me and let me know you are ok. I will probably see you at work, or depending on when you get home, give me a call.
Love ya, Baby!
Chris looked at his watch. Five AM. “Great,” he thought, “I’ve gotta be at work in a couple of hours.” He walked through the living room to the bedroom and began to remove his clothes. As he removed his pants, something made him look more closely at them.
“Shit! These aren’t even my PANTS!” He walked to the French doors which lead to the small, Juliette balcony off the bedroom. Opening the door, he threw the pants into the humid, early-morning air; watched them flutter as they fell down the 15 floors to flop across the windshield of a parked cab. A slight smile crossed his face as he imagined the half-awake cabbie’s surprise by their unexpected impact just inches from his face. The smile on Chris’ face turned into a full-out laugh as he watched the driver’s door of the cab explode open, and a string of profanities emerge before the cabbie emerged and looked around the cab, finally looking upward and directed his continuing blue speech to Chris. For his part, Chris stood in the doorway and just laughed, finally going back inside and closing the door.
Suddenly, a perplexed expression came over his face, and Chris said aloud, “That guy looked familiar…”
Shrugging his shoulders, Chris pulled off his shirt and underwear, threw them on the bed, and pulled open the dresser drawer to retrieve a clean pair of boxers. Walking into the master bathroom, he stopped by the mirror and caught a glimpse of his naked body; his gaze perusing his form until it rested on his face. He stared intently into his own eyes for a moment and repeated Mercer’s statement: “…you have to get control of your life!”
Dropping his own gaze, he laid the underwear on the sink, and stepped into the shower. “You’re probably right, Phillips… you’re probably right…”, he said aloud. Grabbing the soap, he began to get ready for the day stretching out before him. His mind began to search through the slight haze still in his brain from the previous night. Thinking about his client load, he came to the realization that he didn’t have many of his own. Most of his clients were ones Mercer had floated his way and the work was mainly complete for them. That meant that he would need to do some cold calling and maybe visit a couple of businesses he knew about who were looking to advertise some special events they had coming up. As he ran the list of businesses through his mind, he realized that most of them were bars! He laughed at the thought.
“Well,” he said to himself, “maybe they can repay me for what I have spent. That’s kinda like getting your drinks on the house! I have been investing in clients and never knew it!”
Stepping out of the shower, he reached for the towel which usually hung on the nearby towel bar, but found nothing there. He walked over to the linen closet, leaving a trail of water droplets on the floor. When he opened the door of the closet, he noticed a slight bulge in one of the towels. Picking up the towel, he found a pack of cigarettes under it. He took the pack and placed it on his underwear and then dried himself. Grabbing his underwear, he pulled them out from under the pack of cigarettes, which fell onto the floor at his feet. As he bent over to put on his underwear, he picked up the cigarettes and noticed the pack seemed heavier than expected. Frowning, Chris opened the pack to find one cigarette, a wad of $20 bills and a ziplock bag with small white rocks.
“What the fu…..” Chris exclaimed. Suddenly laughing, he pulled the lone cigarette from the pack, put it into his mouth, closed the top of the pack, and threw it onto the bed. With the cigarette still in his mouth, Chris walked to the closet and retrieved a lighter from a jacket and lit the cigarette. He returned to the bathroom, leaving a trail of blue smoke in his wake. As Chris stepped back into the bathroom again, he looked at himself in the mirror again, studied his unshaven features with the cigarette dangling from his lips and began to laugh.
“Maybe self-control is over-rated!” He said to himself. Suddenly, he heard his phone signal an incoming text. Chris turned and went into his bedroom to search for his phone, again leaving a trail of smoke and also ash behind him. It was Delores.
“Are you ok?”
“I’m great!” Chris texted back. “Are you busy tonight?” He texted again.
“Yes. I can’t get away tonight. I can meet you at work, though.” Delores texted.
“Ok. I’ll see you at work. At our regular place?” Chris asked.
“Of course. Whenever I smell Pinesol, I get the most interesting mental pictures…” Delores responded.
Chris smiled, and continued getting ready for work. When he put on his suit jacket, he placed his hands in the pockets for a second, and found a condum. Removing it from the pocket, he laid it on the dresser. Unopened… He then left for work.