There is some delay before I hurl back the curtains. Time enough to pad about in twilight still. Two cigarettes spinning a tarry veil. Pinned in tatters from the ceiling.
The fat fuck upstairs has his television howling once again. Scenes of impending accident. Narration. The ominous machine gun vertigo on the top of the hour.
I dance about in my undershorts and paw the switch on the kettle. At fifty it is the only thing I can be sure of turning on. Tarnished white goods. Electrical appliances faltering on the menopause, the plimsoll line, running low on juice.
Scarcely enough to brown my bread.
I splash water on my face and check my teeth. Junk mail drops through my letterbox. I step on my son's toy laser pistol and shoot myself in the foot.
The telephone rings. Just as I am taking a shit.
The missing part for my outstanding washing machine repair has arrived. Three weeks after the engineer has been and gone. I am less than elated.
The air, when I finally step out in it, is unseasonably warm. I am accustomed to snow showers this time of year. On the tails of the Augusta Masters, its green jacket. Instead, I am decked out in t-shirt and cargo shorts. Every inch the caddy. My balls have wizened in their elastic casings. Their bounce has all but perished. I lack the drive to hit the fairway off the pin; the short game is all that is left to aspire to.
The red bicycle has still not fucking moved.
Its spoke are not spokes, I no longer believe, but cobwebs. Spiders its gears. It is not a bicycle, it is the mirage of the promise of movement. An optical illusion. The vestige of psychosis.
The fat man upstairs, too, is an auditory hallucination. The neighbours below merely trolls.
And I am not quite fifty. I went to sleep on a tab one night. I am still plumping up the pillow.
When I sleep I do not soar or descend like a pterodactyl. I plummet into glass as a starling on Largactil. A mouse chewed up by Mandrax. I smear the sides of buildings, detonate on tiles to raise the slumbering. I am Syd. I am Sid. You better fucking believe it. Puck in engineer boots, bloated beyond recognition. Whipping this way and that on leather cuffs. Pricked full of needles, a crocheted shawl. An owl spitting thorny pellets.
All around they are dropping like flies. I do not care for eulogies.
A verse here. A drone there. The best things in life are fleeting.
"I am a fucking mad cunt," the mad cunt downstairs informs the house. "And I want my fucking jacket. Right now."
I have no antidote.
"You fucking belter!" he screams. His nag has come home.
The mad cunt has started singing again. Off key, as always. Half out of the saddle. Jockeying for the note.
He is so proud of the house which is not his own. It prompts him to file for divorce.
"I don't care. I don't care," he stumbles. "This is a fucking bought house."
I light a cigarette. I drain my glass. I belch and scratch out a new paragraph.
I am only glad that I have enough cigarettes to see out the afternoon into the evening. Beyond. This is not a bought house. It is rented. The only house worth investing in is a lighthouse. Derelict. Aloof. Encircled by nothing save shipwrecks. Gulls. The detritus of bankrupted lords.