It’s time to wake up, the time to rise and shine. The acoustics of the bedroom within the blank white walls accent the harmony of the alarm’s raspberry of the screaming red numbers. I turn over to check the weather, but the blinds do their job too well. It feels like seven o’clock as it should be, but the clock keeps blinking 12:00. If the power went out, I never heard it come back on. I cannot recall hearing the generating electric fizz. Does time even matter? No, it really shouldn’t; however, time is of the essence when someone has to pick up their brother.
I manage to strip off the covers, slide my person over and off the bed to the floor and crawl my way into the bathroom. It’s amazing the amount of leverage you get by digging your nails in the carpet.
Lying on the floor of the shower, I turn the faucet knobs with my feet and the water pours over my person, the droplets cannonball into my pours and stream across my body, coagulating into a web of hot water pulling me upon my feet. Gulliver wishes he was this lucky. The water raining and tearing at my face erodes the crusty sleep cocoon upon and around my eyelids. I’m awake or so it feels like I am, but I still close my eyes. While moving my face about the shower, in and out of the water, I accidentally crack my jaw against the shower head and my teeth begin to throb. I open my mouth to fill it with water in an attempt to ease the pain, but the mouthful tastes like sewage. I spit the fluid out and immediately exit the shower.
I dry off, wrap the towel around me and streak the mirror with my palm to move the fog. The tooth is throbbing, and apparently growing. Searching the drawers to find a tool to use, the best utensil I come up with are tweezers. I jab the metal into my gum under my molar to allow myself enough leverage to pop it out. It’s a bit of a process, so I have to dig my way in there. The tooth clinks into the sink with minimal blood and spirals around the porcelain towards the drain. I pick it up and it is still throbbing—not my jaw, but the tooth, which grows and blackens. Maybe that is to my imagination. I toss it out and continue to get ready.
The stoplight seems longer than usual for some odd reason. The sensor is probably busted. I put my car in park and sit back to relax. I rub my eyes as I lean forward, and my arms now crossed upon the steering wheel. A group of four crows caress the ashen blue sky and one staggers. The apparent injured bird, in mid-flight, begins to fall awkwardly to the pavement, hitting a passing car’s side mirror preceding the crash. It lies there and the three others flock to their injured friend. The three of them start pulling at the fallen one, seemingly dragging it to the side, or attempting to at least. Crows are scavengers, but they aren’t eating. Another car goes by and they scatter only to return and attempt the rescue again. The passing cars keep interrupting their struggle. The man behind me honks his horn to let me know the light had changed.
I continue to my favorite and closest coffee joint, because (well) I am addicted to the coffee. It’s coffee in general. Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks are not overshadowed by one another in my opinion, but accessibility is what’s most important right now. Somehow Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” is fitting, so I have no subconscious choice but to turn the radio up—loud, really loud. If my speakers were to blow, they would die happy.
All day long I think of things, but nothing seems to satisfy
Think I’ll lose my mind if I don’t find something to pacify
I pull into the parking lot and edge into the handicapped spot without caring and knowing I won’t be long. No one else was in the parking lot, so what did it matter? I enter, making my way to the counter and find a large coffee with cream and sugar aside a bagged headlight waiting for me. The girl behind the counter stares ahead as I hand her a five; yet, she stares straight ahead—I’m looking through you, where did you go?—blankly and not even telling me to not worry about payment. I pull my hand back with my fingers still clutching the money, hesitate and raise an eyebrow at her, shrug my shoulders and leave.
Fayette Street isn’t as congested as I had thought it was going to be. There are cars and people roaming the streets, some in a daze with their faces up toward the sky. What they are looking at, I wonder as curiosity prevails. Nothing seems to faze me, including peculiar behavior. It’s best to mind one’s own business and that fact feels especially appropriate at the time being. I keep on my path and drive up next to the building, my destination. It’s elegantly dressed in all glass, which is tinted with a blue hue. Reflections of scenery and refractions of light ripple as if the building was coated in water—it flows like the hem of a dress confronting a light breeze—or is it my environment that’s underwater? I roll down the window to stick my head out and look up. He—my brother—is on the eighth floor.
The light turns green, and I begin a journey of trying to find a parking spot. I drive around the blocks in a figure eight pattern a few times before I give up. I speed up and drive elsewhere. My disillusioned frustration takes me quite a distance away from the building; I end up around Burnet Park, or at least I think it I am. I park my car and get out trying to think of an easier way to get to my brother’s place. To the right of me sits a bike, a trick bike much smaller than the norm for the size of my person; this could be a toddler’s ride. Scoping the area to make sure no one is around, I steal it. I have not ridden one of these bikes in years, so I drive around in a wide circle, following the circumference of the parking lot three times to get the hang of comfortably riding.
As I start to feel most comfortable, I immediately begin to lose control; the handlebar starts to shake. Although, I am keeping the tires rolling straight as possible, I realize that the hand brakes are shot, and I head to the guardrail to grind the bike against. To my frustration, completely missing my plan of attack, I head over a grassy embankment that disguises a drop-off. Gaining minimal air and falling forward down the steep hill, I am left with too little time to brace myself, or to realize how far of a fall is ahead. My face hits the grass and the bike flies off in the opposite direction. My person bounces into an attempted somersault, but I land on my neck. There is a loud crack. Everything goes dark.
My eyes open. I’m standing in front of the glass building with the reflection of my person shape shifting in the reflection pool of one of those Funhouse mirrors, which is seemingly stationed upon the door. I walk up to the door to pull on the brass handle and the door easily slides open. The floor lobby is icy marble with black and white squares, conveniently looking—of course—like a giant chess board. I take a few steps in as I realize my debating whether to stand on a white or black square, and I realize I’ve definitely never been here before. Two huge white marble pillars stand behind me, one in each of the corners. The far end of the lobby has the same. A third pillar for each side stands in between. Both the manager and assistant manager offices were behind me, vacant and to the left. As I now face the exit, two white marble statues, indistinguishable, guard the doorway. Muzak plays:
You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave
This isn’t a hotel. The lobby is designed in the shape of an H with the elevators located directly in the middle. Three elevators easily accessible in front of my face and no clerks can be found situated at the front desk. I walk forward and stop to take a look around. Maybe I should take responsibility and call out. I technically shouldn’t know where I am going, so signing in wouldn’t be a hassle. I really don’t know if this is the right building; something just doesn’t feel right. I move ahead two more blocks and I chuckle. My shoes, my footsteps echo throughout. What game is this? My déjà vu sensation melts from the back of my head and down to my limbs, tickling my fingertips upon its travels. I announce, HELLO, and the only responses are from my own voice echoing in different nooks of the lobby, back and forth. At least I feel like I have been greeted.
I press the UP button on the elevator panel; there are no directional arrows but the actual buttons are the words: UPand DOWN. Left, center, or right—the choices flow across my mind continually. Four seconds later, the left elevator opens and I step in. Staring at the floor panel, I press the “8” button. This action causes the button to light up, but the rest of the preceding numbers light up as well. Great, I say to myself; for such an exclusive building, at least it appears to be, there has to be a severe mechanical issue. The dong of notification cues the elevator’s arrival to the first (“1”) floor, the opening doors are the opening palms of welcoming hands spreading, preparing to embrace riders with a hug. The elevator is my safe harbor.
The doors close and block my view, cover my eyes. Guess who, someone may say while standing behind you.