The Morning After
by Simon Evans
I have that horrible morning after the night before feeling. You wake up and before you open your eyes you just know something bad has happened. In fact something tells me not to even bother opening my eyes. Remain in darkness; ignorance is bliss and all that.
What’s the problem? Let me think.
For a start I’m not in my bed. How do I know this? I’m sat in a chair.
Secondly, I really hurt. I can’t decide what hurts more – my head, my stomach or my wrists.
I can’t move my arms. They’re tied behind my back.
Keep my eyes closed. There’s something bad and if I can’t see it then maybe I won’t remember it.
I cough and a shooting pain flares in my side. Shit. I’ve opened my eyes.
OK. I’m in my living room. At least I’m at home rather than in some mad man’s dungeon. There are lots of empty wine bottles scattered around. There are several on the table, there’s one on the sofa, and a half empty one on the floor under the table.
The place is actually a complete mess. The lamp has fallen over and one of the speakers is dangling by its lead. There’s broken glass all over the carpet. Burgled. That must be it. Tied up and bloody burgled. The bastards! But that’s not it. No. I don’t remember being burgled, beaten and tied to a chair. What do I remember?
I glance towards the door which leads out of the living room with a feeling of dread. There’s a foot. A female foot attached to a female leg, just lying there behind the open door.
Amy. I was drinking with Amy.
Amy had come over and we were drinking and watching TV. Shit. That bad feeling again. A guilty kind of angry feeling.
That pain again. I look down and see a shattered remote control sticking out of a wound in my side.
What the fuck?
The remote control. My trusty remote control that never leaves my side is now wedged in my side, possibly never to leave.
Oh Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I remember now. Oh bollocks. I remember now.
I’ve known Amy for years. She’s a mate but can also be a right twat. We often argue. It probably doesn’t help that we are both unemployed and spend a lot of time sitting around each other’s flats drinking.
Anyway, yesterday we had been drinking since mid-afternoon. I had cooked steak and chips. We drank some more. We had ended up watching a terrible reality show she keeps banging on about and I absolutely hated it. I kept making sarcastic comments. So Amy did what she knew would piss me off. She started repeating everything I said in a high pitched voice.
It’s so annoying. I remember that I said ‘that’s enough now’ after about ten minutes of god awful mimicry. She had, of course, leaned her flat, freckly face towards me and said ‘that’s enough now’ in a silly whine.
I’ll admit it. I have a problem with boiling blood. I’m an angry man. Sometimes I just lose it. I smashed her face with the remote control. I panicked and did it again. Blood appeared on her face as did a look of confused, angry horror. I hit her a third time. This time her head snapped back and connected with the stereo speaker which fell off the side. Amy slipped from the sofa and her feet scrabbled as she tried to get up – she kicked the table and a glass vase toppled and smashed. I took a few steps back and started apologising. Amy was crouching by the sofa; I approached her offering a slurred apology. She lurched forward and stabbed me in the side with a steak knife. I instinctively hit her across the side of the head so hard that the remote control cracked open, spilling batteries. Amy staggered sideways and crashed into the lampstand, which tumbled, smashing the bulb.
I had taken a few steps backwards, upsetting a couple of glasses and crunching fragments of vase underfoot in the process. I sat myself in the kitchen chair that I’d put in the living room a few weeks ago for a party and not bothered to put back. I clutched my stomach wound, which was bleeding freely. Amy was crouching again, this time holding her head with one hand and waving the knife feebly with the other.
Amy was swearing a lot. She raised herself to a standing position and stood swaying, wiping blood from her mouth with the back of her hand. She walked unsteadily towards me, she stopped and picked up the lamp and swung it down hard on to the top of my head. My vision darkened.
That’s the last thing I remember. I can piece together, as I’m sure you can too, that she then inserted the remote control into my stab wound and tied my wrists together with what feels like the cable from the back of my laptop. It would then appear that she then collapsed when leaving the room.
I pass out again.
I come to listening to the landline ringing in the kitchen. I groggily glance around the room.
The foot has gone.
The phone stops ringing and I’m aware of breathing behind me.
I smell petrol. I hear a match box. I pass out.