I wasted no time, stepping into the stormwater drain to retrieve the kitten before it drowned. Wind railed at my back, and the first huge drops of icy rain began to plap on the scruff of my neck. I shivered, my foot slipped on the slick ladder, and I fell in.
I flailed momentarily before my head cracked into the sewer wall. The last thing I remember was my face in bloodied water, my scattered manuscript pages, and a title that read ‘Look What the Kitten Dragged In’.
A cat duet.
A high brick wall,
An awful squall.
A moonlit night,
A mortal fight.
A man in bed,
Sticks out his head.
The man has riz.
His arm draws back
A big bootjack–
A loud swish,
A dead cat.
“Y’know, me dear old nan used to say that it isn’t normative for a god to reveal itself supernaturally. And she was a nun!”
Bleary-eyed and rat-mouthed, Ezra Darwin squinted up at the ceiling, wondering why the clock radio wasn’t there.
“Which begs the question: What would you do to provide for your loved ones in the event of your untimely demise? Would you leave their fates to fate, or would you step up and take charge?”
Oh. That’s right. It wasn’t normative for clock radios to dwell on ceilings. Ezra turned his head. His cheek rolled into the soft, fresh swell of a pillow. God. That soothing coolness felt so damn good.
“Death can come a-knocking at any moment, so instead of praying for resurrectal intervention, why not hop on the blower and give Miracle Life Insurance a call? We’re true blue, and we bloody care.”
And there it was. The clock radio was a bit blurry and a bit… vertical, but well within reach. Ezra extended his arm and arced it downward, silencing said device with a decisive thwack. Goodbye annoying ad, and hello annoying new day! Ugh. It was time for his morning wee.
Ezra rolled onto his side, swung his feet to the floor, and sat up. Okay, so he wasn’t going to throw up yet. His head felt like a block of marinated wood with buzzing, nightmare insects for eyes. Maybe he shouldn’t have downed that fifth Balkan last night.
He jerked to a standing position. Well, Ezra thought he was standing. He hoped he was standing. And why were the walls dancing around? Were they celebrating something? Surely it was too early in the morning for celebration? He tried not to move his head too much, and concentrated on aiming himself at the ensuite door. Once he was vaguely lined up with its somewhat sideways edges, Ezra lurched forward in one gangly, awkward motion.
It didn’t help that everything was too small in this apartment. Space was at an absolute premium, and there were boxes and other shit absolutely everywhere. Ezra hadn’t unpacked since his arrival nearly ten months ago. Time was slipping by at a rate of impossible deadlines and boozy binge sessions punctuated by episodes of extreme anxiety, and nothing had improved. There had to be a better way to make a living.
Ezra fumbled with himself. Shit. Was it just his imagination or was it getting harder to piss? Or was he simply dehydrated from the previous evening’s impressive, alcohol-fuelled train wreck? He should get his prostate checked. Prostate was remarkably like prostrate, which all of a sudden seemed like an outstanding career move. His junk still flapping from his trunks, Ezra resisted the impulse to fall back, and flopped forward onto the toilet bowl instead.
He was in the process of disgorging the contents of his stomach when he noticed the goldfish looking up at him.