The journey lasts twenty-nine and a half steps. I wake. I don’t know if it is night or day. My tongue feels out ulcers and layers of staleness in my parched papyrus mouth. It tastes of, or maybe just is, rotting flesh. I drag my legs out from under the covers and then my arms from beneath my pillow, narrowly avoiding the pint of water I failed to drink. A pirate sea battle mist of farts chunders out from beneath the disturbed duvet, filling my nostrils and soon the room with the stench of compost, corrupt high-pitched spices and mouldy tarpaulin.

I stand – the room tilts and I am instantly unsteady on my feet. My bladder closes around my lungs, sups the focus from my eyes, and grinds against my brain. I step on the loose change that has spilt from my jeans which lay discarded on the floor at the end of the bed. Even though my mind is not capable of thought, I get the distinct impression that there should be more money than there is on the carpet. Did I really spend that much? I step over my jeans not yet knowing that the juice from some ill-advised meat-salad-sauce combo will never come out. I track the perimeter of the bed, safe in the knowledge that if I fall it is there to catch me.

Walking through the doorway, I clasp momentarily at its wooden frame as nausea snakes around my intestines before spitting yet more venom into my stomach. The next three steps are more desperate, my feet feigning confidence as my bladder takes charge once more. Then, at last, the toilet bowl. I start to piss. Like a good story, this piss has a beginning, a middle and an end. It lasts too long like a work of historical fiction and my attention wanders. Four pints of cider, two ales, two lagers and four dark rums and coke seem to leave my body in the same amount of time they took to enter it.

My bladder flexes making sure that it is empty whilst simultaneously dispelling all remaining energy from my body. It is at this moment that I realise I can no longer be upright. I sit down quickly on the bathroom floor, telling myself it doesn’t count as falling. I sense the black veil of unconsciousness twitch just out of sight.

Two minutes go by. I touch my hair, greasy and clumped, then my face, dry and ugly, a scab formed over my regret. I pivot, spinning around on my ass, before shimmying forward half a step across the lino. I stop and listen, trying to hear beyond the incessant ringing in my ear. There is only ringing. My steps are longer now. I head back to the bed, quicker, as my brain threatens to implode.

As I collapse onto my bed, I knock the pint of water onto my pillow. I rest my head in the wet regardless. Amongst this agony, this dampness, I long for sleep, resolution, and an altogether more subtle way of my body letting me know that I should never drink again.

tom drinking rum

Read a review of a hangover breakfast cooked while still drunk.

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Tom Spooner

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