Sleep ceased, but he wasn’t ready to give up. The eyes remained shut. His only thought was, I’m awake, now what? He bounced the query off the inside of his head and it echoed around but nobody answered. Again, he asked but only silence. A third attempt and subsequent failure made him think he might be dead, but that was a thought and a start.
Arthur’s eyes opened, barely. A familiar ceiling comforted. He reached a conclusion, he wasn’t dead. Then, in an unrelated bit of thinking, Arthur decided he might like a painting above his bed that gave the illusion of a Gothic dome. This idea kept him occupied for quite a while.
Thirst was a problem, but Arthur couldn’t work out how to get a straw strong enough or of sufficient length to make it from the bed to his refrigerator. He considered the difficulty in opening the door, removing the water pitcher, or filling the glass. Maybe it was a magic straw that could just go through the door straight into the water. Regardless, he didn’t have such a straw.
He closed his eyes again, defeated.
More than water, Arthur wanted to return to that place where dreams happen, because they likely had water, or at the very least the straw of Zeus. It would have to be the sort of thing that the gods used, on Mount Olympus, after a night of too many ambrosia shots.
He could not return.
However, there wasn’t any reason he needed to open his eyes. Nope, he wouldn’t do it. Nobody could make him.
The voice stirred and said, “Too bad you weren’t more strong willed last night.”
Arthur wasn’t sure where his little voice was going with this.
“You seemed to be made to drink by everyone.”
Arthur knew the mountain of evidence bore this out. He could hear a streetcar named Hangover coming down the street. It wouldn’t be long now.
The start of the Jello shots was the last saved memory that remained uncorrupted on his brain. He could recall an eloquent proclamation that “Jello was to be brought forth for all in the kingdom.” There wasn’t any indication who the speaker might have been, but the voice sounded eerily Arthur like.
Had it been Crystal who had delivered round two?
His mental camera must have gone out at that point because there was a long period of black. The audio said something about “body shots”. The voice might have been Emily’s or Amy’s, he wasn’t sure. The crowd’s cheers was clear, though.
The audio track died out, too.
The next memory was from Edgar’s Pit. It made little sense, but a discussions seemed to have centered around the rules for a pants exchange. This seemed like it might be a “bad” memory.
Without opening his eyes, Arthur did a check and he was not wearing pants, or anything for that matter. This realization caused a flash of understanding.
There had been people in his home, not a lot, but a smattering. He couldn’t give a count, but he was confident that at least one of them, female, had been sans pants as well.
With only the slightest of head turns managed, he peeked out from under his eyelids to find the other half of the bed empty. His ears, which had started to ring a bit, listened for sounds from deep in the abode. Nothing.
It seemed safe to open his eyes further.
The light on the ceiling seemed to be lying to him. It was morning light. Arthur knew morning light because he had looked upon it with such scorn many times. It couldn’t be Sunday morning light, could it?
Maybe I’ve slept clean through to Monday?
This thought cheered him some. Not that he needed it. He was starting to come to the realization that he been through some serious adult fun. No amount of hangover could take that from him. He took some deep breaths.
If one word were to be used, he might choose, amazing. No, that was far too pedestrian, how about fantastic. It didn’t do justice that was due. He could only describe her in one way, heroic.
The next realization cleared away the fog. He COULD only describe her in one way. Another way, say…her name…that didn’t seem to be an option.
Arthur sat up, swung his feet out of bed, and with trepidation, stood. His legs did an admirable job of taking him to the bathroom.
The shower was fantastic. A few more memories came back and it looked like the hangover was going to be more manageable than he first though. By the time he reached the rinse cycle, his brain reminded him of his new writing project.
This made him happier than the fragmented bits of sex memory. Still, he was curious.
When he got out of the shower, the steamed mirror had a heart and read, “XOXO ~”
Arthur put writing thoughts aside. He knew what an x meant and an o, but the tilde had him stumped. A quick run through of possible candidates who might have penned this steamy note left him with a list of three. He couldn’t narrow it further.
In the kitchen, after a tall glass of water, he noticed the cat bowls had some food and water. His guest had fed Maltese. Two points for the mystery woman.
A garbage bag full of bottles and can was next to the back door. She had collected the dead soldiers, too. Another point for her. Then he took in his abode in its entirety. It was clean…too clean.
There wasn’t any sign of debauchery to be had. Not a clue as to what had transpired anywhere. The crime scene had been scrubbed.
Arthur removed two points from the mystery woman’s score card and went to find Maltese. The cat was on the back of the couch, resting. He looked to be considering a nap, and couldn’t be bothered with a proper greeting. All Arthur got was a slight tail flick.
The Underwood sat ready. Arthur’s work-in-progress remained where he had left it. It was a new day and he was going to write.