I am stumbling into inebriation with the fury of a life-long alcoholic. I didn’t mean to get so drunk, but here I am, sat at this bar with this drink and swaying on my stool. I think this will be my last. For tonight. Then home. I will go to my home, alone, drunk. Go to bed. Wake up, rinse, repeat.
I haven’t thought about that Homes guy since this morning. I didn’t finish my work either. I should be doing it now. To hell with it, alcohol has made me beautifully indifferent. If only I can continue not to care when I wake up. If I don’t care then none of it matters, nothing matters. That would be easier.
David Homes. God, what a smug jerk. I’m David Homes. I’m successful. Everybody loves me. I keep in touch with my ex-wife. I’d keep in touch with mine too, if I were as close to celebrity as he is. Kathryn can’t have been as mad as she said she was. She can’t have meant those things she told me as I left her. Did I leave her? No, alright, more like she left me.
I’d make it right, if I could. I would say- I don’t know- sorry. I would apologise with all the sincerity I never really showed her. Forget David Homes. Look at me now, Kathryn. I’ve changed. I’m ready to admit I was wrong, sort of. I’m coming to make things right.
This is a good idea. I back my car away from the bar. Turn on the main road. Laugh as I slow for the police car- he passes, fooled that I’m not drunk. This road takes me to town, the dodgy side, then I can cut across to her place. One stop to make first. This is a good idea.
Some money is taken from my hand. He puts it away and hands me my treat. The same plastic baggie as last time, the same pinkish salt inside. I ask him to help me. He laughs. The baggie is opened, the powder spread, lines of lust and nihilism cut with a credit card. There’s not a lot of it there; I don’t need much. I kneel in front of it. Bend, breathe out, snort.
This is definitely a good idea.
I’ve never driven this fast.
She’ll see that I mean it.
Forget David Homes.
Look at me.
David Homes woke from a light nap that he had allowed to draw him from his work. As his eyes adjusted to the glare of the computer screen in the now darkened room, he wondered what had woken him.
There was something happening outside. He listened to the repeated banging while his consciousness caught up with him: that banging was not ordinary. It quickly connected within his mind to danger. He called out for Vanessa. She came into his office, prepared with her report before he’d asked.
“It’s one of the neighbors. A guy is trying to get through their front door.”
“Where are the police?”
“I’ve called them. They should be here soon, but David, I think he might get in.”
David went to the front door. He found his shoes, slipped them on, then told Vanessa he would be back in a moment. He closed the door behind himself.
There was a man as Vanessa had said. He seemed drunk. He threw his fists at the battered door with no expression of pain or tiring. He yelled to someone inside, who yelled back, but David could not make out either voice enough to make sense of the argument. He approached and considered the empty lawn between him and the attacker. He saw nothing he could defend himself with.
The door opened. It seemed to take the man by surprise. He staggered back a step. Then as he lurched forward to enter the house, a larger man stepped outside and punched the first with the confidence of someone who had thrown a punch before. As the neighbor stood over the collapsed man, waiting for retaliation, two police cars howled down the street.
David looked back to his own home, to Vanessa watching from the downstairs window. By the time he turned back to the scene on his neighbor’s doorstep, the police were on top of the attacker.
The handcuffed man called out to David as he struggled with the two officers. He looked amused and mortified, a contrary mix of emotions that resulted in a look of insanity.
“I don’t believe this,” he called out. “This is all you, isn’t it? You did this. A harbinger of… of this! You’re my--”
He was bundled into a police car and David Homes never heard his final word. It sounded like ‘double hanger’. David Homes took a moment in the cold air and patient silence that hung over the now empty scene. He had no idea what had just gone on. He imagined he would find out soon enough. For now, he just wanted to go back inside and see Vanessa. As he opened the door to his home and kicked off his shoes inside, she came to him.
“What was he doing there?”
“I don’t know… He seemed to know me though.”
“He did? Did you recognize him?”
David brought the man’s face to the forefront of his memory. He gave it a moment’s thought and then let it go again. He was tired, he still had work to do, and while his heart went out to the man, the man’s problems were his own.
“No,” David Homes said. “He didn’t look familiar.”