Late morning sun poured in between old brittle blinds, washing Jack’s vision with the languid halogen orange of bright light being filtered through closed eyelids, causing him to wake. He let out an exhausted groan, sharing the acrid stench of stale whiskey and flat Coke with the world.
“You smell like a fucking homeless person,” a voice scolded from a nearby office chair.
“Shut up, Cliff. Just shut up,” Jack shot back. He tried coming up with a better response, but his thoughts sloshed carelessly around his brain, a vat of concrete refusing to set. Any words he could grasp in the harsh light of 11:36AM Saturday tumbled grossly out of his mouth. “What happened?”
“Oh, you mean you don’t remember grabbing Melanie’s breasts with both hands and yelling ‘HONK! HONK!’ as you squeezed them?”
Jack shot upright in bed. “Oh. My god. Cliff, I’m so sorry. You know I would never actually—”
Jack’s roommate began to chuckle.
“You’re a dick, you know that?” Jack said as he laid back down.
“I’m sorry Jack, I couldn’t resist. You didn’t actually sexually harass my girlfriend.”
“So what did I do?”
“You really don’t remember?” Jack shook his head with an awkward, loopy grace. “When does everything start to get fuzzy for you? After Lizzie’s party maybe?”
“We went to Lizzie’s party?”
“Oh Christ, so you don’t even remember leaving the apartment.” He stopped to think for a second. “Yeah, we went to Lizzie’s. You were acting like an asshole, but I didn’t think it was anything above and beyond your normal levels of asshole. Then after…I don’t know, maybe forty minutes or so, we lost track of you.”
“You didn’t think to come find me or anything?”
Cliff’s amused grin faded. “You’re twenty-four years old, Jack, and this wasn’t the first time you’d pulled a Houdini at a party,” he snorted.
“So that makes it okay to—?
“Listen, I have go into the office today to finish up some paperwork. I figured you’d be fine. I don’t have time to explain to you all the reasons why I should not have to take care of my drunken man-child roommate when we’re out in public together,” he leveled as he headed out into the apartment hallway. “And considering you came thundering home at 3:30 in the morning with a girl, you did just fine for yourself.”
Jack clambered to his feet and ran after his roommate. “Wait, a girl? I didn’t sleep with Tanya again, did I?” he whimpered, priming himself for the shame he would feel if he had slept with his sister’s less-than-attractive friend for the fourth or fifth time.
Cliff didn’t bother looking up from tying his shoes. “No. I saw her this morning as she was leaving. Not bad actually. Not my type, but I can see why she’d be yours.”
“What did she look like?”
“Uh…mid-twenties, dark hair, slightly tanned skin. She was wearing some kind of like…Sergeant Pepper’s jacket or something. I don’t know, I didn’t get a good look at her.”
“Did she say anything?”
“Not really, but she left something on the kitchen counter for you.”
“What is it?”
“I don’t know I didn’t look at it. You share a room with my home office because you can’t make the full rent. That’s not enough for me to start giving a shit about your one-night-stands.”
Jack gazed over Cliff’s shoulder into the kitchen, trying to find the object in question, and then looked back at Cliff. “Why you being so…like…this today?”
“I’m probably just cranky that I have to go down to the office in person today. Or maybe I’m pissed off that I’m footing three quarters of the rent because my best friend slash roommate hasn’t felt like getting a job in the three months since the golf course he works at closed for the season, but he still has some cash to get obliterated drunk and keep me up all night as he humps random women a couple rooms away.” He paused in the threshold to their apartment. “It’s one of the two,” he stated as he closed the front door behind him.