Is it too often that I start these by explaining how I wake-up? Maybe so, but I like to think that’s how everything starts, you wake up and rejoin the revolving world. I like to roll my jaw around when I wake, It feels great after I open up my eyes, have I mentioned that before? Maybe I grind my teeth when I sleep, shit I have no idea. Anyhow, let’s just get this started.
The sun is out, it stains my side of the world with light. I roll my jaw around as I scrape the dust from my eyes. The floor is cold as my feet make the pitter and patter to the bathroom. I clean myself up. I tie the tie tight and throw the blazer on. I tug on my collars, a light brush, and the lint or whatever is off my shoulder. I clip clop my way to the den, I sit smoking a cigarette and drinking. I roll around my jaw some more as I pull out my device. I gulp down the whiskey and go back to the place I’ve never been.
There are cars and people scattering in the street, the sound of the blasts carry their waves around the city. The noise breaks as a house down the street explodes into a fiery dream. I toss myself against the wall of a pub. Its sign swings back and forth as the ground shakes from the bombardments. “This will do.” I say to myself. A small bell dings as I open the blue door. The place is lit by candles and lamps as I step inside. I sort of shake the cold and the world off as the occupants stare at me and the bell dings again. Walking to the bar I sit nearly in the middle on a hardwood stool. “I’ll take a pint of whatever you can pour the fastest.” Before I can put the pounds down the glass is in front of me. “Keep your money lad, the world is ending.” I nod and lift the glass in a cheersing motion. I knew of the dates, and the times, but I made sure not to get the locations of the strikes. I feel more alive as the thought of any second now I could be the opposite. Smirking a devil’s smirk I turn to my left, astonished, maybe flabbergasted, her frame is delightful, buttons modestly undone, someone comfortable with the end of it all. I take a courage gulp and tap on her shoulder. “Hello, come for the show?” I regret my remark the second it leaves my lips. She turns to me and a smile slips in as she speaks “I’d say the show came to me.” Putting out a soft pale hand she introduces herself “Mary.” I take her hand gently and introduce myself as well. “You shake like a girl!” Mary laughs an ecstatic and possibly forced laugh. I stammer for the words but they sputter and spatter in my throat and come out mush. The red in her shows some more as she grins. “I only kid with you, Harry you duffer get two more of those for him and three more for me, this night got interesting.”
The empty glasses bounce around the bar as the city shakes, she traces the rim of her glass with her finger. I watch her for maybe too long, not speaking so she cuts the chase. “Are you afraid to die?” she dips her finger in the whiskey. “I’m afraid of a lot of things, and yes the final curtain is one of them.” She sucks the whiskey off her finger. “I’d be the same, I am scared of it myself, but in a knowing way, I know that it will happen, it’s that when that troubles me. That’s probably why I’m here, I want to stare my fear in the face, and I guess perhaps I never realized before how rejuvenating that is.” She finishes and dips her finger in the glass once more. “I guess that’s why we’re both here.” she looks up from her glass and we connect eyes. “Is it not something that takes the world to end to realize how amazing it is to be alive?” The pub shakes violently as another building nearby explodes, the century old dust is unsettled from the nooks and crannies.”Are we dead?” she asks earnestly . “I don’t think so, not yet.” She pours the remainder of her glass down her hatch, slaps the table, then in a whisper “good…”
We take a drink every time we feel the world shake. Mary puts the bottle down on the table and with a sway she speaks “I don’t want an afterlife, I don’t want any of that. My Life has been perfectly acceptable, I don’t need a second try or what happens to be there.” I let my devilish grin slip out as I reply. “I don’t want to live concerning myself about that shit.” She bolts upwards from her chair “Precisely!” She moves around the table as the building shakes. “Let’s dance to the end of the world.” I take her invitation and hand as I put the bottle of whiskey back on the table. We shift back and forth, moving to the sounds of destructions. “You’re not really British are you?” she whispers to me. “Is it that obvious?” I let my fake British accent go. She moves in closer and sets her head against my collarbone. “It doesn’t matter.” The room becomes bright and hot, her body is pulled away from mine before all goes dark.
I push the table off of me, the smoke chokes the air where most of the pub used to be. I stumble around coughing, trying to find a sign of her. The ringing in my ears is loud and unnerving. I toss aside rubble as I search for her, I find Harry or most of him under a large chunk of wall. I gag and cough, my search becomes more frantic than it was before. I toss the top of a table to the side, underneath I find her soft pale hand. My fingers bleed as I throw the debris off of her. Her body is twisted but whole, I lift her and carry her to the street. I run for the building across the street, away from the fire that began to engulf the remains of the pub. I set her against the wall, her neck is yielding and warm as I check her pulse. The beat is slow but steady. I cough some as the smoke from the other fires begin to fill the air. Lifting Mary once more I begin to run down the street, away from the smoke, away from the death, away from the end of the world.
I make it three blocks, I set her down and the whiskey comes up. I vomit once and then again. The December night air was cold and hot, my senses distorted I pick her up again and continue to run. I pass the firefighters as they move in towards the flames, the mouth of hell. Someone, and still not sure who catches up with me and ushers me towards a church. The pews were filled with the homeless and the hopeless. No one pays us any attention as I lay her in one the pews. I leave her briefly and find a tin for water. A font sits near the entrance of the church, I look around before I dip the tin into the rippling surface. As I walk back she sits coughing. With a rasping voice, she asks “Are we dead?”, I almost cry my response “No, we’re not dead.” I help her sit up and place myself next to her. Handing her the tin she drinks all the water. “Well this will be a story to tell our grandkids.” she pulls her legs up to her chest and leans against me. “It sure is.” I say as the stained glass windows glow from the city afire.
I wake up, I roll my jaw around as I rub my neck. She snores a little as I slide away from her. Removing my ripped and charred blazer I cover her. I walk to the confessional and slide the thick red curtain close. I say three Hail Mary’s then head home.