or Is That An Underwire In My Teeth
or I Bit The Hair Of The Dog That Bit Me And Now We’re Both Rabid
or Even Ogres Will Blarney For Blowjobs
I woke up to a screaming headache like cold-wrought iron bands wrapped around my skull, and the unwelcome sensation of my comrade, business partner, go-to guy, and ex-girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend slapping my face with an excess of vigor. Seeing I was roused, he stopped, though the feeling of his palm impacting the dream-flesh of my cheek echoed back and forth through the next several seconds. I opened my mouth to say Where the fuck are we and, sensing freedom close at hand, the contents of my stomach made a break for the exit. Displaying uncommon good sense for his race and class, my Main Man in Wherever The Fuck This Is stepped aside from the oncoming coronal mass ejection. When the throbbing convulsions had died down to a mere cement-mixer rumble, he made a show of studying the Pollockian spatterings on ceiling, walls, and floor. “Pencil stub… a roach clip… six beer-bottle caps, all different brands… half a shot glass… a pair of panties….” He rubbed his face, fatigue dripping from his frame like attitude from a boggart. “I can’t take you anywhere, can I?”
I found my voice. “Wha’ happen?” There was light in the room, nova-bright, glancing off something tiny, shiny, and faceted: the scattered reflections sending fiery armor-piercing angel-swords in through my eyes and out through the back of my head. I groaned, swished puke around my fine set of bronze teeth, and spat.
“Elvish booze, man. You drank too much, way too much – you turn into a fuckin’ animal on that stuff.” My friend – and I’ll use that term loosely here, right now no one was my friend except perhaps a quart of tomato juice, raw egg, firewater, and tabasco topped with a sprinkle of powdered unicorn horn – twitched the curtain open and peered out, which had the net effect of making the room brighter but in a tolerably diffuse fashion. The décor was ‘shabby dorm’ with heaps of clothing, piles of papers, an overflowing desk upon which was perched a shiny laptop with a big bite taken out of the corner of the screen, tar-black crystalline goop in a trail down the inside.
“Oh fuck,” I said. “Did I do that?”
He nodded solemnly, still peering out the window. “Too right you did. You were taking bets, man, why you had all that stuff in your stomach. I was worried you were gonna blow our cover, so I took a blotter from your bag of tricks and put it in the punch.”
I was too wasted to be angry about this flagrant theft of my personal property. “Now what,” I croaked, and levered myself to my feet, pleased to note I still had my boots on. Love those boots – big lug-soled vibram-cleated shitkicking motorcycle boots with screaming-skull toecaps in stainless silver. Had those made up special by a weyland-smith in Vancouver. Cramps walked up and down my back like hungry spiders, pausing to sink their fangs into especially tender spots. Venom surged in my bladder.
“We gotta get outta here before she wakes up.” He pointed to what I thought was a laundry pile: after a moment’s scrutiny I found an outflung arm, a bare thigh, a curl of coppery hair in the welter of clothing and sheets and Dana-knows-what.
“Waitaminnit,” I said, a sick, scary realization curling like a python around my brainstem. “Are we in a girl’s room?” Alarms of all kinds began to go off in my head. “We gotta get the fuck out of here, man, don’t you remember? I have a goddamn geas the size of Mount Olympus hanging over me! If I spend a full day with a girl my fucking heart will explode! What time is it? It’s not noon, is it?” My hands shook, and it took an effort of will to keep from diving out of the window into the screaming sunlight.
Enemy Mine pulled out his phone and poked at it. “We’re cool,” he said. “It’s only 11:45.”
The tension drained out of me like water from a flush toilet. “Oh thank fuck, fifteen minutes is plenty of time.” I looked around for strong drink, or failing that, raw flesh. I had a powerful urge coming on. “Is there any of that elven shit left? My mouth tastes like a basilisk’s asshole.”
And then someone began to pound on the door.