Mike had a recurring searing pain in the middle of his back. Every Sunday he was reduced to grunting and snarling like a wounded animal on his single bed in the corner of his single room, stained covers pulled up over his bloodshot eyes and overused mattress springs forcing their way into his ribs. It always eased off by Tuesday, but by then the necessities of life had ground him down into a depressed stump, and like clockwork he marched home via the supermarket and bought the cheapest high percentage alcohol they had. If he was lucky they would have Smirnoff on offer, but it was usually own brand ‘quality guaranteed’ bottles.
He didn’t really care, his tastebuds had given out on him in 1994 after a night of severe excess and a particularly strong curry he had eaten for a five pound bet. Over the years he found his sense of smell had improved greatly, much to his disappointment on Sunday mornings when he could smell the vomit he had usually left for himself across the bathroom floor. Sometimes he never made it to the bathroom and just threw up over the side of his bed. This morning his hand was resting in the yellow chunks drying on the lino floor. He peeled one eye open to find he had graced the side of his pillow with the same substance at some point during the night too. Mike screwed his face tightly to try and slow the thumping pain now travelling to his forehead and started chanting in a low decibel rumble from his mouth and ass. He waited until the deep sense of regret started forcing its way into his skull before turning over onto his back. The mattress was wet. He’d usually sweat profusely during the night, toxins making a break out of every pore, but the smell that emanated told him instantly that he’d pissed himself. He laid there gradually opening his eyes and tried to focus on the cigarette stained ceiling and the naked bulb hanging itself in the middle of the room. It seemed to be swaying, gently at first and then violently twisting round the room. He slammed his hands to the sides of his head, splattering bits of vomit in his hair, in an attempt to stop the room from spinning, and pushed his thumbs deep into his eye sockets. There was a new scent about him, a rusty decomposing fragrance he’d not smelt before. The sort of smell that a rotting fox on a summer's day would disperse into the air. He only had one sock on. The sudden pain behind his bottom right two ribs sent a sharp explosion of red behind his eyes and caused his testicles to shrivel further than he thought possible. He rolled over so fiercely to relieve the pain he crashed to the floor and started frantically swimming like a drowning rat in his own vomit, gargling as more forced its way from his mouth. Blood and bile covered the carpet as he started to jerk uncontrollably, his head tapping a half empty bottle of vodka further and further out of his reach. He grasped for it, thrusting his hands out until they looked like long strings firing into the distance and snatched at the neck of the vodka, swiftly forcing it to his mouth like a starved baby with a bottle. He sucked deeply, the alcohol burning its way down his vomit stripped throat. After three deep swigs his limbs started to buckle and relax, by the fifth his back became numb and he slowly pulled himself upright, leaning against his piss soaked bed. The lightbulb was still. The walls, grey and claustrophobic, had stopped pulsating and a gentle smile pushed its way onto his face. He’ll be ok by Tuesday. He’ll be ok. Mike gave the thumbs up to his ripped poster of Samantha Fox on the wall and started crawling on all fours to the direction of the bathroom for a well needed crap.