His name was Billy Gupton

10:30 the Timex alarm clock read. It was Sunday morning and Billy Gupton got out of bed. It must have been his folks leaving for church that brought him out of his stupor; he made sure they were gone before he got vertical.

When he arrived at home earlier that morning all was quiet in the house he grew up in. Now, opening his bedroom door, there was a hush. There was no movement in the house, no noise, but a hush. Billy Gupton's ears crackled and the hush changed. He moved his jaw right to left. It was bright so he scrunched his face, stretching it tight then wide. Billy's head hurt; he was dehydrated. His body hurt too; he was sore.

In the kitchen: 'Glad no ones home,' Billy thought. 'Water.' He ran water into an empty jar. It practically absorbed in his mouth; it tasted sweet; he finished it all in one drink. Some spilled down his chin and onto his bare chest, but Billy made no attempt to wipe it off. Back to his room: He stood looking at the evidence of last night's arrival. Coming in: He dropped his pants from his waist, stepped out of at the ankles. His shoes spread -- one here, one there. A shirt was taken off and thrown into the corner near the hamper. 'The pockets of pants must still be full,' Billy thought.

He dug in, pulling out handfuls. Right front contained keys, a napkin with writing on it -- haikus written in black ink -- a black pen, and gum wrappers. Left front pocket had a battery-dead cell phone, aviation sunglasses, and change. Back right pocket -- his wallet. 'No idea what's inside.' ATM receipts told him, '40.00 -- checking.'

'Where did it go?' He reached for the back left and found a five.

'Five.' He put everything on his dresser and walked to the bathroom.

To the tub: Billy's on his knees. Straightens up and turns the knob to hot and out to full blast. Filled it up briefly, and turned the water off. Scrub the tub: With his hand and the water that had collected he cleaned. He stopped and let it drain. He put the rubber draincover over the drain. Hot again and full blast. He stood and felt dizzy. Looking down the tub seemed small. Water was filling; the steam made Billy need to sit. Lid down, Billy sat. He brought his elbows to his knees and his head to his hands. He breathed deeply, felt weak, then stood.

The mirror: Get a second opinion. His brown eyes were red. 'Ha, ha, you look like shit.' Still, he leaned into the counter. He hadn't shaved in a week and his facial hair patched his cheeks and down his neck. Phlegm came to the top of his throat. Billy slid it down his tongue and into the sink. He put toothpaste on his toothbrush, but decided not to put it (the toothbrush) in his mouth. Gag reflexes: Stomach elsewhere. He shut off the faucet. Back to the bedroom: He took off his boxers and stood naked for a moment. He picked up the napkin on his dresser. He read:

I'm at O'Brien's.
Sitting and drinking my beer,
No one knows my name.

'Another beer please,'
Clearly haven't had enough.
'Fill my head with thoughts.'

She is late again
Always comes when I am drunk
Can't let her know though.

"How did that felt, don't remember. Remember writing, but don't remember feeling.' Th thought of alcohol made him tired.

Elaine. 'She was late last night, but she did come. I let her know she was late, completely blowing my plan of not letting her know that Iwas drunk.' She stayed for a while, had a drink herself, but Billy had had more too and that turned into a problem. 'She left me at the bar.' Billy drank more, wrote poems and chewed gum.

Back in the bathroom: Billy went to the mirror where he looked below the neck. 'Getting fatter; no doubt about it.' Now a few years out of college, where he hadn't gained weight, Billy had been drinking more and doing less. His shoulders slumped and when he tightened his pecs they didn't move. 'Waist, give me a boost...Nothing?' It was neither a stomach nor the flat abs that he once had. It was nothing. Lower. 'Dick, c'mon.' Hung over as well, it didn't respond. Must have been the whiskey. Scared penis fearing the bath, made him think of whiskey. 'Whiskey.'

Sluggish, Billy went to the kitchen. Sunday paper. Sports. Having the section gave Billy comfort. 'Hurry back.' He knew he had time with the water, just felt funny naked. He ran on his toes. Once in the bathroom he closed the door. Billy's hunched and turned the knob to the right for cold as he lifted the lid to the toiletseat. 'Relax.' He pissed in rhythm with the flowing water. The urine smelt strong and came out for a solid minute. 'Ahhhhhh.' In the bowl the water was so yellow it looked orange. 'Flush...Down.' Like lava returning into a volcano.

Tubs make noise. 'Rrrreeee,' the surface squealed as his body rubbed the surface during entry. 'Cup the nuts...Shield.' It's a must. It was hot, 'Fucking hot,' but felt good on his aching body. He dropped the paper to his right and closed his eyes. He released his balls and felt the water with his open palm, 'Wheuooo...ahhh.'

There was darkness at first when Billy Gupton closed his eyes. He saw black. 'I see black. It feels like I'm at the cinema.' Lights up: He's at O'Brien's. He's talking with Elaine. Close-up of Elaine. It was the first time they met: Elaine was nice to him, found his drunkenness enjoyable, Come to my house, Billy. Stay the night, she said. Cool sheets. A warm body. Sweet smell. 'I remember Elaine that morning, close and comfortable.'

Billy's cheeks rose. He smiled with out parting his lips. His face was clammy but his lips were stuck together with dried saliva. Knees bending, he slid in down to his chin. He lowered his knees until his head was beneath the surface of the water. Billy's body was consumed by the bath water, but his brain was in a different place. Last night: Writing his poems, he watched her walk in. 'Loved her and wanted to be with her all the time.' But said, 'we should move in together.' She didn't know him. 'I said it and convinced myself.' He couldn't convince her; scared her. He wished he did it sober as it sounded like good idea. 'It'd be different; I couldn't do it sober.'

Like a blanket, the warm water covered Billy's body. His mind wasn't right and it slipped deeper. Billy reached the breath-hold point. He slept as he dreamt his movie. First night at Elaine's: Billy's in bed with her. She says, how do you feel, Billy? Billy said he felt nothing. He said he'd call that day but didn't. 'I sobered up. I thought about it.' He didn't call.

Asphyxia. Water overtook oxygen as Billy dreamt. It was killing him as he watched his underwater movie. The film moved forward in time. 'It's the future. This is what it would like living with her. Every morning like that with her.' Selfish. 'I didn't love her but loved the feeling of love. Love to love.' He wanted to move in her, thinking his love would grow. She didn't want that. She didn't feel comfort on the same level. In the dream he woke up next to her every morning. Feeling the way he felt that first time every morning. They were honest with eachother. Billy opened up, listened, and soon loved.

The water worked into his lungs. Billy became unconscious. Lungs flooded and his body bobbed. His head stayed under. 'Honesty is the new love.' Hypoxia.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Shield. Always shield, sometimes with a washcloth. Stinging red until hot and relaxed.

Big air bubbles containing stale gas bellow from beneath.

And when you blot yourself dry, and you dig with the q-tips into your ear cannal, you are whole once again. The previous night's sins gone with the tepid bathwater down the drain.