(originally published by thestoryshack.com 1/25/2014. The artwork was created especially for the story by Hong Rui Choo.)
The eight beers needed to depart and apparently they didn’t care that it was the middle of the night. I didn’t even bother turning on the bathroom light. I knew where the bowl was.
That’s why I was able to see the two little orange bursts out the window. Flashing like the world’s most boring fireworks display. The scent of tobacco reached me only a second later. My next door neighbor, an ancient woman who only slept an hour every other night, was sitting on her back porch having a smoke. I was standing next to the open window on the second floor bathroom but the smoke was in my nose like waves crashing on a beach.
And for one desperate moment
I’m not sure if my neighbor was alive when her parents strolled off the Mayflower but she must have been born soon after. It was so quiet. My urine flow sounded like a wilderness river. It took me a second to figure out if I had a buzzing in my head or if that was the sound of crickets and other small insects hard at work. It really was quiet.
He crept back in her memory
Somewhere in the distance I could hear the mournful whistle of a passing train. The tracks were far away so the fact I could still make out the rumble of the train was a bit haunting. I tried to remember the Johnny Cash song about a train but those damn eight beers were making it hard. I like to drink in even numbers so perhaps it was ten. Eventually the train was out of earshot and gone forever.
God it’s so painful when something that’s so close
This was taking a long time. Maybe it was ten. I could see my neighbor outlined in the dark and I could hear her small coughs after every inhalation. She was idly flicking her lighter and I could hear the sparkwheel grind against the flint. Without thinking about it my thumb absent-mindedly flicked the tip of my dick in the hopes of generating the same little spark.
Is still so far out of reach
Finally I was down to the last few drops. I shook it. Then realized I’d been singing the whole time. That damn song always gets me so emotional. My other hand was balled up and pressed against my chest like a sincere lounge singer coming to the end of a Barry Manilow medley. First thing in the morning I would have to explain myself to my neighbor.