It is another winter Sunday just north of Boston. The sun is shining brightly in the clear blue sky. Salt and snow have stained the streets. And the wind is blowing our back gate open and shut rather violently. Its latch is missing, you see, thanks to the future Mrs. Fondleberries who, one night a couple of weeks ago in a moment that can only be described as cute, let the gate slam shut. Slam! With a whimper, as though the wind were knocked out of it, the latch popped off. Since I'm a bit fat and lazy these days, I haven't yet fixed it. I'm sure that I'll get to it by mid summer.
* * * *
I was awakened this fine morning at about 5 AM by a revelry of yelping, screeching, hissing, and fighting composed and orchestrated by several neighborhood cats. Apparently these buggers had the night before decided as a collective feline unit that it was high-time they were in heat, and by morning needed to tear the living shit out of each other's fleshy loins and pump warm yummy goodness into each other until filled with soon to be kitties. Kitties are sweet. What made this barrage of noise even more special was the fabulous hammer-to-anvil pounding of my usual Sunday morning hang over that was, lucky for me, echoing through my still booze-laden head.
* * * *
When I was a kid, my father, whom I'll call "Drill Sergent Dad (DSD)", used to wake me every morning at zero-530. The DSD would kick open the door to my bedroom, stand over my comatose corpse for how ever long he stood there (which is a story for a different post), and he'd shout the military revelry tune repeatedly until he could see the whites of my eyes; eyes encrusted with morning sleep.
"Get up, kid, he'd bark, "and wipe the snot out of your eyes. Ready yourself in fifteen."
Readying meant that I had exactly 15 minutes to perform what the DSD called the three S's (shit, shave, and shower), then dress in gym shorts, t-shirt, and sneakers. Once ready, I'd meet him in the kitchen to "mess", then we'd head out to the local Junior High School track for a run.
The track was a quarter mile around and close to 20 yards wide. Tiny purple pebbles comprised its surface. The DSD had decided that we would run one mile. Four turns around the track. Four was neat and tidy. We didn't run for speed, or necessarily for distance, or even to share each other's company. This was conditioning. We ran in stride. Our feet hit the pebbles simultaneously. Left, right, left, right. I envisioned that the only thoughts the DSD had during the runs were of military cadences: I don't know but I've been told, Eskimo pussy is mighty cold, and the like. He never spoke during the runs, though.
Once the mile was up, we'd walk off the track and onto a nearby field to stretch and get in some push ups and sit ups. Counting the repetitions would be the only conversation. We got in however many push ups and sit ups we could before I'd have to be off for school and he for work.
This ritual, which I referred to as my morning fuck you, began shortly after my 13th birthday and lasted until I left for college several years later.
* * * *
As I lay in the guest room bed this morning, sweating booze and staring at the ceiling, I tried to come to grips with the fact that getting more sleep was not an option. Once I had accepted that fact, I got out of bed, wiped the snot from my eyes, and stumbled to the bathroom to have a piss. I was happy to see that I was wearing pajamas. I wasn't sure if I had made the transition from real clothes to bed clothes before passing out on the couch last night.
Standing in the can with one hand pressed flat against the wall and the other holding myself up, I felt oddly a touch horny. It must have been the not being able to think of much other than all that fine feline fucking going on outside.
I finished my piss and meandered to the sink to wash my hands. I splashed a bit of water on my face and put my hands on the edge of the sink to brace myself. I lifted my head and looked into the mirror. Water dripped off the end of my nose. It was a slow-motion moment. In my head, I heard a slow blues riff being played on a tinny piano. There was a stinging feeling in my half-closed, bloodshot eyes. I blew water off my lips, wiped my nose on my sleeve, and lowered my head. I wondered how I'd got so far from the DSD and my morning fuck you.