It was colder than hell in my house when I came home. A quick duck into my kitchen revealed I must have left the window open when I left hours ago and the cold winds of early-Spring whipped their way into the heart of my modest, one-bedroom home. I slammed the window shut and headed over to my computer in the living room to check in on work.
My email was empty, but my work landline was flashing red, announcing the presence of a voicemail. I hadn’t had one of those in months.
I hit play on the recorder fully expecting some kind of auto-dialed message or telemarketer so I was shocked when the message began with a hideous cough. I cringed as the grating cough turned into an even more grotesque sound, that of furious vomiting. The sound rumbled on for a handful of seconds before it cut out and I scrambled to look at my call log and see who left the message.
The call came from the number I remember belonged to Big Jim.
I woke up at 3 a.m. in a sweat. This always happened when I drank. The whiskey made me hot with my old age and tickled my bladder in the night.
I downed an extra drink of Jim Beam with my late dinner to calm the nerves in my stomach the message from Big Jim’s message left, but it backfired on me. My body having fully processed the liquor, I was now just wide awake, lying up in bed in the shallow dark coated in sweat.
My eyes scanned the cool darkness of the room before I got up out of bed and shuffled over to the bathroom. I quickly relieved myself, didn’t flush the toilet out of a sudden childish fear of creating noise and tiptoed back to my bed like a deer sneaking back into the woods after drinking from a stream.