The day is long and hard. The night before was fun and easy, but this day is long and hard. You clutch your sixth cup of caffeine like a junkie clutches to life under a bridge in the rain, and check again to see if the clock was maybe hopefully lying to you. Nope. 10.30am. This 9-5 shit is some other kind of fucked up. The slow ticking of the wall clock exacerbated by the hangover and as you stare at it to will it to go faster, the hands seem to taunt you by doing a slow dance back and forth in time.
By the time lunch rolls around you no don’t even want it. You are dismissed out into the real world and you want for nothing more than to crawl into a hole and never emerge, giving in to a jobless life of blind underground bliss. You struggle through the rest of the torturous hours until that magic, soothing caress of 5pm. You almost jump out of your chair screaming “LATER BITCHEEEEEEEEEEEEZ” as you fly out of the room on your broomstick of liquour and moonlight, but the most you can muster is a strong limp down the corridor.
You emerge into the fresh evening air like a newborn finally free from the sticky, hallowed halls of its mother host. It feels good, but you are exhausted. You make your way home because you know there is pizza waiting. You know it because you planned it. You have been waiting for it all day.
You get a call from a friend, “Dinner tonight? $10 parma and pot!”
You agree only because of the enormous savings. A thrift hag for life, through and through, your pizza and latest episode of scripted television can wait. Like an unfed animal its affection will only grow over time.
You arrive at said cheap night and the tables are all full. There are even people standing up in clusters holding their plates, refusing to give into the simple human luxury of sitting as you eat; the meal deal too good to wait for. With the standing room taken, you wait for about three minutes before the appeal of the cheap food wafts away like a débutante fart.
“I know a place around the corner, $2 tacos on Tuesdays?”, your friend suggests.
This sounds like an acceptable Plan B. You are hungry, your stomach lining took a beating today with an onslaught of caffeine and self-loathing, but not hungry enough to pay full price for something.
It begins to rain. Your friend embraces the rain like the free-spirit she is, practically dancing along to the next venue while the rain falling onto you only hits the hard leathery skin of detest. The pub is one you have not been to before and you get a cautious shiver before you enter, almost like a ghost ran through you as it was fleeing in despair.
The place has a smoky feel to it, like the old days before smoking in bars was banned, but this was more atmospheric smoke, like a heavy interior cloud. You scan the room for the specials board – some kind of flashy light that tells tale of these $2 tacos, to no avail. There are a suspiciously low number of people occupying the pub and there appears to be some kind of arena-esque set up of chairs. Nothing is quite right.
You approach the bar and enquire about these illusive tacos.
“Sorry mate, that was switched to Mondays a few weeks back. Tuesday is burger night.”, ol barkeep says.
You turn back to your friend and deliver the news as if you were just informed you lost a kidney. You agree burgers are an OK Plan C, though you’re getting exhausted at the ever changing menu of the night.
You turn around to talk to the barman again, “And before you get any ideas, we’re all out of burgers.”
You stare at this man and his ponytail that is formed into a bun on his head and picture what his stupid little bunhead would look like detached from his body and hanging from the rafters.
Through an angry glaze, you hate-peruse the menu for something else to eat, no longer caring for savings but only for greasy sustenance. Then, just as you are contemplating the family-sized nachos, the room darkens, both literally and figuratively. A voice speaks, that, not unlike the shrill voice of the dead, sends shivers down your spine.
“Aaaaaaand welcome to local amateur comedy night! Anyone at all who wants to get up and say some funnies is mooooooore than welcome because up he…”
Before the scary man in the fedora has the chance to finish his prophecy of doom, you grab your friends arm and run out the door into the rain the cold the dark the freedom. As you walk away, lightening thunders behind the silhouette of the pub of horror and despair.
The rain is beating down and your hopes are fading along with any energy your body has left and you want to head home to your warm net. Your overeager friend suggests a kebab for laughs and you do it because it is the first thing you come across. Like a convict in the desert arriving at an oasis, you lap up the pools of fats and juices of the greasy shaft and savour it for everything it is worth, which at this point is basically gold. You bid your friend farewell and head back to the safety of the bed awaiting you. The reliable bed that never lets you down, never falters, never judges.
You finally crawl under the sheets. It has been a long day, longer than most and you are so thankful for the softness and the comforting glow of your laptop as canned laughter flushes out the demons of the day. You set your alarm for an unholy hour of the morning and, like Dorothy tapping her shoes and repeating “no place like home”, you tell the world it can “eat a dick” as you drift off, to sleep off the meal that wasn’t, the day that wouldn’t end. It has been a long day.