The Morning After

Tap. Boom. Tap. Boom. Tap. Boom.

What the hell is that? I try to open my eyes, but the light is blinding. I squeeze my eyelids shut, groan, and attempt to roll over. Nothing doing. I seem to be laying across a log, a stick jabbing me in the ribs.

Tap. Boom. Tap. Boom. Tap. Boom.

I’m cold, at the moment very uncomfortable, and have a raging pain behind my eyes.

Tap. Boom. Tap. Boom. Tap. Boom.

I am more sitting than laying. I attempt to straighten out my legs, but that seems to be an impossibility. My feet push against an unmovable object. I feel all bound up, the bindings clinging tightly to all parts of my inert body.

Tap. Boom. Tap. Boom. Tap. Boom.

The noise gets louder, matching the intensity of the pain in my head.

Tap. Boom. Tap. Boom. Tap. Boom.

I force my eyelids open, blinded by the light. I crane my neck so that I can look above me. No. That’s not right. I seem to be looking…I don’t know where I’m looking.

Tap. Boom. Tap. Boom. Tap. Boom.

I push myself into a sitting position. The bucket seat grabs me snugly and holds me in position.

Tap, tap, tap. “Sir, can you step out of your vehicle?”

What? My vehicle? I glance around at the close quarters I find myself in. I am sitting in the passenger seat of Old Grey. I had been slumped across the center console, and now realize that my ribcage hurts where it had met the hard plastic compartment between the two seats.

The policeman had been tapping on the driver side window with his flashlight. I lean across and get the glass part way down. “Can you turn off the light?”

“Sir, please step out of your vehicle.”

As I open the door and climb out the passenger side I realize that I’m still parked in the spot not far from the place I last remembered being. It’s dark, too.

“Sir, can I see some eye dee, please?”

“Yeah, sure.” I dig into my pocket for my wallet. Tugging my license from the behind the clear window in my wallet proves to be an effort, but I finally get it free and hand it to the young man with the badge and gun.

He shines his light on the object in his hand, studying the photo, and then turns it on my face. I shut my eyes and tilt my head down, away from the blinding menace. “Sir, it’s illegal for you to camp on city streets.”

Pointing to the place I had spent a very interesting day I stammered, “I’m sorry, officer. I just spent too much time in that fine establishment there. I didn’t want to take the chance and drive home in the condition in which I found myself.”

“Well, you can’t stay here.”

“If you can point me in the direction where I can find a cup of coffee and the chance to wake up I’d appreciate it. What time is it, anyway?” I haven’t carried a watch in years, and am usually pretty accurate in guessing what time it is, but right at the moment I’m not even sure what day it is.

The young cop looks down at the device strapped to his left wrist. Glancing back up at me, he hands me back my license and says, “It’s six fifteen. That cafe down the street just opened. They serve up some mighty mean coffee and a breakfast fit for a king.” He points to a spot over my left shoulder. I turn and look towards a building on the corner, a block away, with a red neon sign in the window stating that they were open for business.

“I hope they have aspirin.”

“You must have gotten acquainted with Tambourine Tom.”

“Yep. Don’t remember a lot of the day, but I do remember that man.” I shove my wallet back into my back pocket.

“I’d get some coffee in me if I were you, and maybe something to eat before you try driving home.” He turns and begins walking to where his patrol car is parked.

“Wait a minute. Do you know what sex stones are?”

The young man laughs and says, “Yes, I do. You will, too, once you check out that package someone placed on your hood.”

I turn and look. There is a small box sitting silently on the hood of my jeep, as close to center as it can get. I walk around and slowly pull it from its perch and stare at what is printed on the top of it. Danger. Sex Stones.

I tug the lid off the small box and peer inside. I smile broadly. Then begin to chuckle, and that soon turns into a wholehearted, belly aching, laugh.

Young Officer Jenkins, waves as he drives by.

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