The Morning After

A short story by Damien Smethurst

It was going to be one of those days.

I knew as much as soon as I looked over towards what should have been a bleating alarm clock to instead see four red digits stridently flashing the fact that I was meant to have been in work over two hours ago in the direction of my sleepy gaze. This was not the first time I had been late, and in fact lateness had become such a regular occurrence that I had been warned the last time that one more episode of tardiness would result in my becoming gainfully unemployed.

I spent a few moments gazing at the offending clock, trying to decipher whether I had any grandparents I hadn't already killed off as an excuse for turning up so late, but knew deep down that there was nothing I could say that would convince my boss to keep me this time. It had just been one time too often for me to possibly hope to keep my job.

This was a shame, because I loved my job. If only I could actually get my lazy ass out of bed in time to make it there and keep the damn thing. But there was nobody else to blame other than myself. I knew the night before that the vodka was a bad idea. It was always a bad idea. I just had a habit of convincing myself that it wasn't a bad idea at the time. I really should have known better, but the damage was done.

Now I had to make a decision. Did I actually bother getting out of bed, where I was feeling quite comfortable despite the after effects of the vodka, to make my way to a job I no longer had, or did I stay where I was and not bother? This, on the surface of it, should not have been a difficult choice, but deep down I was an eternal optimist and honestly believed on some level that no matter how bad things got there was a chance to rescue the situation.

Of course, turning up to work several hours late stinking of beer and vodka, when I had been given more than ample notice of the fact that the next time would be the last was not, in fairness, the greatest way to try to turn things back in my favour.

And yet…

So I lay there, and stared at the spinning ceiling. I had been awake for at least twenty minutes before I realized that one of the arms lying across my chest was not actually attached to me. This, even in my befuddled state, indicated that there was a fair probability that I had not spent the previous night alone. Now I had to decide whether to risk disturbing the person lying beside me.

I knew from past experience that the probability was that the person I had slept with would not be a particularly attractive woman. I had no idea how this happened so regularly, because to the best of my knowledge I had never gone to bed with an ugly woman. But I had a nasty habit of waking up beside them.

Part of me wondered if there was a certain kind of woman that liked to pick guys up in bars, take them home, use them and abuse them until they fell asleep, and then call up the biggest, fattest, and ugliest friend they had to switch places with them while the poor unsuspecting guy was asleep. I know that if I was an attractive woman I would probably do something like that just to fuck with guys heads.

But most people are not as twisted as me, so chances are my bizarre theory was nothing more than what it appeared to be. Still, you could never be entirely sure. Women are devious creatures, after all, and as someone much more intelligent than me once said, you can't trust anyone that can bleed continuously for five days a month and not die.

Still, all that being said, I was still lying there facing a double predicament. Did I get up to go to work or stay where I was? Did I risk disturbing the strange person beside me that I had still not even looked at, just in case she was really gruesome and insisted on some wake-up sex?

Decisions, decisions….

I contemplated things for a little while and deduced that the best course of action all round would probably be to go back to sleep. But that, in itself, risked causing more problems than it was worth.

In fairness, it wouldn't make much difference to my employment situation either way, so that wasn't something I really had to consider in making this decision. But by now, having been awake for a while, I was aware of the actual reason that I had come to from my drunken stupor.

I needed to go to the toilet.

This was not good, as it again left me in a position where I had to make one of two choices, neither of which were really envious at that moment. I could either get out of bed, in which case I would almost certainly wake the probable behemoth that was sleeping besides me with her arm draped across my chest in that worldwide female signal of ownership.

Or I could stay where I was, in which case I would almost certainly find myself lying in bodily fluids other than the traditional post-coital ones.

This actually wouldn't bother me all that much. It wouldn't be the first time I got drunk and pissed the bed. But there was a chance that the person sharing my bed might not be a monster after all. In which case pissing all over the place would only serve to ensure I never got a chance of a repeat meeting with her.

Of course, I could just incline my head 45 degrees to the right to see who I had ended up in bed with this time. But that felt like it might be a little bit too much effort right now. Plus, for as long as all I was doing was staring up at the ceiling I could keep believing that I had gotten really lucky the night before and actually managed to entice a really nice girl back home with me.

Like pissing the bed, it wouldn't be the first time. Although sadly the occurrence that was the more regular of the two is not the one that I would want to boast about to my friends in the pub.

Anyway….

I lay there, staring at the ceiling, trying to decide which of the options open to me would be least likely to cause me pain, misery and/or untold suffering. Then I started trying to piece together the previous night in order to give myself a chance of working out which of the girls I had been talking to would be the most likely candidate to have become my early morning bed-partner.

There was Amy, who was super cute to look at but a little neurotic to talk to. Sara, who had been tending bar in my local, and who I knew had a crush on me but for some reason nothing had ever happened between us, I think mainly because the only times I was ever confident enough to actually discuss the issue with her tended to be when I was in no fit state to physically do anything other than drool over her.

There had also been a myriad other girls that I had spoken to, and all of them had been really good looking, but that was normal. This was, after all, one of the reasons I had chosen to move to the Czech Republic in the first place. Even the plain Czech girls were stunning when compared to English women.

Unfortunately, the other selling point for the country had been the fact that beer was cheaper than water, which seemed like a good thing at the time, but after a few years had turned me into a drunken idiot. Although in fairness I hadn't really needed much encouragement to bring out either my inner drunk or my inner idiot. Both of them had been trying to break free for quite some time before I made the move.

Moving here had just helped to facilitate their escapes.

None of these ruminations, of course, succeeded in helping me to deal with my current predicament. My bladder was now making it very clear that if I didn't do something about offering it relief shortly it would be taking matters into its own hands, so to speak. That would not bode well for me if it was Sara lying beside me, as she wasn't the only one of us with an unrequited crush, and if I had finally managed to get her here it would give me the confidence to believe that I could do it again at a later date.

Unless I pissed all over her of course. Then my amorous intentions towards her would be over with for sure. Unfortunately for me she wasn't German, as I had heard tales that they were the race that would be most likely to enjoy an early morning yellow water wake up call.

After lying there for a few more minutes, my bladder began sending out an SOS signal, informing me that I had about 45 seconds before it was going to empty itself, and thus forcing me to make an immediate decision with regards my plans for the morning.

Moving the arm from across my chest as gently as I could in the circumstances, I climbed out of bed and headed toward the toilet. It was at this point that something I should have realized much earlier became evident. I was not, as my befuddled mind had thus far been surmising, actually in my own bed, or room, or flat for that matter.

How this detail had failed to register in the 35 minutes or so I had already been awake was completely beyond me to compute at that moment. The important thing was trying to pick out an efficient route to the little boys room, preferably before it was too late to be necessary, and with luck I could also get there without accidentally bumping into anybody my as yet unidentified bed partner might be living with.

This had happened once in Austria, when I had stumbled out of the room of a very attractive young lady, again for an early morning emergency ablution, only to bump into the girls father in the hallway. The fact that I hadn't bothered to spend a few seconds to put any clothes on in my haste probably did not make a great first impression. That I was asked to leave shortly after by my partner for the night as her family had to go to church due to the fact her mother was the local Pastor was something that I had always found to be fairly ironic.

After all, she was 17 years old, and her dad had seen me wandering around the house naked an hour earlier. Chances are the sermon that morning would have been aimed directly at the young girl sitting in the front pew, although I didn't stay around to find out.

I digress however, which coincidentally was exactly what I was doing as I wandered around the strange apartment trying to work out which of the various doorways protected the home of the porcelain throne. The act of starting to move around had seemingly been enough to sufficiently change the position of the liquid in my bladder and reduce its need to escape from Defcon 1 to Defcon 2, meaning I had a few moments to investigate my surroundings and try to make the correct doorway decision.

I initially found myself faced with three possible routes to the redemption of my impending bladder evacuation. Noticing posters of some generic pop stars on one doorway, I immediately deduced this room to be the nesting place of a younger member of the human race, which left me with a choice of two portals to penile relief.

A second door, upon a tentative investigation, was found to lead to the kitchen, which left me with one more option. Or so I thought. By now I was, of course, rapidly re-approaching a critical phase of my future bladder management, and so went through the third door as though my life depended on it, only to find I was standing in another bedroom which contained a mid-coital couple who were clearly somewhat underwhelmed by my sudden interruption of their passionate embrace.

I vaguely recognized the female member of the couple as Amy, one of the girls that had been on my mental check-list of potential bed-partners, and seeing her in action with her chosen partner made it clear that I should have ignored her mildly annoying personality and pursued her a little more vigorously than I evidently had done the night before.

But it was too late for that now, and with dual cries of 'fuck off you pervert' resonating from the other side of the room I closed the door in a state of bemused perplexation as I tried to deduce where the room of relief might be situated in this strange apartment.

My musings were interrupted by the unmistakable sound of movement coming from the room I had so recently vacated in order to begin my meander through the seemingly lavatory-less lodging, implying that my bed-partner was almost certainly awake and probably wondering where I had escaped to. Unless her head was as fuzzy as mine was and she had no recollection of bringing me home with her last night.

This thought raised the intriguing possibility of me finding somewhere to hide until she went out somewhere, or possibly just until she went into another room, at which point I could attempt to rescue my clothes and escape undetected. Then I remembered that my clothes were still in her room, which would mean she would probably see them soon enough. So my chances of a safe getaway were remote.

Having discarded this idea, I went back to concentrating on the issue at hand, which was the serious need to relieve myself before I made a mess of the hallway carpet. The movement in the other room was becoming more pronounced, and I knew it would only be a matter of moments before the person with whom I had spent the night came looking for me, and so in desperation I ran into the kitchen as soundlessly as possible and took care of the business that had initially roused me from my slumber as rapidly as I could, using the sink as an emergency portal for my morning ministrations.

I was barely finished what I was doing when my nocturnal nookie partner entered the kitchen to find me sitting at the kitchen table with my head held in my hands in the universal signal of regretful over-indulgence. I wasn't really paying much attention as she walked through the door, wanting to delay the inevitable feelings of

"What the hell was I thinking when I came home with that?"

which I was sure would be forthcoming just as soon as I saw for sure what type of creature my drunkenness had paired me up with this time, so it wasn't until she spoke that I realized who I had spent the night with, and at that point I allowed myself a brief moment of hope.

"Hey Steve," said Jennifer, my bitchy but extremely cute boss. "I guess I can forgive you for not making it to work on time this morning, seeing as I'm not there either".

Her tone was warm and pleasant, and I actually found myself feeling much more pleased with my situation that I had been just a few moments later. I looked up and flashed her a smile, trying to blow the cobwebs away from my brain, knowing that there was something really important I was forgetting, certain that this morning friendliness from a woman who had been figuratively riding me for months, and seemingly literally riding me last night, would not last much longer unless I could remember whatever it was that was trying to push itself to the front of my befuddled mind.

As is often the case in such situations, the missing piece of information managed to make its way through the defenses of my mind and plant itself front and center and ready for inspection exactly 27 milliseconds after it became a moot point.

Jennifer had spent the last minute or so pottering around the kitchen, clearly getting prepared to have her first coffee of the day, when disaster struck, and I knew instantly that not only was I fired after all, there would certainly be no chance of a repeat performance with the woman all the lads at work had dubbed the Ice Queen.

She looked at me, brown eyes wide in shock and disgust, before spitting out the words that in the back of my mind I had dreaded from the moment she walked into the room.

"Steve," she began, seemingly in shock and trying to force the words to make the journey from her brain to her mouth and then out where everyone else could hear them.

"Please fucking tell me that you didn't take a shit in my kitchen sink!"