The Morning

Theo stood at the bathroom sink, not looking at his reflection in the medicine cabinet mirror. It had a crack in it anyway. His iPhone played “Old Town Road” on Spotify. The question was, Could he manage to get moving?

15 responses to “The Morning

  1. It took him about two seconds to focus his mind on his schedule and to calculate the time he had to prepare for the first item on his agenda. It was garbage day!

  2. I certainly didn’t expect garbage day! Word like “schedule,” “calculate,” and “agenda” get me thinking about some sort of corporate office job. But no! It’s garbage day! Good surprise. (And I do love surprises.)

  3. Theo stood at the bathroom sink, not looking at his reflection in the medicine cabinet mirror. It had a crack in it anyway. His iPhone played “Old Town Road” on Spotify. The question was, Could he manage to get moving?

    “Paula,” he called out. You crack this mirror putting on your makeup this morning?”

    “Wha’cha talking about? You just being a butt-head again?”

    “No dammit. Come here and see,” he snarled, his voice dripping with exasperation.

    Paula wedged herself in between the sink and Theo, stepping around his collection of “antique” oil cans which Theo had promised to take to Second Monday Trade Days and sell, ‘cause they was “valu’ble” as he put it.

    “This mirror ain’t cracked, you idiot. You’ve just moved from butt-head to asshole.”

    Paula shook her head and headed back out the door, her feet sending oil cans flying. “I want this shit gone when I get back from work tonight. And you had better get a fortune for them ‘cause I ain’t bringing unsold chicken and fixins home from the deli.

    With the slamming of the front door, the crack grew larger.

    Theo went back to the mirror, looked and stared. He cocked his head to the left and took a closer look. The crack moved with his head. He touched the mirror. Smooth and unblemished.

    Facing the mirror, Theo drew his fingers across the face. Across the crack. A crack which had taken on a familiar anatomical appearance. With shaky hands he pulled the crack apart and discovered a brownish pucker.

    Theo stood immobile and sighed as he mulled over what he had found. Paula was right. He indeed was a butt-head.

  4. Hi Ann, I’ve missed you and this place. A great place to cut loose! Jeff

  5. And cut loose you did! You had me laughing at the antique oil can collection, but the brownish pucker was even better. I’m still smiling!

  6. Outside, the rain lashed at the trailer’s thin walls exploding its tin can shell with a percussive thudding that muffled the song. “Just another fine day in this valley” Theo mumbled out loud. Feeling sorry for himself wasn’t his favorite flavor but sometimes he slipped in a taste just because. Because his drunken daddy left his momma when Theo was old enough to tell the difference. Because he followed in his old man’s footsteps choosing the bottle over his own family. Because he didn’t give a rat’s ass what he thought or did anymore than he cared to look at his reflection in the mirror.

  7. Theo stood at the bathroom sink, not looking at his reflection in the medicine cabinet mirror. It had a crack in it anyway. His iPhone played “Old Town Road” on Spotify. The question was, Could he manage to get moving?
    Outside, the rain lashed at the trailer’s thin walls exploding its tin can shell with a percussive thudding that muffled the song. “Just another fine day in this valley” Theo mumbled out loud. Feeling sorry for himself wasn’t his favorite flavor but sometimes he slipped in a taste just because. Because his drunken daddy left his momma when Theo was old enough to tell the difference. Because he followed in his old man’s footsteps choosing the bottle over his own family. Because he didn’t give a rat’s ass what he thought or did anymore than he cared to look at his reflection in the mirror. But today might be different, Theo thought to himself.
    A skinny tabby leaned into his right ankle demanding attention. Theo nudged it away. Like so much that wanted what precious little he had left of himself; “Nothing left to give” might have been embossed on his old truck’s license plate in place of: Live free or die. A bucket of rust over four wheels sat mostly idle on a dusty patch of dirt outside of Theo’s trailer. Two of the few things he managed to keep afloat -his truck and a cat.
    “All right cat, let’s see if she’ll start up today.” He told the unnamed creature. After feeding the heavily pregnant stray out of pity Theo had one day taken her in on a bitterly cold New Hampshire winter’s day. Welcoming the company, he tolerated her because she was mostly independent. A bit of food and shelter seemed like a fair bargain for the occasional cuddle that stirred some sense of compassion in Theo. Eventually the cat simply stayed longer than she would wander off. Theo never saw her kittens as she had them somewhere else. He never knew where.
    Theo prayed to the rust gods that the old truck engine would turn over. Just enough so he could manage the twenty two mile ride to Nashua. He had recently taken a stab at joining an AA meeting; not because he thought it would make a difference but because Nel had convinced him to try. No one but Nel could get Theo to do anything.
    “Hey bro, how about you and me try something new together? Remember how mom, on her good days, used ta take us somewhere special on Sundays with that church group? Remember the rides?” Both burst into laughter at the memory of their agnostic mother joining any church. Knowing that their mother only did it for the benefits of free food and the Sunday outings they provided for her kids. They especially loved the day they got to go to a local carnival using free ride vouchers. They rode so many rides that one carni said to Theo and Nel “ain’t you kids sick of this ride yet?” There had been fried chicken and potato salad afterwards.
    “Yeah, that lasted about two months til momma couldn’t take anymore of those holy rollers showing up at our door unannounced and finding her bombed out of her mind.”
    Theo recalled with near nostalgia. “Remember how they tried to make her sober up through all that Jesus talk?” Nel laughed at the spectacle. “Yup. That was right about when the fun stopped; when mom couldn’t take it anymore.” Theo said. “Scary Sundays -we used to call it after that.” Theo and Nel paused, then quit laughing. The conversation veered towards a new topic.

  8. Loved the “Because” repetition. Creative and original. You give us enough to make us want to know more. The trailer, the truck, the cat, the AA meeting, and Nel.

    I hope you will take this piece and follow it wherever it wants to go!

  9. Thanks. Probably won’t take it anywhere; but I like the prompts you give. Get’s my sometimes-stuck wheels to turn. Keep em coming!

  10. Larry A Kosowan

    Dori I almost wished I could book a winter trip to New Hampshire to see how a heavily preganant skinny tabby would look. (I imagined an overcooked turkey.)
    Lots of details in this piece, and you grew it so easily. Nicely done.

  11. Thanks Larry. It’s a bunch of stereotypes, I know. But I tried just regurgitating what came quickly -just for practice. I appreciate your feedback.

  12. Scene: Theo stands at the bathroom sink, not looking at his reflection in the medicine cabinet mirror, which has a crack in it. In the background, the song “Old Town Road” plays as if from a scratched record. Theo clearly has difficulty getting moving.

    Announcer: Is this you in the morning? Lacking energy? Searching for purpose in a sea of muddled hatred? Seeking shelter from a life you believe to be a curse? Well, you’re not alone. Over 27 million Americans report these very same symptoms.

    Actual patient #1: I used to be so undermotivated that I slept face-down 24-7 with a pillow over my head. One afternoon, I nearly drown in my own spit. That’s when I decided to see my doctor.

    Scene: Actual patient #1 wakes up, refreshed, and turns the alarm off. The bedroom window is open, the sun shines in through the billowing curtains. Birds sing in the background. The camera zooms in on the clock showing the time to be 11:45AM. Still morning!

    Actual patient #2: After my wife left me, I lost my job, and they turned the water off, I thought I had nothing to live for. That’s when the judge mandated that I talk to my doctor. Sure glad I did too.

    Scene: Actual patient #2, smiling broadly, is playing a card game with several other men in an institutional setting. He reveals his hand and they all enjoy a good laugh. Patient #2 begins to remove his shirt as the other men cheer.

    Actual patient #3: My mother always said, there is nothing in this life you can’t recover from. Thanks to my doctor, I learned that botched murder/suicide can be one of those things.

    Scene: Actual patient #3, wearing an orange jumpsuit, waves enthusiastically at the camera as he’s ushered down a long hallway.

    Announcer: Yes, life can be overwhelming at times. If your symptoms range from perpetual tiredness to mass murder, ask your doctor about once daily Dopeamean. Dopeamean isn’t for everyone. Men or women who are pregnant, or may become pregnant, should not take Dopeamean. Anyone with even the remotest chance of being cured by an alternative treatment should also not take Dopeamean. Ask your doctor, or legal guardian, if Dopeamean is right for you. Can’t afford your medication? The authorities may be able to help.

    Actual patient #1 (standing in her driveway): I never knew the factory right next door blows a steam whistle at noon. Thanks to Dopeamean, now I do.

  13. “Sea of muddled hatred” huh? (That sounds like a writing challenge all on its own.) I like the warning for pregnant men. Dangerous!

    Off on your own tangent again, I see. Good. Keep it coming.

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