by Siim Kepp
A clip from a longer thing in the making.
|I get to work 20 minutes late, but I know no-one's there, so I don't care.
I unlock the doors and turn the alarm off. When I switch on the lights, I see a dead rat on the floor.
I find them all the time. Sometimes they're not quite dead yet, that's worse. They're limping around the place, drugged up and not knowing what's going on.
I have to step on them. I don't like it, but what else am I going to do?! The trick is to step on them hard enough to kill them, but gently enough not to make a mess.
It takes some practice. I'm good at it, a natural.
My hangover is killing me.
I go behind the bar and pour myself a drink—a Jameson with a bit of soda water. I need something in me before I start cleaning up dead rodents. Nobody ever does inventory here, plus they trust me.
I open the back door, where the garbage bins are. I put on a rubber glove and pick up the rat - still warm, probably would've been alive if I was on time.
I toss the rat into the bin and follow it up with the glove. It fucking stinks out here. I smoke a quick cigarette and go back in—another drink.
I have an easy job—Cook in a bar.
I'm by myself all day, and when the next people come in, I go home.
Not really, I go to my pub.
Not today though, today I go to a funeral. My friend died last week.
He had cancer, "Bizarre Cancer", as the doctors said. He was fine two months ago, and now he's dead. I went to see him at the palliative care 2 weeks ago.
He looked like shit, but he still had his sense of humour. He didn't have his voice though; a tumour took it.
His tongue was all bright red, I was wondering what's up with that, but then I saw him eat a dark red jelly. That's all he could eat.
I was there for about half an hour, and then he got tired. I said my goodbyes and left. I was planning to go back the next weekend, but two days later his sister texted me from his phone and said that he had passed.
I was smoking a joint on my balcony when I got the message. It was surreal, to get a message from a dead mans phone.
I arrive at the funeral home 5 minutes late. It's all very fancy, a man with a gentle smile opens a door for me and shows me in.
I'm not wearing a belt, and my pants are falling down. It snapped last week when I got into a little scrap at the pub, and I haven't got a new one yet.
I try to keep them up with my left hand in my pocket.
His family is terribly religious, the service seems to never end. They are singing songs about God and reading the scripture.
I find it hard to mourn. This event doesn't feel like it's about him. It's not right. Another song starts and I find the nice man who let me in and ask the whereabouts of the toilets.
I go upstairs, through a bunch of strange rooms and finally I find it. It's a very nice toilet. I don't need to use the facilities, I just need to get away from God for a minute.
I sit on the toilet and check the football news on my phone. Romelu Lukaku got traded, at least somethings going right.
I go back down and pass the friendly doorman, who gives me another compassionate smile. He's doing a great job. Although I still regret showing up.
The service finally ends, and the sandwiches come out. I can't eat, I'm disgusted by his family, making it about something else, but my friend.
I give my condolences to his sister, the only person I know there, and leave. Now it's time for the pub.
I get to the pub way later than usual. It's almost dark outside. I take my usual seat and order a beer.
I have way too many and end up being cut off. I struggle to get home.
It's a 5-minute walk, but it takes me at least 15.
I wake up on the floor next to my palm tree. I must have tripped on it last night. I'm still in my clothes, covered in dirt. I find my cigarettes 10 minutes later and step on my balcony. It's hot, and something smells bad.
I don't feel like smoking, but I still finish one out of habit.
I get back inside and down a beer I find open on my desk. It's flat as fuck, but it'll have to do.
I lay down on my mattress and try to sleep again. It's been a strange 24 hours.