I hadn’t been home long enough to take a shower and there came a pounding on the door and I knew only too well who it was, and he was the last person in the world I wanted to see. I answered the door.
“Ah Heartache my old friend,” I said, “come in you, son-of-a-bitch, come on in make yourself at home. You know your way around, there’s beer in the refrigerator. I got to grab a shower.”
He didn’t say a word but he headed for the Hotpoint refrigerator next to the Frigidaire gas stove. I got in the shower and washed off the grime from the roofing job, I’d hated for the last month. One more week and that would be done. Then hopefully the rains would start: I’d be off with unemployment checks until an editing job promised me, turned up in January. In the meantime I could get some of my own writing done, without worrying about the wolves at the door.
This guy and his friends however were worse than wolves. I got out of the shower dried off then wrapped a towel around my waist, walked through the bathroom door and there he was, with his feet propped on my coffee table watching the six o’clock news. He had gone through one sixteen ouncer. He annoyingly belched and then gargled with the last bit of the first beer as he was opening the second one. I’d been expecting him but I was wishing he’d gone back to California where he belonged
“Looking kind of down in the mouth,” I said.
“Been with that bitch Self-Pity again haven’t you?” I said.
“You sick bastard, we all know how she treats you!” I said.
I went back in my bedroom finished drying my hair put on some shorts and an old Hawaiian shirt and hit the fridge and zipped open a tall boy for myself. I just sat there eyeing the tube with as much attention and chagrin at the commercials as Heartache gave David Muir. I wanted him out of the apartment but felt a strange premonition he needed to be there. Then there came another knocking at the door.
I answered and there he stood. Misery in Friday night togs looking like an escapee from a disco pogrom from decades ago.
“Yeah, I might have known it would be you,” I said, as I opened the door.
“Come in it seems I’ve got some company you’re gonna love. The beers are where they stay cold.”
It wasn’t three minutes before there I was, with both of them on my couch, drinking my beer. A round like this two months ago with them and I’d gotten into a card game and I got behind on the cable bill and there would be no Football until I went back to work in January.
I brought out a can of oily sardines and a bag of chips before they got around to yelling for food. I’d scarcely gotten the hosting job done when a banging started at the back door.
“Who the hell could this be now?” I said out loud.
I made my way back through the rubble of beer cans on the back porch with its idle fishing poles and the washing machine that never worked and there he was—his left shoulder facing me and looking up into the sky bright almost neon twilight of October’s bright changing colors that were solemnly turning gray and there he was.
“Loneliness, you bastard,” I grumbled. “At least you brought beer.”
I made my way back into the apartment Loneliness shuffling in behind me.
“Look who’s here boys,” I yelled.
I went for another one my beers before they were all gone. I knew Loneliness bought the cheapest beer money can buy but at least he brought some. Every three months with the change the seasons it seemed he abandoned whatever twelve-step he was in and ended back on my back porch with the cheap beer. I made my way back into the living room and they all were making more noise without saying anything. Now Heartache was whining about Self-Pity and whether she was going make it back into town.
“That’s all I need,” I said out loud, “is to have her show up tonight.”
I then made a mental note not let her in if she did. When I discovered that there was nowhere to sit, I took to the floor in front of the tube and they’d switched on a two month-old golf tournament where a football game should have been, and I knew it was going to be a bad night. Then I heard the door begin to bang, I didn’t move but it got louder and louder. I let it bang, and they all began to grumble.
“Go away you Bitch!” I yelled.
“Answer the damn door!” said Loneliness, and then Heartache got up expectantly to answer the door thinking it might be her. He’d been dating her for three years, each time they got together it would last a couple weeks to a month, then she’d jilt him again–and here he would be.
“SIT YOUR ASS DOWN!” I yelled, “We don’t have enough beer, the last time all four of us were together–she came in a mini-skirt all hiked-up with torn ass nylons, and she brought whiskey, and her nice tits, and the two of you got in a fist fight and tore this place to pieces–after only about thirty minutes.”
Loneliness thought he heard a woman’s voice from the front porch. “Let me in!” she said.
“SHUT UP! GO AWAY!” I screamed, “If I let you in, all your demons will come too! Get off my damn doorstep you bitch!”
“She’ll go away eventually.” I said. I got back to the Golf tournament. There were 18 beers left in the Fridge and I began to drink in my empty room.