Monday, January 17, 2011

Chapter Four: Umbrellas Are Important

Chapter Four: Umbrellas are Important. (A small aside.  The words for this chapter are Umbrella and flaccid Balloon.  Hardy-har-har, nice try.)

I stared at the amulet for a moment more, it’s dark shiny surface glinting up at me, teasing me with a foggy memory just out of reach. But, I really couldn’t let it bother me. Pizza. That’s all I really needed. A little pizza in me, and all those fuzzy bits from the night before would come into focus, and I could think about getting ready for work. Maybe.

I stuffed things back into my oversized bag, taking care to put all the useless bits back into place around the more useful ones, like the umbrella I always carry. The weather in Kansas is iffy on the best of days, and it has been awhile since the best of days. Umbrellas are important. After checking to see if I had any cash for the pizza, I slip the ebony amulet into a side pocket on the purse and head for the door.

At the door, I pause. The mirror by the exit to my apartment was telling me something. Not just telling, screaming, even though my head was screaming back. My hair was a mess. It might have vomit in it, but I still couldn’t smell anything…thankfully. My face looked like a bruised, flaccid balloon that someone had puffed up around the eyes and a quick glance at the floor showed that I was still wearing the blood soaked bandages on my feet rather than any sort of conventional footwear. They might be considered shoes. It shows how truly messed up I am that I was considering to consider them shoes. I thought better of it and put some rubber wellingtons over the thick gauze. The rest of the outfit, stained and smelling, would be easily covered by a coat, which I did. 

A second glance at the mirror and a bit of a squint led me to believe that I looked at least passable for an Autumn resident of Lawrence, Kansas. Hey, we get all types here, and anyone wanting to judge can get a bottle to the back like the guy wearing Bruce’s shirt. Man, I wish I could remember who that was. That one was going to come back on me, I was sure.

I stumbled out the door of my second story down-town apartment and headed for Massachusetts Street, the main drag in this little burg. Joe's was on Mass and ninth, so it would be a quick jaunt of five blocks. Luckily, the sun wasn't shining, otherwise I never would have made it. The clouds were rolling in with thunder, matching my mood.

I walked into an empty, dark pizza parlor, which isn't all that unusual for eleven am on a Monday. Unless you live in a college town, which I did. At Joe's you could assume a twenty-four hour clientele, if he was so inclined. He wasn't, and the place would have just opened twenty minutes ago. It usually had a few hung over, twenty-somethings trying to make it over the hang-over hump, of which I would have been exhibit A. As it was, I was exhibit only.

I rang the service bell at the counter and waited, looking around. My fuzzy brain took in a few more details at this point, that I really should have noticed on arrival. I might have decided to forgo the pizza, but probably not. First, none of the lights were on. The only light coming in the place were the dim little basement windows around the top of the main dining area-Joe's is a basement level establishment. The second was the up-turned chairs and the knocked-over drink cooler. Trendy tea was all over the floor along with the pretty and decorative, now broken, bottles they come in. Third, was the large voodoo doll that was obviously a Joe look alike, complete with the silly blue chef hat he always wore, the equally silly almost beard he always wore, and the T-shirt that said 'Eat At Joe's' on the the front and 'It's Jo-riffic!' on the back. 
Damn. Voodoo. I put my hand up to my red-rimmed eyes and sighed. Not again.
“Well,” I mumbled to myself as I opened my purse. “At least I brought my umbrella.”

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