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2007-10-10 - 11:26 p.m.

What has just occurred would likely pull tears from any pair of crimson painted peepers that wake to an all too bright Sunday morning. It is the dream of every poor soul that crackles into noon with fingers smelling of self-inflicted arson. What just happened is the fantasy of the nothing day: locked in with old movies, and older ramien. No money to spend. No one to spend it on. But so many hairs of so many dogs you'd just love to glug down at the corner voodoo stand.

All but the nicotine neophytes know the scene. And the night before that painted the set. I mean, sure, you have a few cigarettes here and there, but when a beer sneaks up your spine and slithers so unceremoniously between your knuckles, you know that the two-thirds full pack in your pocket will be decimated in no more that an hour.

So then you buy another pack. Two, if you head to an after-hours, or if you began the day at two, tailgating your alma materís latest stab at organized sport. (Last time I tried this it wasnít so much organized...more like watching the digits of pi flashing across a TV screen. I ended up yelling ďGo Hawks!Ē in between mumbling of ďWhat does it all mean?Ē)

Then, in the joy of a night well-squandered, and a full load of lung and liver cells well composted, you traipse into your apartment, dance to music played at earsplitting levels only the inebriated can handle, kick random bits of clothing around the room like confetti, and massacre your kitchen, while attempting a sad three AM rendition of coq en vin.

In the morning, itís a world full of suffering, not even you could understand.

The gone. Soís that vodka you donít even really like. Most of the food has either been eaten, or else formed into some modern art installation around the edges of your kitchen table. True, you could gather it up and make yourself a theoretically edible vegetable form of Jungle Juice, but seeing as you canít actually identify any individual food in the stew, but you can make out cat hair, broken Heineken bottles, and what looks like half a Sharpie...Well, itís probably best that you send that particular paste off to the recycling bin.

More importantly, and even more certain than all the preceding, is this: All your smokes will be gone.

Unless you are one of those mentally deranged people that somehow tripped and fell into possession of forethought at an early age, there will only have been half a pack in your pocket when you got home, and you sure as hell made sure to destroy them with such immediate and ruthless efficiency, that had a UN inspector been looking over your shoulder, you might be drug off to Geneva for genocide.

Theyíre all gone.

The boxes arenít though. All the empty little packs that you shoved away in pockets and purse, theyíre spewed onto the floor. Oozed maybe. Definitely oozed. Oozed out while you were reaching for that last Altoid you swear you saw floating at the bottom of your portable storage bin.

So whatís a poor tar-addict to do?

You shuffle over to each empty pack...and shake them.

And then...inevitably...nothing.

Thereís one in the corner. You shake. You look. Nothing.

Again, again, and again...sometimes checking the same pack a few times. Again and again until finally it occurs to you that finding a means to mainline Tylenol is far more important at that particular moment.

Since you canít afford them, you donít buy smokes for a couple days, telling yourself youíre making a real choice to quit this time around. Then after youíve bugged the shit out of your coworkers, bumming one every fucking hour, the shame breaks you down into iddy-biddy camel-buying pieces.

Thatís usually around Wednesday. Giving you about a day until you repeat the process.

Circle of Life. Simba. All that.

Anyway, Iíve got the whole surgery thing tomorrow, so I started cleaning. Having a fucked up head, a fucked up wrist, and a fucked up apartment as well? Thatíd be simply too much. Plus, I donít want any carelessly strewn objects impeding my upcoming four day weekend of painkiller induced sloth.

Since it would take away somewhat from my bodyís healy abilities Iíve, mostly, staved off the smoking and drinking. (Two days of complete abstinence bounding an evening of: ĎOh, whatís one little carton of Dunhill reds and a bottle of Bookers bourbon in the scheme of things?í) The apartment was purged, and I was doing...okay. Still, as quick and generally uninvasive as this surgery might be, thereís that word surgery. It tends to settle into the stomach with the calm of a bad piece of shrimp.

Not exactly nervous...more trepidant. If thatís a word. (Only Spell-Check will tell...and yes the wonder of spell-check should be capitalized. [After spell-check: Nope not a word...not at all. But Iím still keeping it.]) Being honest, my usual medicinal solution to said trepidation would have been appreciated. Not neccesary. Just appreciated.

Then, as Iím sifting through incongruously moist t-shirts, it came; a revelation just as startling and possibly just as lifesaving as Bellís first dispatch. (As I hear it, Pa Bellís first phone call was: ĎOMG! ROFD!í or ĎOh, my God! Rolling on the floor dying!í Man saw the possibility of texting all the way back in the nineteenth century. Impressive.)

I find a stray carton. I look. I shake.

And...thereís a rattle. Flip the lid...and...

One stray in all the world left at my doorstep in an hour of need.

I snapped into action: I made tea. With honey. And a little bit of lemon juice. And the tiniest bit of Johnny Walker.

I turned on my music and let iTunes decide what I should hear. Tom Waits started singing ĎWarm Beer and Cold Women.í

I lit my one cigarette and took a breath of fresh air...

Onwards and upwards.

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