I’ve Got Time
A McBiscuit RPS
Awake. Look at my cell to find the time? No need. I wake up around this time every day. Light from the window on the right streams in. Why does the one on the left never let light in? Shame shades, same blinds.
Cough a little. The sounds of others getting up. Yeah, it must be around 6:40. She’ll call some time in the next twenty minutes. Or not. But she will. She’ll call and ask me to come in today. She’ll do it because, ugh.
I’m tired, and a little bleary. I try to stay close to sleep, in case she doesn’t call. Then I can get right back to sleep. Up late last night, drinking. Drinking and writing. One of my little projects. It’s getting late, maybe she won’t call- ring. Ring.
“Hi, can you come in today?”
“Sure,” I say.
“Mike Dannon, math teacher at the high school,” she says. Probably some other name in reality- I can’t remember. “You don’t need to come in until ten though, since there’s state testing in the morning.”
“Thanks a lot, bye.”
I sit up and rub my eyes. My head is thick. I usually don’t feel this way. I set my cell to ring at 8:50. I need a little more sleep. I’ve got time.
But sleep won’t come. My stomach feels heavy and stale, like there’s something rotting inside it. Just a little. The hint of rot, the idea of discomfort. Mostly, I’m just awake, though.
I get up before it’s time, and turn the alarm on my cell off. Pants and shirt. I dress too formally for a substitute teacher- dress shirt and dark slacks. Sometimes khakis. Most subs wear sweaters- but I don’t have any sweaters. Or polo shirts. I don’t have any of those, either. Like a lot of things in my life, my dress only has two settings- “formal” and “slovenly.”
Out the door with my wallet, my pen, my keys, and my coat. And my cell, which I turn to silent ahead of time. I used to carry a pocket watch, but there’s a clock on my phone so, you know. Practicality over style.
The sun is just a little too bright, but the weather is unseasonably nice. I’m still a bit out of sorts, and my stomach feels simply wretched. I don’t normally feel this way after drinking. I don’t normally drink, really.
The walk to the high school isn’t terrible long, but it’s a ways. I walk by the middle school, where I sometimes teach. I walk by a gas station, and a few stores. I look up at the giant yellow “M” I’m approaching and think about the coupons someone gave me
Two for one. Two for one.
Two of you, for one of me. The game of you I play. Yes. I've got time.
Forward my feet. Traffic zooms by, fast and reckless and scary. Deadly, because I am all soft and bone. Parking lot. Careful, careful, careful.
Inside. Bright colors and unhappy people. Such awful behind the counter. Please. Two of you. Two of you, for one of me. Give. Pay. GIVE. One of you with cheese, the other without; I can’t remember how I like you.
Tray, with two of you. For one of me.
Who am I if I can’t remember how I like you?
The table. One table for two of you for one of me. Your wrapping parts and spreads, falling to flatness like a dress to the floor. Natural. “Open” is your “down.”
And in my hands. Just like that, the slow-shutter day gives you to me. Heavier than I remember. How did you get to be so much more than my memory would think? Most things from long ago are smaller and duller and lighter than I remember them- but not you.
Soft biscuit. Softer egg, folded in layers to remind me of the artificial glory that is fast food. Sausage, thin and flat and so full of chemically engineered flavor. They couldn’t fit your ingredients on the wrapper if they tried. You have your own DNA.
And you have me before the first bite. With cheese.
But there still is a first bite. And a second. And so on, I eat you. With cheese, then without. Greasy on my tongue. I drink just enough orange Hi-C to enjoy it, without making my mouth feel strange.
You rest in me, soothing the rot deep inside me. Warmth, now. My head is clear and grateful.
I continue walking to the high school. More cars. More danger. More sunshine and clear air and trees. A day now with my legs.
I like you without cheese.