IT’S LATE

Billy can’t be arsed to go for a piss upstairs. He can’t even be arsed to piss into the kitchen sink. He just kneels by the stereo and pisses into the empty can… He pisses too much and it runs over his fingers. He clenches his arse cheeks to try stopping the flow but it just makes a quick jet of piss that hits the stereo… He jerks back, ripping the headphones out of the socket, The Pogues a sudden wall of crash-rattle from the speakers… Billy fumbles the jack-plug back in and he knocks the can of piss over. Piss, pisses out onto the shag-pile… Billy picks the can up and stands it by the side of the stereo. He moves over a few feet on his knees, crablike, then falls back onto on his arse… He pushes his cock back into his jeans, feeling it rasp against the zipper. He pisses a little more, looks down to the dark flower on his crotch, rubbing it with his palm, a palm now wiped onto the shag-pile… He slides his fags and ashtray over, reaches for the last can. He cracks it and drinks long. He closes his eyes and moves his head from side to side in rhythm with the bodhran. He lights a fag. It’s the last can.

Upstairs, Grace is looking up at the bedroom ceiling. The room is dark and cool. Turning to the clock, she reaches out, pressing the button to illuminate a quarter past twelve… Twat… Tomorrow morning she will get ready for work. Tomorrow morning she will see Scarlett to school. Tomorrow morning she will take Joe to her Mum’s. But before all that, she will try and wake him, tell him he needs to keep this job, to get up, now, and then she will dress him, him still laid out on the bed… if he makes it to bed… Which he probably won’t… Twat… She will give him one more hour before she goes downstairs, one more hour before she goes to deal with what’s left… The lager, the whisky, the wine, the LPs, the cassettes, the ashtrays, the piss, the stupid fucking headphones off his stupid fucking head… And then, she’ll turn him over, onto his side, slowly… carefully… and then the cushion under the head... But no… No blanket tonight… Let him freeze… Twat… She turns over and closes her eyes, the slamming of the front door a hammered knell of off-licence, of another day sick, of lies to an unbelieving boss, of another lost job, TWAT… and she cries without sound into the pillow, making a promise she knows she’ll pour away with the night before’s piss.