Friday, January 24, 2014


I wake up like I never slept. The fluorescent lights above me flicker to life one at a time over several seconds. It's not quite dark outside, but it's not morning.

I sit on the edge of my bed and open a rainbow can of coffee that I bought last night from the vending machine in anticipation of this exact moment. Cold and sweet syrup runs down my chin with the first, awkward sip.

There's a lowball glass on the bedside table next to a half-full, face-down flask bottle of Suntory yellow. I pour the glass halfway full of gold and dump in enough coffee drink to put the liquid line just below the rim, stirring with my right index finger as I go. I suck on my finger and get a hint of what's to come.

The mix is astringent and sweet, but the coffee cuts the burn of that first 6 a.m. drink going down rough. I down somewhere between a third and half the glass in one big gulp and refill it with more Suntory.

At this point the color's not too far from the yellow label on the bottle, a creamy, washed-out dandelion. Half of the glass disappears in the next surge, but with the pump primed it all goes down so easy.

I sit for long minutes staring down into the glass. The sun's only just clawing its way out from behind the blockade of buildings outside my window above my bed. Come to think of it, the first wisps look like the bottle, too.

One more surge and the glass is empty. I drop it sideways onto the nightstand and stumble to my feet. I feel a power slosh down to my feet and up to my head for a moment before finally settling in my stomach.

I wipe my mouth on my bare arm, pull on my jeans, and grab my wallet and keys from on the nightstand. The rainbow coffee can's still in my hands, so I take a final slug to even things out and drop the can on the carpet.

By then the sun's earnestly peeking above the buildings and has found its way to my window.

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