He wakes up slowly. The faint glow of sunlight spills through his velvet curtains as he squints at his meowing cat alarm clock. He hits the cats tail to stop the incessant ringing, fumbles for his reading glasses, and sees that it’s 6:30am. Late again. “That gosh darn alarm clock never does set right,” he says without feeling.
John reaches for the remote control next to his bed, but the TV does not come on. Instead, the velvet curtains roll back automatically, and the sunlight pours into the room showering him with warmth. It would be the only shower of his day.
The sleeves of his turquoise, satin pajamas are wrinkled and twisted around his tan, yet dry, arms. He sits up at the end of his bed, pajama bottoms completely flooded to his shins. He looks down only to remember the four Christmases past when he received this outfit for a king. A light sweat gather above his brow from the pajamas and white Hanes shirt underneath because of course he has one on.
John makes his way to the bathroom and stares at himself in the mirror. The face of a substitute teacher stares back at him with the face of a catcher’s mitt. Yet, he smiles through the pain and prepares himself for the day. A completely used toothpaste bottle sits mangled at the end of his sink, ready to be used again until there is nothing left to be consumed. He can’t help but feel like that bottle himself. He studies the strokes he makes across his teeth and makes sure each of his molars has been accounted for. Cinnamon floss is next.
No deodorant today, he thinks to himself. The shower from last night should do the job. He walks to the closet to find his suit for the day. An endless sea of shit brown and “what white people think navy looks like” blue sit upon the coat rack. Ties of mickey mouse, baseballs, and trumpets line his shelves, yet he sees the depressingly bland green shining from the back. A suit fit for a king.
Breakfast is waiting downstairs, but his family has already left for the day. They have more important things to do. For some reason, the joke about the priest, the buxom 1960s actress, and the lifeboat just isn’t as humorous the sixth day in a row. John sees the cold, stale bacon strips, the open loaf of white bread, and the ravaged bowl of scrambled eggs. Knowing that it fits just right, John chooses the white bread, like Goldilocks except not.
He grabs his briefcase, says goodbye to his dogs Howard, Patches, and Sparkie, and heads out to his 2003 Chevy Malibu; it gets great gas mileage. As he turns the car on, the world’s only jazz station blares through the speakers hurting John’s ears; the volume is on level three. He waves to his neighbors as he pulls out of the driveway, but they don’t wave back. In fact, John has never even met his neighbors. In fact, John doesn’t even realize this is the fourth pair of neighbors he’s had in the last three years, and he just hasn’t noticed.
His commute to the campaign office is riddled with NPR talk radio about the Orca shortage off the coast of Wales, 1920s jazz renditions, and an unwinnable battle to connect his iPhone 3 to the darn bluetooth. He arrives at the office and sits in his car. He turns the mirror and stares blankly again at the man he sees. His hair, misshapen and oily, taunts him from behind like a school bully. He glares at it for a minute, but his glare slowly transforms into a look of indifference. “Fuck it,” he says, and gets out of his car. He left his keys in the cup holder…