Ted woke up to a thin sliver of light shining directly in his eyes. He grumbled, rolled back and forth for a moment, and pushed himself up in the bed, the thin sheets and the light blanket falling away freely from his bare chest. The room was surprisingly dark and it took him a moment to see why. In front of the room’s single window was a haphazard stack of pillows, bags, wadded up blankets and towels, anything he could find, stacked up almost to the top. Only a tiny fraction of the window was uncovered.
“Huh. Don’t remember doing that.”
But in truth, there was a good chunk of last night that Ted didn’t remember. The details of the evening were all sort of blurred together in his head. Oh, he remembered the dinner well enough, and he remembered sitting down in a loveseat in the living room after, but everything else kind of melted together into a party just like every other one he’d ever gone to. Someone had pulled out a joint, and then there was an argument, and then he had a few more beers, and then he must have gone to bed at some point. He had a vague memory of Lawrence being mad, of Kore being upset, of Anna snapping at him, of Madison being upset.
“Jesus. Everyone’s got drama but me.”
It was at once something that made him a little sad, but also something he was a little proud of. It was unfortunate that they couldn’t seem go to more than a few hours without getting into it over something or another, but it was nice that he never seemed to be at the center of it.
Unless he’d started it when he’d been drunk. But he didn’t think he had. He could kind of remember talking to Lawrence and Anna, but what would he have said to piss them off?
Oh, well. If I said or did something wrong, they’ll be more than happy to tell me over breakfast, I’m sure.
Ted fumbled for his phone, checked the time. Christ, 12:30? Well, I guess if we were up until three or four that’s not too bad. The justification did nothing to ease his conscience. Too many days up at the crack of dawn running and drilling had left him with a work ethic that was irritated by sleeping in until past noon.
Of course, he did it, but it always bugged him. At least a little.
A night spent drinking and breathing in second-hand smoke had left him with only a mild headache, but Ted had come to expect that. Hell, the others were probably worse off than he was. After all, he was a big guy, 230 pounds and most of it muscle. He could eat and drink damn near whatever he wanted, so long as he kept up his routines, and he had every intention of doing just that. Throw on some clothes, scrounge up some breakfast,go for a run, rinse and repeat.
As he stepped into the hall, he saw that the girls’ door was wide open. They must already be awake. He didn’t hear anyone else in the cabin as he descended the stairs, but he figured that was just as well. He could just hear Madison teasing him for exercising in sweats and a t-shirt instead of some moisture-wicking workout whatever, and the others piling in once they smelled blood. And that was fine. He could take whatever they could dish out. But if he didn’t have to, so much the better.
Jeez, is that a healthy attitude? Maybe I did start shit last night. With any luck, he’d run into Kore before anyone anyone else. She’d set him straight.
Madison’s door was open. Lawrence’s was shut, but Ted didn’t hear any snoring, and Lawrence Steinman was nothing if not a consummate snorer. Ted tapped once on the door, but there was no response. He shrugged and moved on to the kitchen.
The scent of bacon and assorted fried goodness hung heavy in the air. It was an old scent, a couple hours, he guessed, but it was still strong enough to set his stomach to grumbling in anticipation. There were two plates on the dining room table, two more in the sink, pans soaking in soapy water, glasses everywhere, but no food out. Ted went to the refrigerator, saw three sticky notes in bright colors on its shining metal surface.
Madison and I went to the lake. Back for dinner!
and underneath it:
Theodore Roosevelt and/or Anna Banana
went to go investigate the “sacrificial altar” kore wouldn’t shut up about. the girls made breakfast, so there’s leftovers in the fridge. pull out the ground beef in the freezer so we can have burgers tonight por favor. hugs and kisses!
and underneath that:
This Is Just To Say
I have left you
these other notes
that our friends
because they are
this joke was too funny
to pass up
– A Dog
Ted looked at the notes, reread them in order. “My friends are fucking ridiculous,” he said to the empty kitchen. He took its silence as agreement, and he opened the fridge. There was a mountain of eggs, a decent scoop of fried potatoes, and a few strips of bacon in the fridge, each in their own containers. It didn’t bother him that no one had made a plate for him. He had, after all, spent most of his life taking care of himself, and he didn’t need anyone serving him. But it did seem silly or short-sighted to expect there to be leftovers after four people and then a soon-to-be-professional football player got at the food. Honestly, he’d once seen one of the linemen eat a two-pound cheeseburger, a plate of French fries, and a chocolate shake for lunch. Granted, that had been more to show off than out of genuine hunger, but still.
Ted paced himself as he ate, making a cup of coffee and drinking that, then drinking a glass of orange juice when the desire for something sweet struck him halfway through the plate. Someone had left a book on the table, The Bell Jar, and he flipped to a section in the middle and read without any context. It seemed to be a bout a depressed woman who worked at a magazine, but the publication date was from the 60s, and that seemed about thirty years too early for depressed people to start writing books whingeing about jobs that some poor bastard bored out of his mind in a stockroom would kill for.
I guess no matter what era it is, most folks feel like they got screwed out of something that should have been theirs. Even if it’s just basic happiness.
Especially if it’s just happiness.
Once his food had settled to the point where he was confident he could run a couple of miles without having to stop to vomit on the side of a trail, Ted took up a pen and sticky note, and added to the manuscript on the refrigerator.
Went for a run around the lake. You’re all frigging ridiculous. Like cartoons.
He nodded, pleased with his eloquence. “Perfect.” And with that, he stepped out the backdoor and into the early afternoon sun.
Word Count this Post: 1,237
Total Word Count: 18,493/50,000