The day started like any other. The usual shaft of light beaming through the crack in the curtain and the shrill constant beeping of next door’s alarm clock scratching at the walls. Christ, the only thing missing from this picture was the dustman reversing down the road clattering the green plastic tops of wheelie-bins like a rejected cast member of Stomp wreaking revenge on the sleepy town of Bromley.
It had been 3 months since I’d left the favelas of Sao Paulo, and with New Jersey seemingly closed off to me, I’d packed my pockets and set off for the sunny south-east of England; I figured that at least here I’d be free from the streets of bullets, grime, and crime. How wrong I was.
As I swung my legs out of bed and sat up, I noticed something odd. Well, odd to any normal person, to me it had just simply happened again. I stood up, the creases running rampant in the clothes I’d slept in, and swallowed a lungful of air. The alarm. It was still beeping. For all the good it would do I banged on the wall. Unsurprisingly the alarm kept going, so I decided it was time to get up, have a cup of tea, and think about leaving the house.
The kitchen was dark. The dull hum of the refrigerator the only sign of life alongside the stale chemical smell of empty cans of energy drink that hung in the air like a re-used birthday banner. I shuffled forward with all the motivation of a 14 year old science nerd getting changed for PE. I knew I was going to stub my toe, it was simply a matter of when.
The kettle. I filled it with water and flicked the switch. It bubbled to life a lot quicker than I’d ever managed to do, and as it did I reached for the teabags. One left. Hell, maybe it was going to be my lucky day after all. The water was reaching a crescendo. The raging liquid spat and frothed, shouting at me that it was time to pour.
As I stood waiting for the tea to infuse I listened to the fridge seemingly getting louder, like the propellers of a chopper hovering in a LZ. My mind wandered. The running, the gun fire, the sound of an approaching chopper. The sight of a way out. The thought of that bastard leaving me in the shit after all I’d done for him…
I looked down. The tea was starting to stew. I looked around for a spoon only to be disappointed with the lack of tea stirring cutlery in this shitty apartment. The only visible alternative was a jam streaked knife. It would do. With a flick of the knife, the bag went flying across the darkened kitchen and landed in the sink. Score one for, Max Payne. Only one thing was missing. Milk.
I stepped towards the Mark 1 apache refrigeration unit and opened the door. The bright white light flooded the kitchen. The stench of some moldy cheese was the first thing to climb up my nostrils and use my nose hair as a rope swing, closely followed by the eye watering sight of some furry ham. My eyes darted around the fridge looking for something resembling cow juice. Nothing. Shit.
The door! Max you dick, the milk is always in the door.
I looked to the right and reached across in anticipation, a milk bottle smiling back at me, there was clearly enough for a man sized cup of tea.
Oh yes, it was going to be a good day.
My fingers curled around the edges of the bottle and I lifted that sucker out of the door. In any other decent person’s story, that would be it. Tea made and on with the day. But not me. Not a chance. That would be too easy.
As I turned towards the mug, bottle in hand, the slippery bastard leapt from my grip. I watched as the glass smashed around my feet in slow motion, a mix of milky white and crimson red as the shards tore at my fleshy foot fingers.
This, I concluded, was my life.