The Mourning After



Suggested Audio Candy:


[1] The Police “Roxanne”

[2] Henry Mancini “The Pink Panther”

[3] The Village People “Y.M.C.A.”


Roxy was used to waking up in all manner of strange places. Excessive alcohol was never something she was particularly adept at handling and sound judgement something which tended to dissipate by around the fourth or fifth shot. She had awakened previously on park benches, in dumpsters and, one fateful night after a dozen too many fireballs, inside a crate bound for Bolivia. It wasn’t that alcohol didn’t agree with her; rather that it agreed a little too much. Willpower wasn’t her strongest suite and neither was restraint. This morning she had come to in a completely alien environment and without the vaguest clue as to how she had arrived there. The party had started like any other new year’s eve bash; with Yager bombs and tequila shots making up the early exchanges. As the alcohol began to flow with more regularity, so Roxy’s resolve faded along with any recollections and the next thing she realized she was in bed with a pantomime horse and sporting a thumping headache.


It looked like she had acquired the top end of the pony as her bed fellow looked like he was recreating a scene from Godfather Part II. He was still fast asleep and she considered this a blessing as she didn’t fancy becoming known as some sort of sexual equestrian. Her reputation had taken many a knock prior to this debacle; from losing her virginity to a Brooklyn street sweeper to taking on the cast of an off-Broadway production of Snow White & The Seven Dwarves single-handedly, less than a month later. One thing was almost consistent; she would drink profusely until which point as anything was fair game and the evening would end in one compromising position or another, often with farmyard animals in the vicinity. But never once before had she awoken facing a stallion. Any attempts at jogging her memory were proving fruitless although she did vaguely remember hooking up with a man-sized badger before it all went hazy.


That was right; it was a fancy dress party thrown by her friend Lindy. Roxy felt relieved that she probably wasn’t the only person waking up right now next to wildlife. As she recalled, Lindy had been getting on famously with a pot-bellied pig and who knows where that would have concluded. However, she didn’t relish making uncomfortable conversation with the famous Mister Ed, regardless of how delicious his full English breakfast was. Damage limitation commenced immediately as she began scouting the room for clues as to where her clothes had been discarded. Her panties were in the middle of the floor, next to her dress, her clutch bag was over by the window, and one of her stilettos by the front entrance. Now to locate its opposite number and it appeared that shoe number two was nowhere to be seen. She sat up in the bed, mindful of waking the passed out Seabiscuit, and instantly the blood rushed straight back to her head. Hangovers were no great surprise to Roxy but that didn’t make them any less uninviting. This one was a real doozy.


After a few moments of consolidating, she leaned across her stablemate to ascertain the time. 10.15. Time was evidently of the essence as he would invariably soon begin stirring, so she surreptitiously slid back the sheets and gently levered herself forth. That confirmed the whereabouts of the second stiletto as she was still wearing it. Now she just had to gather the rest of her belongings with the minimum of fuss and let herself out before the obligatory steward’s inquiry commenced. She could do that later, in a coffee shop on fourth, while she stared into a black coffee piecing together the fragments of another misplaced evening in New York. Now wasn’t the time for investigation, just fleet-footed escape. Her already questionable reputation would not withstand this latest revelation; Roxy would become known as The Horse Whisperer and it would likely result in social leprosy for the foreseeable.


She had been in the dock before after a night of White Rum excess culminated in her table dancing to Y.M.C.A. with her panties around her knees in front of her horrified family. Her lecherous Uncle Colin wasn’t fazed by her impromptu display but her six year-old niece, on the other hand, posed her older sister some rather uncomfortable questions afterwards and Roxy hadn’t been invited to any subsequent gatherings as a direct result of her indiscretion. If she played her cards right here; nobody would be any the wiser and ordinary services would resume. A quick visit to the sexual health clinic and potentially a little creme would see her good. If she got through this with dignity intact or at least lack of such undetected, then she would make herself a promise never to drink again. That should see her through to next payday at least. Next time she would simply pace herself; stop herself before things went too far. Like shit she would; the truth of the matter was that she would probably end up in the very same bed with the very same horse’s cross-section two weeks from now but she would jump that hurdle when she come to it. She comforted herself with the 50/50 chance that next time maybe she’d get the back-end of the mule.


As she staggered to gather her underwear, a swift bout of nausea hit her in the back of her throat and last night’s kebab made a reappearance. What was it about a skinful of alcohol which made trash food so appealing? The answer was irrelevant right now and what was more pressing was the fact that she had just vomited undigested lamb into the gusset of her panties. Commando it was then; an endeavor made more precarious by the length of her dress. It hardly covered her pear-shaped ass at the best of times and it had been at least three weeks since she’d mowed the lawn so to speak. To add additional salt to Roxy’s wounds, she was mid-cycle and didn’t relish being mistaken for a party popper on account of visible tampon tassels. She glanced around her surroundings and was relieved to spot a roll of sellotape on the dresser. This would both reinstate her liberty and offer a free waxing back at her apartment. Unfortunately, sellotape isn’t the most ambiguous of temporary adhesives and the sound began to rouse a certain somebody back in the paddock.

Stroking his mane appeared to work a treat and he rolled over with a snort and the release of a little trapped wind, much to Roxy’s relief. Once satisfied that she had weathered the storm, she finished off securing her genitals and waddled over to reclaim that elusive second heel. Broken; wouldn’t you know it? It was a six-incher which, given her current ominous posturing and light head, would make it dicey descending the twelve flight stairwell which lay ahead. She would need to level the playing field or walk barefoot and the verucca on the pad of her left foot would have something to say about that one. Another quick reconnaissance mission revealed a hack saw in the kitchen by the toaster. Quite why there was a hack saw in the kitchen by the toaster was another question for another day; what was more important was that it presented her only opportunity for a hasty retreat. She tiptoed across the roughly strewn pile of linen and, just as she thought she had made it across the makeshift battlefield, Roxy was betrayed by an almighty parp. Who, in their right mind or even their wrong one, leaves a bicycle horn laying about anyhoots? Fuck sake; could the girl not shit a break?


To her utter astonishment, he didn’t stir. Careful not to walk into any wayward cymbals or discarded banana skins, she grabbed the hack saw and began to remove the other heel as delicately as she possibly could. Just as she prepared for “timber” the alarm clock sprung into action beside the sleeping nag and she lunged across to stifle the chime before her game was up. Slipping on a slither of freshly spewed kebab meat wasn’t something she had allowed for and she tumbled headlong, bouncing off the foot of the bed and landing spreadeagled across the floor. The sellotape relinquished its grip for added indignity and provided Roxy with a breathtaking waxing in the process. She let out a controlled yelp and covered her mouth in desperation, mascara streaming down both cheeks as her projectile tampon shot conveniently into a pitcher’s glove a few yards away. Finally some good fortune; for all her shame at least she’d done Babe Ruth proud.


Roxy was beginning to ponder whether she had been culpable of some heinous crime in a past life or had walked beneath a ladder en route to last night’s party. However the fact remained that, despite pratfalls too numerous to count, she was still only a few feet away from fleeing the scene unscathed. This guy was some heavy sleeper; even his alarm call hadn’t managed to banish those sleep pixies. She decisively hit snooze and retrieved her faulty footwear from the kitchen without further incident, straightened her dress, and decided to take the rest of the sellotape roll with her rather than try her luck any further. As she reached the doorway, a most unwelcome thought entered her head and her heart dropped to the pit of her stomach. Keys and phone. Shit! She frantically emptied out the contents of her clutch bag and this confirmed that her plight was far from over. Moreover, she hadn’t the faintest inkling where they could possibly be.


Roxy began searching high and low; leaving no stone unturned in her effort to relocate her essentials. She was more than prepared to leave without her heels or indeed an ounce of self-respect but not without her keys or phone. Where could she have left them? How much liquor had she actually consumed the night before to enable her to take leave of her senses in such a way? She was running out of options fast when suddenly saved by the bell. Her cell chimed out from the bathroom and she lamented not yet having changed her ringtone from the Village People as even more painful memories came flooding straight back.


That solved the riddle of the phone but what of her keys? As a second surge of bile rose in her gullet, she threw herself over the toilet and plunged two fingers down her throat to speed up the process. There they were; although it was unfortunate that she only spotted her keys in the bowl at the precise moment she alleviated herself of the remainder of that pesky kebab. Reaching into the freshly decorated pan, she retrieved her key chain and gave it a buff on the nearest available hand towel. Now she was all set; ready to make her escape with inventory intact. All that remained were several steps although she wasn’t taking anything for granted this time as her balance was currently that of a newborn fawn and had already had her teetering on the brink of capture. Every movement counted; she slid across the boudoir like a cagey chess pawn, one shuffle at a time until which point as she clutched that door handle.


Roxy rued the man’s choice of shag-pile carpet as her labored shuffle, coupled with static electricity from the brass doorknob, incited an electric shock which caused her to lose any remaining footing. There was that bicycle horn again; this time beneath her right butt cheek with her legs akimbo above her head.



Her bedfellow was clearly still in character and had finally begun to stir. Roxy held herself precariously in position, terrified of making another move, as she would have some considerable explaining to do if he came around. After a few moments, it fell silent again. A quick peek revealed that he had returned to slumber but the fact that he had now started to snore confirmed her arrival in last chance saloon. It was all still to play for, albeit now with raised stakes. Moreover, the door was now wide open and she could hear the mid morning congestion in the street at ground level. Standing was proving an insurmountable task so she dragged herself along like a crippled otter; past her puke-sodden panties and towards the light. Now seemed like a most inconvenient time to suffer a stroke but, given the events of the past ten minutes, Roxy should have seen it coming. Paralysis down one side of her body slowed her progress considerably but eventually she made it to the door, leaving a trail of drool in her wake.


Then, just as she belly-flopped onto the first of one hundred and forty-four steps, it all came flooding back. That guy from last night in the horse’s attire was Ken and she had crushed on him for as long as she could remember. She recalled thanking her lucky stars for bagging such a thoroughbred mare and had vowed to hold onto this one at whatever cost. With cruel irony ringing in her ears, she about-faced and dragged her weary body back into bed alongside him. She figured that, for the time being, she would allow him to continue sleeping; at least until the feeling returned to the left side of her face and she ceased resembling the Toxic Avenger. Nobody wants to wake to that; even horses have standards.



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