v Hull (home) 3rd Jan 1970
Did I hear you say that there must be a catch
Will you walk away from a fool and his money
Come and get it - Badfinger - #4 Jan 70
The alarm clock woke him at 6am, its ring-a-ting-ting cutting through the frigid air in his attic bedroom and easing its way underneath the old satin covered eiderdown that he'd wrapped himself in through the night, shattered the dream of him and Rachel Welch on a table top in the tap room at the Cardigan Arms, dragged him from the depths of his slumber without so much as a "by your leave" it burst the sleep bubble and rudely dragged his senses into the new day that awaited cold and frozen outside.
"What the flamin hell..." the curse from inside the old bedquilt as a pyjama'd arm reached out and groped along the bedside table blindly trying to locate the bloody alarm clock and to stop its ear splitting ring, why the hell did he have to wind the bell up fully every night ?
The still awakening brain was not making too good a job of guiding the hand across the table to the jangling, jingling alarm clock and as each metallic ring etched itself into the brain, the brain discovered that its host's body had still not disposed of most of last nights Tetleys bitter which sat still fermenting in its hosts stomach, still producing acid that was now registering a burning signal to another part of the brain, the blood supply that had been diverted to the stomach overnight to deal with the removal of the massive amount of alchohol consumed had depleted the oxygen supply to other parts and hence the muscles that surrounded the brain outside his skull had tightened and now spasmed with every ring-a-ting of the alarm bell and he groaned out loud as the combined effects hit him in the barely concious part of his brain that screamed "bloody hangover", and while all this was registering another part of his brain received a signal from his nose that implored him to remove the eiderdown from his head before the sulphorous fumes processed overnight by his gut and expelled into the coccon in which he had wrapped himself, finally poisoned him.
The hand had found something on the table but before it could grip it properly it had knocked it onto the floor from where the glass of water bounced on the linoleum and spilled its contents all over the rag rug that had been liberated from his grandmothers house after she'd died.
The bells slowed and became less urgent as if they understood that he was now awake, their job was done and now they stopped altogether, the alarm spring totally unwound, and now the man could stop groping for the alarm button and concentrate on unravelling himself from the untidy pit of eiderdown and thin cotton sheets that had wrapped him and protected him from the freezing night like an egyptian mummy, and when he had finally managed to get both legs out of the sheets and gingerly placed both feet onto the lino, shuddering involuntarily from the cold shock, he had cursed again as levitating himself upright had swilled the contents of his stomach around and forced an acidic belch up from his stomach which hurt his throat and stank in his mouth like rotten flesh, why oh why did he do this to himself every Friday night ?
This was Saturday morning.
He didn't need to be up at 6am.
Force of habit made him wind up the alarm every night, force of habit and being idiot-drunk when he came in last night.
Still, no point in sitting here on the edge of the bed, belching, farting sulphur, may as well get up and have a fag and the first of several cups of tea, sweet tea this morning, sweet tea and toast to soak up the beer, some bacon fat would help too, and so he stood up carefully, holding one hand across his forehead to forestall the fresh painfull pumping of blood as the brain tried to kick into top gear to drive this wreck of a 20 year old body downsatirs for sustinence.
The low sloping ceiling of the attic bedroom caught him across the top of his scalp as he stood up because, despite the fact that he had slept in this room with his younger brother since he was born, his brain had not loaded that piece of information into the useable part of his memory this morning, being pre-occupied with keeping last nights ale in his stomach.
"Can't you be quiet .." his brothers muffled voice erupted from beneath his mountain of sheets, an eiderdown and his sheepskin coat, "I don't have work today.."
"No neither do bloody I" the man mumbled to no-one in particular.
He stumbles down the narrow staircase, so narrow that his shoulders touch the wall on both sides, to the first floor of the house where his parents bed room and the recently added inside toilet and bathroom stand crammed on a tiny landing, then down another narrow flight of stairs to the living room with its scullery off to the left, apart from the cellar the swift but clumbsy stagger downstairs achieved whilst holding his head in his hands had encompassed all of the rooms in the small back-to-back house in the short but steep cul-de-sac that was Lumley Mount.
In the scullery with the kettle bubbling away on a gas ring and a frying pan sizzling four slices of fatty bacon he hops from one foot to the other trying to stop his bare feet from freezing on contact to the lino. The inside of the scullery window is still patterned on the inside with frost apart from a small piece at the bottom of the window that the heat from the gas ring has started to thaw and he bends down to gaze through this at the outside world although he knows exactly what he will find as he'd walked back up Burley Hill from the Cardigan Arms in the frozen slush last night, sure enough the world outside is still frozen solid and will be for a few more weeks yet just as it had been since before christmas.