I stand outside. New years day, Saint Petersburg. The air is cold and smells of burnt matches. I have a red-bull, open. A bag of chips.
My whole body is moist and heavy. Except my eyes and throat. Dry. So dry. As though my eyes turned to bags of sand in the night, and then, I ate them.
On mornings like this, I have a routine. I open my phone. I ask the internet for hangover cures. And it always tells me the same thing. “Don’t drink.” Yet, for years I’ve done this in the hopes of waking up one day to find the internet has changed it’s mind.
I smoke a cigarette. I finish the red-bull. I sigh. At least the sun is being polite.
M is still asleep. He came home around nine in the morning. I look in on him. He’s dead, per usual. I take the water of life from the fridge. I mix it with some coffee. I drink a tea.
When the coffee cools I take it to M’s room. I pour it down his limp throat. He starts, coughs, groans.
“My legs!” he cries. He groans again.
I look at his legs. “They’re there,” I tell him, comfortingly.
He looks down at his legs. “Ouch,” he says, looking back up at me.
“What happened to your legs?”
He moans. “I ran home?”
“I ran home.”
“Yeah, I heard you. But, what?”
“What do you mean what?”
“I mean what, like, what did you do that for?”
M rolls over and puts his face in the pillow. He mumbles something.
“Huh?” I frown. He rolls back.
“Robbers,” he says.
“What? What do you mean robbers?”
“Robbers, like the guys who rob you.”
“Yeah, I know what robbers are. Someone tried to rob you?”
“No, no, no.”
“Then why did you run?”
“So they would’t try and rob me.”
I stare down at him. I wonder if my hangover is altering my mental state.
“What do you mean?”
“Well,” he tests his dry mouth, opening and closing it slowly. His jaw cracks. He frowns, “if I’m running, they can’t get me. I mean, like, if you were a robber, would you try to rob the guy running down the street? You’d have to be a pret–pretty determined robber.”
I think about it. My brain starts eating itself. I stop thinking. “Are you getting up?”
He flops his head back and forth on the pillow. He manages an “uh-uh”