‘Oh, for fuck’s sake!’ said Richard Sanderson.
He was soaked in crimson and a sharp, knife-edged pain sliced through the back of his neck. He twisted himself upright, looking around for a horse’s head.
The bottle of red wine that he’d fallen asleep clutching like a Teddy Bear fell to the ground, spilling what remained of its contents across the fluffy white rug. He rubbed the back of his neck and stretched. He was feeling more than a little worse for wear – and kipping on the basement sofa hadn’t exactly helped his New Year’s Day hangover a great deal, either.
He picked up his red Gretsch guitar and put it back in its case, then propped it against a box of old twelve inch singles. Televisions’ ‘Marquee Moon’ – in green vinyl – was out of its sleeve and he slipped it back in and then carefully put it back into the box. Alphabetically.
He couldn’t remember playing the guitar at all. It wasn’t something he did that much, these days, but he could see blisters on his fingertips.
Moving like an arthritic Robocop, Richard trudged up the stairs from his basement office to the living room. He went to the window and peeled back the blinds. Outside, the tree-lined suburban street was deserted.
After a few minutes, Richard heard the squeak of wheels and saw Batty Betty pushing her shopping trolley full of broken dolls toward the graffiti stained Ford Granada where she lived. In the distance, a constellation of streetlamps and a galaxy of Christmas decorations trailed Chiswick High Road and faded towards Hammersmith. He walked upstairs and into the migraine bright bathroom and turned the shower on as hot as possible.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!