Chapter 1

The pounding on the door wakes me. I lay in bed listening to the pattern and strength behind each slam. There's not enough anger behind them for it to be someone I owe money to. I'm glad I invested the rent money in a new deadbolt. That fucking excuse for a landlord isn't getting his money til I can get a decent hot shower. Moving in and out of my apartment through the fire escape is more of my style anyway. Sounds like my visitor is getting tired, or his fist is getting sore. He'll fuck off in a minute or two.

I sit up to survey my sanctuary. Damn. Same shithole I left behind before blacking out with my friend JD. "Casa de la Mierda" for those lucky enough to receive the grand tour. Garbage overflowing its containment. Dishes piled in the sink and broken fragments strewn across the floor. My lovely couch has a spring protruding from the back cushion that provides me with free acupuncture. I'm a firm believer in clearing my chakras regularly.

My left hand is still clutching my phone. I only made one call I don't remember. Guess I'm improving a little. I wish I had an idea of what the messages contained in the voicemails I leave for her. You can only record thirty to sixty seconds, on average before they cut you off, and this call was... Ten minutes. Fuck me. Hopefully I got to the heart of the matter early on and just rambled through the rest.

How nice, a manilla envelope slid under my door. What could it be? A summons? An eviction notice? Another guy/gal wanting me to tail his/her whore of a wife/husband? So many possibilities and so little desire to open it. The possibility of work and life is much to real to think about right now. If I start dwelling on it too much I'll...

Goddamn it. The next wave of pounding has begun to echo inside my head. The hangover has taken root and any chance of falling back to sleep is shot out the window. Whoa, would you look at that. My window's shot out. I thought it was a little draftier than usual this afternoon. Just another addition to the many fine examples in this apartment of my contempt for fine living. Guess I tried crawling through the wrong window last night. Impatience is one of my defining characteristics.

At least the pounding in my head keeps me aware of the condition of my heart. Strong beat. Good rhythm. Still broken. I'm glad my liver can't communicate with me in the same way. If it could, it would probably feel a lot like a machine gun with an unlimited ammo clip being unloaded into my gut at point-blank range as it yells obscenities at me over the roaring blasts. Enough of that though, my bladder is screaming out in mercy for release.

As I make my way over to the bathroom I hear some thunderous footsteps in the hallway growing louder. I pause at the door and so does the guy in the hall. I hear a number of sounds all at once, but it takes just a split second to know what they are. A large foot crushing against the center of a cheaply made door giving way heading right at my face.

"Oh fu-

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