When I woke up at my hotel the next morning, I could hear the rain smashing against the window like a group of angry wood- peckers pecking at a tree. My eyes were still closed, and I imagined the massive storm going on outside. My head felt like a heavy bowling ball hitting all the pins at once.
Fuck you, whiskey: you and your delicious taste; you and your beautiful color. Fuck you. Afraid of the pain, I didn’t dare open my eyes—not yet. I decided to fall back asleep.
When I woke up again, I could feel the heat on my left cheek, feel the light through my eyelids. I slowly opened my left eye. The sun was shining straight on me through the window. I’d forgotten to close the blinds when I got back to the room the night before. I closed my eye. It felt like I had the sand of the entire Sahara in my mouth, and I craved water like a dying plant abandoned by its owner. I grabbed my silver watch from the nightstand and saw it was 9:53 a.m.
After a couple of seconds, I realized that I was late for my second day of work. I jumped out of bed, went to the bathroom, put my mouth under the tap like an animal, and drank until I almost choked. I splashed some cold water in my face and sprayed on some Armani cologne to get rid of the dirty bar scent.
My head was still a disaster. I took two aspirins, put on my pants, socks, and shoes, and grabbed a shirt from my suitcase before running to the elevator. It was out of order so I took the staircase down to the lobby and ran out on the street to hail a cab. The cabdriver looked at me like I was a crazy person when I jumped into his car shirtless. I put my shirt on and told him to stop fucking staring and start driving to SHOW.
“Eight to nineteen,” the driver said.
“Giants, they lost, eight to nineteen. Horrible game.”
We arrived outside the office at 10:11 a.m., and five minutes later I was in the conference room on the seventh floor. My NewSHOWers group, as SHOW called the cohorts of new employees, was listening to a guy wearing glasses and a black T-shirt with a pink rhino on it. I took a seat in the back row, like the cool kids in school always did—the kids that didn’t give a fuck and were out smoking cigarettes for most of class.
I bet they’re not as successful as I am now, idiots. They should have listened to their teachers. Now I had a swimming pool at the office, and they didn’t.
My eyes wandered around the room, and I didn’t really pay attention to the guy talking. There was still a rock concert going in my head; it felt like the drummer of Metallica was using my brain as his drum set.
A lot of familiar faces from the previous night were in the room. Some seemed like they had just gotten out from the bar, others like they’d slept in a ditch. Several people I remembered were not even there, though, so I guess I was not so bad for being late after all. I treated myself to the Snickers bar I’d grabbed in the lobby when I’d walked into the office. My conscience was clean.
The day continued in the same way as the previous one, with presentations and practical information. When it was over at five o’clock, I wandered back to my hotel.
By the time I got back to my room, my hangover had vanished. I found a small bottle of Jameson in the minibar and poured a glass. I fucking love you, whiskey. You and your beautiful color, you and your delicious taste—how you make me feel. I fucking love you. I even love the hangover. It gives me the feeling that things can only get better from now on.
I fell asleep on the bed with my clothes on to the tune of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man.”