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"Wake up, motherfucker!"

Clive was kicking the back of my left shoulder, hardly the sensitive type. My response was minimal, merely a groan to indicate that I was alive. I was mostly naked, still wearing my socks and dead to the world, entangled with the bodies of two mutually disrobed women in their early twenties, both brunettes, both also wearing their socks. We lay sprawled and unfolded like skin-toned dirty laundry. Clive’s kicking was just hard enough for me to confuse it for an enemy in my dreams, but not enough to pull me from my head trip and thrust me back into the arctic bough of the real world. He kicked again, a little harder this time, arousing the taste of metal on my tongue.

“Jake! Wake up!” he said in his signature thick and charred baritone.

Clive is my roommate and best friend—a most dependable cohort in the mastery of self-destruction. There is no gathering we can’t pump full of mayhem, like a two-headed syringe of Deca Durabolin thrust into the veins of the willing and the unwilling, a natural progression of events.

There’s some recollection as to what transpired at the blastoff of the eventide, some scattered mental pictures in the middle, followed by an avalanche of void that fell in line with the sun’s cascade—most likely some counterintuitive combination of beauty and calamity. But let me back up a bit.

Next Chapter: 7:01 PM - August 13