“Hey Jimmy!” I call out, catching sight of a fella standing not too far away from me and vaguely hoping that his name was Jimmy. It isn’t, and I apologize thickly and stumble on past him as quickly as I can. Trying to ignore the funny looks I get from him and his friends. I’m not having much luck connecting with anyone these days. I don’t seem to have the hang of it any more. Anyone I see who I thought might know me invariably doesn’t, and doesn’t want to either. I am starting to feel quite weird about the whole thing, like I don’t really know what’s going on. What I’m doing wrong. As far as I can remember, walking up to someone and calling out “Hey Jimmy!” used to work at least some of the time…
Not these days though. These days my luck is out and it’s staying out. I’ve never felt so isolated, so disconnected from the world. My head aches from having fallen over last night. Not that I remember it, but when I came to this morning my hair was all matted at the back with dried blood. Or maybe someone hit me. I don’t know. It all comes down to the same thing in the end – a sore head.
I don’t feel at all good, I realize. My eyeballs are full of pain from the sunlight – everything seems too bright, too sharp to bear. My mouth tastes bad and my lips are cracked. I feel like throwing up. I feel like death warmed up. Warmed up once too many times.
At this point I’m seriously beginning to think that my legs are going to give way from under me. They seem to be getting all tangled up with each other. I can’t get them straight. There’s a roaring sound in my ears and my vision is fading away at the edges. “Fuck,” I think to myself, “I need a drink…”
Then the world suddenly starts receding away from me at a rate of knots. Blackness swallowing everything. Somehow I know that it’s all over for me. I know that this it. I know that my time is up. Game over. It’s funny how you know this, but believe me you do.
Then the blackness swallows me.
And then the next thing I know a strong voice rings out, a strangely familiar sounding voice. “Hey Pete!” the voice says.
I turn around to see a man walking towards me: medium height; cheap, thin imitation-leather jacket stretched over a bulky body; big belly under the tee-shirt; dark sun-glasses and bright orange hair. It takes me almost a full minute to register that it’s Jimmy!
The tears well up in my eyes and everything goes blurry. My voice shakes with emotion as I answer him. “Hey Jimmy man,” I croaked out eventually, “How are you doing? It’s been a long time…”