Lying head on the table. I could hear the scratching of a pen on paper, the regular clink and thud of a glass being lifted and put down again. I watched an ant struggle in spilled water. The background chatter of conversation and the occasional clatter of cutlery on china came in broken waves, part drowned out in sine-wave interference. An occasional shouted order behind the counter.
I’d actually been in a good mood when I’d decided to kill myself. It had seemed like a sort of groovy idea at the time. I’d sat there with the hosepipe through the car window and the engine on, singing Beautiful Sunday to myself, humming the bits I couldn’t remember, while the car filled with exhaust fumes.
Then I sneezed violently and a ball of bad thoughts flew out of my nose. I thought ‘Fuck this,’ got out of the car and went to find the closest bar. Then memory sort of fades, but for disturbing and vague dreams and visions: a big toe splits open and peels away revealing an eye which blinks and surveys the room...
Now somewhere, depressed and wretched, head on a restaurant table. But where? I wasn’t interested in finding out.
A hand appeared, hesitated, wiped away the spilt water and the ant with what looked like a wet kitten, disappeared. Uncertain pause. Then a voice, inquiring, perfunctory, unconcerned.
‘Are you alright, sir?’
Carefully now. This is the genius of the madman; like a chessmaster, my mind flicked through all the responses open to me and possible reactions thereto. What was the bare minimum I needed to say to make him leave me alone?
‘Yeah. Fine. Another one, please.’
realgem: the story finally continues, or what?