Merry merry king of the ____ is he.
Birdsong, Breakfast and Biliousness
By Sean Crawley
The kookaburras start up pre-dawn. Joyously boisterous and regular.
The alarm clock, turned off last spring, gathers dust on the bedside table next to a half read novel. Come winter its eerie green nocturnal glow will be switched on again. The bird chorus aligned to the seasons then of no use to those locked into rigid mechanised time.
Legs bend and sweep over sheets washed on Saturdays. Body rolls left, right, then rolls flat on back. Eyes rubbed with hands soft from a fifty hour office week. The ceiling comes into focus, every crack and peel imprinted on the morning mind map.
Kettle boiling and coffee jar opened; the aroma, the ritual, the hour, whatever it is, triggers the call to stool. The birdsong enters phase two. Butcher birds and magpies add melody and luscious tone.
Breakfast; the most important meal of the day. A mantra promoted by the landlords of enterprise who have stolen a decent lunch from the tenants of modern life.
Coffee, tomato juice, muesli with yoghurt, sliced banana and persimmon on top. The squeals of garbage truck bisect the week; it’s hump day. Tonight a small triumph can be celebrated – the thirty eighth this year.
Toast, eggs, halved tomato, quartered mushrooms, kidney’s sliced longitudinally and everything fried. Pretentious Paleo consciousness now permitting the indulgence of renal meat with impunity. More coffee, more toast; vegemite, peanut butter, plum jam, honey. In that order, half a slice for each condiment, food coma narrowly avoided. Breakfast; the most important meal of the day.
Ironing board pre-set in front of telly. Permanent press is a lie. Optimistic attempts at prepping five shirts on Sunday evening, thwarted by the 2pm biliousness that comes on as the weekend closes. A nausea only beer, wine, and spirits – last drinks please ladies and gentlemen – can abate. Mondays tolerable through self inflicted haze.
Fridays is sans-ironing. The new boss, hailed a millennial leader, insists for teamyness, that staff wear the undersized polyester polo shirts in the grey and green corporate branding, that she handed out on day one. The workers battling unacceptable mid sections now take their RDOs, sick days, compassionate leave, cultural leave, and moving home days, all on “casual” Fridays. HR have stuffed it up again.
The mirror and a swipe of the hand determine the need for shaving. Mondays it’s a no-brainer; the weekend fuzz must go. Tuesdays, never; a mostly undetectable rest from foam and blade. Wednesdays is touch and go.
When confidence runs high, a two day growth is worn as a mask of defiance. And it allows extra shower time. Opportunity for extended self gratification involving complicated fantasies with unlikely participants.
Mostly confidence is gone, like joy and freedom. In the haunting horror of humiliating defeat to the world at large, the razor nicks the bottom lip. Furious blood letting. A forest worth of toilet paper struggles against the flow. Brain moves toilet rolls from weekend shopping list to pick up on the way home. Shower makes matters worse, steam and futile attempts to get hard over the weather girl, key ingredients for non-coagulation.
Dressing in front of a suicide bombing and a cash give away, the irony is lost as blood drips onto freshly ironed shirt. Personal panic. Kidneys rumble in stomach. Iron takes a century to re-heat. The economy is growing too slow. The weather girl, useless in the shower, today predicts a heat wave.
Thursday’s shirt is confused but compliant. Bottom lip sucked into mouth for insurance.
A shoe lace breaks. It never rains but … Rip out lace, rethread leaving out bottom row of eyelets. Fumble with fingers to achieve a secure knot. Failure. Done too fast – left end is longer than the right – start again. The knot is stumpy and sure to untie, it will ruin the day. Everything ruins the day.
Slight regurgitation, taste of vegemite, and honey, and bread, and haemoglobin.
The boss, the bottom line, the budget, all impervious to the impermanence of shoe lace’s. Whiskers severed by the imperative of impression.
Out the door, running now. Punctuality prioritised.
Kookaburras laugh in a borer infested tree.