(NSFW – Language) I had this dream last night. Real trippy shit. Cotton balls. First, I thought it was because I went to bed drunk again, but then I remembered I hadn’t had a drink or a drug for close to seven months. So I chalked it up to too much television. You know, the standby excuse for all bad things is always too much television.
I thought it was a dream until I woke up to the silent dancing of flashing red lights. I don’t live in Las Vegas, so I knew it wasn’t a two for one special at Whores and Spores – Barbie’s Bouncy House.
It was a fire truck, two police cars and an unmarked.
I grabbed my pants off the floor, walked over to the window while putting them on feeling like some suave, g-money gigolo, but a glance in the mirror at my doughy, bulbous body and crop circle bald spot yanked me back to reality.
After I stumbled to the bathroom, images resurfaced in my foggy brain about last night as I reached for some aspirin and stuck my face under the faucet to wash them down my parched throat that felt like a cactus riding a cheese grater. I can’t say I’ve ever experienced anything like that, but I was damn sure it was close to what was going on inside my gullet.
As I peeked through the blinds, I flashed back to the bar – I’m on the nine-ball league – and there was this dude there from a different team (he was way more bulbous than me) and I remembered everyone not liking this guy.
It turned out he was my neighbor and I asked him, “What house is yours?” after we found out we lived on the same street.
He answered, “Legit, the one with all the Marigolds in the yard.”
I felt my face change after he said that. I said, “Oh, you’re the one with the stinky flower fetish.”
And he just looked at me and took his shot on the table. Five ball, side pocket.
“Yeah, it keeps nosy fuckers away from my windows. Legit, I got some mouse traps buried in there, too. I feel like I can tell you that ‘cause you seem like an asshole, like me.”
“Who you calling an asshole, asshole? And why are you on the other team if you live on my street?”
“I legit just moved,” he answered and chugged his beer like some 80’s punk in an afterschool special.
He missed his next shot and then I ran the table on him.
Ran it until I got to that shiny black eight ball, or it could be a white and powdery eight ball, but in this case, it was black and shiny. Legit.
“You wanna wager a wager?” He asked as he whistled for the barmaid to bring him a shot of Christian Brothers.
“Uh, sure,” I answered with about as much enthusiasm as a neutered dog at a dog park.
He snickered and threw back his shot. “Ah,” he said and smacked his lips. “Twenty bucks on the nine off the eight ball. You gotta legit call it and bank it at least two times.” Bang. Shot glass on the bar. Another whistle. Another fill ‘er up. I noticed the barmaid with her crinkled nose and curled upper lip.
She didn’t like him either.
“Seems fair,” I said and chalked my cue. I measured with my stick; the angles; the warps in the felt on the table. A song by Chicago came on the jukebox as I called the rails and the pocket, leaned down and drew back to take the shot.
“Wait!” he yelled and motioned for another beer. I flubbed on the shot and came within a hair of hitting the cue ball. “Sorry. Continue.” He laughed.
Son of a bitch.
After I lost twenty bucks, I called it a night and walked home. The key was in the front door when I heard an incessant buzzing like a nectar drunk gnat behind me.
It was my neighbor. Bzzzz.
That’s all I remember.
Now, the street is a blinky crimson and I’m peeking out the blinds like a paranoid crackhead.
What the hell happened? And what is with all the cotton balls on my floor?
My bedroom floor – usually caked with dirty clothes and semi-clean socks – was blanketed with cotton balls.
“What the – ” before I could finish, my doorbell rang.
Another peek through the blinds revealed two detectives on my front lawn.
“Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. What the hell did I do?” I ran down the stairs to open the door and waded through a sea of cotton balls in my living room.
“Hi!” I beamed too enthusiastically trying to block the view of cotton balls.
“Sir, we’re gonna cut to the quick on this one. Your neighbor was found dead on his front lawn this morning. Someone stuffed about five hundred cotton balls down his throat, and well, they stuck cotton in all his orifices.”
“I’m sorry?” I heard him. I had to hear it again.
“You heard me. Someone shoved cotton up your neighbor’s ass. We think it was you. We heard he was an annoying son of a bitch who never shut the hell up. Is that accurate?”
“Yes. He was a prick.” I thought of my dream. The cotton balls, the blood, the guy who wouldn’t shut the fuck up.
“Sir, that was some evil shit you did,” the officer said and slapped me on the back. “The neighbors want to thank you.”
There was some faint clapping across the street.
“Good job!” Someone yelled.
“The guy apparently was a real asshole,” he continued and handed me a piece of paper.
“What’s this?” I asked.
“A citation for littering,” he said.
I said, “Is this a joke?”
“Have a nice day, sir.”
I closed the door behind me and pinched myself. What was I going to do with the rest of these cotton balls?
This story is a response to the Flash Fiction Challenge via Chuck Wendig’s blog: http://terribleminds.com/