Simon frantically tore at the strip of tablets, some flew from the pack across the kitchen. He swallowed four. He would be able to think with four, he thought. At least he was sure it was four he had the last time he had a panic attack of this magnitude. He swilled them down with some water and began pacing up and down the kitchen wishing the Chlorpromazine to kick in quickly. He was supposed to take them daily, but they confused him and stopped him from working. The other tablets were worse, he had binned the rest, but the Chlorpromazine helped sometimes when he got hyper. Things hadn't gone to plan, things hadn't gone well at all. Nothing to gain by panic, he kept saying, pacing up and down, up and down. Start to work, nothing to gain, don't panic. He had escaped, that was the main thing, the dog had caused the problem, the old man exacerbated it, and he had lost his temper with the animal, lost his cool and struck out. All was not lost though, nothing to gain by panic, the situation was not dire, the pills were kicking in, he could feel their presence coursing through his veins, lowering his pulse, calming, dulling the dread, the panic was under control, he could think straight, he could think what to do now.
He took off his trousers, standing in dirty yellow boxer shorts, he inspected the damage, one leg was torn beyond repair, he could smell the fetid breath of the animal from the tear, or was that dried in liquefied intestines? They couldn't be repaired anyway, they would have to be binned, disposed off, can't be wearing potential evidence. He took a fresh pair of jeans from the bedroom wardrobe and put them on.
Could he keep Suzi now? That was the question. The coffee tin had burst open over the dog, but would anyone realise what it was that poured out? The dog may have eaten all the evidence, but bearing in mind it was a small dog, probably fairly well fed, it was doubtful. But would anyone even think the slurry that poured forth was human? The questions were coming thick and fast now as the medication was calming him. His surveillance of the alien had also lapsed today, because of events he wasn't watching as he was supposed to be. He had to analyse if that was somehow a deliberate act of evasion, or if it was merely down to the recent, and accidental circumstances, outwith his control. The best way was to take one question at a time, work it out, then move to the next, work it out, then all will be resolved one way or another.
So, could he keep Suzi now? He asked himself again. Was his job in fact threatened, had he been inept? He wandered through to the room where she lay. There was a yellowing tinge on her leathery skin now, he noticed, plus there was still a smell, despite his constant cleaning up and embalming. She was still beautiful though, despite her colour and the leathery effect. If he kept her, the gaping depression in her midriff would have to be stuffed with something to make up for the missing guts and stuff. He made a mental note to check on the lasting properties of foam rubber. She was anorexic in appearance on top of everything else. He felt a moment's disgust with her, was she worth the keeping? She was his experiment though, and he had come so far, and disposing of her and getting another at this stage would not be easy. The metal rods to make her work again would be the deciding factor, he determined. Next question. The consequences of the dog attack. Would anything to threaten him come from that? He was certainly seen and would be recognized again by a few of the people around him at the time, especially the old man, but what way would the disturbance be construed, supposing nothing came of the slurry spill? Slurry spill, he smiled at the alliteration and cautioned himself that was disrespectful, that particular slurry was at one time part of a living breathing creature. A beautiful living female person, a human doll, and she would be a human doll again, with his help, with his ingenuity and skill and dedication.
He was actually scared to go home, or back to the decrepit house he called home. More accurately he was scared to face Debbie, which was surprising to him at the moment, for just a few pints and whiskies back, he was fully prepared to sit down calmly with her, sort things out, promise to improve his behaviour, and begin to take their relationship seriously, put a bit more romance into the equation. It was amazing how quickly your perspective changes when alcohol in quantity is involved. He knew now he was too drunk to sit down and have a calm discussion with anyone, never mind when the subject of the discussion would mainly be on the topic of his regular alcohol consumption, or rather, the over-indulgence of such. It would be bad enough having to face Debbie in this state, never mind probably having to take on the entire household of student occupants - Jo was highly-strung, she could be a back-stabbing bitch, and had a fascist-like-control thing about hygiene, and as he was perhaps not too that way inclined, they rarely had a viewpoint that matched harmoniously. She was also best friends and study mate with Debbie which meant constant capitulation by him when they had a disagreement, just in case she upset his relationship with Debbie. The other house-mates were alright. Moira, she was ok, and always good for a short term loan, and she just liked a quiet life. Mostly sat contentedly in her room smoking or popping whatever drug came to hand, and let the rest of the world pass her by. Brian was like a musical Borg, always philosophizing about collective responsibility and how the household was a greater component then each individual, except that is, when it was his turn on the Rota to clean out the cluggie. Still, a wee word to Brian, and he may have him and Moira on side if it came to an eviction vote. He had been recently praising and encouraging Brian on his musical compositions, though the only thing it inspired in him was headaches. Amazing though how Brian could get a melody out of almost any old junk he could put 240 volts of electricity through.
He should maybe prepare himself for the worst, he thought, as the pint and whisky he'd ordered was placed before him. Although it was a retro step, his parents may put him up for a while before the nagging that drove him away in the first place began again in earnest, these occasional sojourns back home were usually welcomed by his mother, dreaded by his father, and put up with by his teenage sister, Sophie, who saw him both as a like-hearted ally against the overbearing parents, and a scourge for the sexual reaction he seemed to provoke on her female friends, although it was never encouraged from his side, despite some of them being delicious to look at.
That was being negative though, the worst possible scenario. He could perhaps take the advice of his new found friend, Dave. Now the guy was a zoomer, though he genuinely had a knack of leading you to believe some of that stuff he came out with, thought Ben. Alien indeed. But, in some sense, he showed a bit of wisdom, and he had a number to phone for a job that was available right now for the taking. Although being a security guard wasn't a career kind of thing, it may be a good enough stop-gap to allow him to remain living at the flat, and perhaps even improve his relationship with Debs, if she thought he was becoming a more responsible adult. He looked at the scrap of paper torn from the Glasgow Herald. Below Dave's translation of his message from home was scrawled a phone number. He looked at the phrase, 'Beware of strangers bearing gifts,' and rang the number.
Next instalment coming soon...
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