Dying

INTRODUCING, HIRAM LEE

Crawling out of the ass of Sunday, Hiram stood up out of bed and into Monday morning.  His stomach was still hardened from the night’s call that kept him drinking and dancing with women all howling out at the moon till the peak of sunrise.  The clothing he slept in was stale with heavy sweat of ladies he twirled around the bar room along with the other courageous men who worked up the nerve to follow.  Kentucky summers were expected to be as balmy and beautifully hung in the air with its thick humidity.  Most found this unbearable to walk through as they trolled the sidewalks of the city with their useless head rags and small fans, but the heat poured over his tongue like honey and if he could bite into it he would have and he prayed for its increase.  On nights like the one he braved and saw through to dawn, his prayers would be answered with blessings such as the cooling system in the tavern failing the building.  The dance floor would become wet with the forehead drip of the wildly spinning, all grinning and watered even warmer with whiskey, gin soaked and dizzy coaxing out the least inspired of moves.  Though in his moments of Jazz, Funk, the boom-bip beat and the free willing booze, the 9AM of morning was still coming and Monday would still own him as it always had for years.

Feet teetered naked on the gray carpet of his bedroom flat as he rubbed out the raw awakening stiffening over his eyelids like poured concrete.  His three sisters had all moved out of his parent’s home, but he had failed to do so until he turned twenty-three compared to when they all moved on at earlier ages.  The eldest was lifted out through marriage to an older man.  She lived in Ohio working as a manager in a high scale retail store where he believed only old, white, upper class yuppies shopped to feel rugged in their retro outdoors clothing and equipment purchases.  The youngest left for University out east and stayed in the dorms.  She studied the lives and the science that made up the mystery and discovery of the wildlife she had always sought after before she ever cussed, smoked reefer, or began to know men as women usually did at her age.  The middle sibling of the family left earlier than them all.  Also attending University only to quit the second year to find herself through the purpose of God, she surrendered to a chain of blue collar work, laboring and suffering as all tended to do in the long human struggle in the city.  Hiram had always found this to be the same in any town of the planet, but in its own way of toil.  In more experiences, beliefs and living chances than one, he and his middle sister were much alike.  However, Hiram was an Artist and had always known it in some way unrecognizable in his young age or as old as he was at twenty-three.

Pulling off the wrecked clothing from his body, he let his bronze collard button-up fall to the floor and followed it by unbuttoning his carpenter jeans wrinkling to his ankles.  On his way to the bathroom he hummed the shoulder-bouncing Kentucky tunes that still wrapped strong on ice in his brain.  He wobbled in his knees and reinforced his legs holding onto the bathroom doorframe.  With his face in the running water of the sink, he muscled down vomit making an attempt to escape after smelling the filth and mold building in the corners of the dead salmon-pink counter.  He was not a clean freak like his old man, nurtured in the characteristic by suffering the oppression of watching his mother working as a Southern Tennessee housemaid.  Providing, feeding, supporting and fending for four children was particularly difficult to achieve with a husband who knew multiple homes, dining tables and the beds of other town women.  Hiram hated cleaning.  He lived alone and he liked the fact.  Until the day came when the universe and God favored him for a fine woman to tour the bars with in long howling nights, to be slapped and kissed by, to come home to romance into bed and to bless him with children, Hiram lived alone and he liked the fact.

Exposed brick and wooden insulation of the small studio kept the place cooking.  Looking into the mirror he felt the beads of water baking on his cheek.  Good morning Hiram Lee, welcome to the rest of your life, he thought to himself as he turned for the shower handle starting the sequence.  Bathe, nod in and out of sleep on the bus to the nine-to-five maintenance job, then back in the bars by ten for the first pint.  The nightlife was for Hiram and all the weather that came with it strong or weak.  Nights were never worth wasting on sleep and the common practices of normal people with the gravitation toward the destruction of unbearable work and stagnant delectation for culture and art.  He stepped into the stream of water lightly giggling to himself over his wasted and purified state as he baptized his body for the new day.  Closing his eyes, he began to catalog where he laid out all the daily items he carted around, piled in his pockets before he turned out the light earlier that morning.  The small, black notebook he wrote in on the nightstand, the ring of keys he threw at the television screen laying at the foot of the entertainment center, the wad of singles and wallet soaked in beer, cigarette smoke and the perfume of lady hands on the head of the vinyl player.  He remembered everything and noted their importance.  Even though the days ran in and out of him ravenous and bearish, he ran with its stink and glory all the quicker.  If it wasn’t the living part that didn’t wash over him with the purpose everyone seemed to be losing themselves in searching for, it was going to be the hard fist clenching stop of his heart.

Sitting wet and wrapped in a towel, he let the Kentucky heat finish the job of drying his body while he sat back on the bed and counted the minutes down to when he would get dressed to head for the next bus downtown.