She woke up in the chair to the sound of him retching in the bathroom behind the sound of the shower running. It had gotten dark. She stood up and went to the door and put her head against it.
“Hey, you okay in there, soldier?” she said
“Yeah babe, peachy keen.” he said
“You need anything?”
“Candy bar and a shot of whiskey.” he said, “Just leave em out there, I'll get it in a second.”
She went to the table and dug through the paper bag marked Rexall. She hollered back to him.
“You want another Snickers?”
“Three Musketeers, please.” he said, voice muffled slightly.
She got it out of the bag, grabbed the bottle on the way back to the sink counter outside the bathroom door and looked at herself in the mirror. She looked better rested. The swelling had almost gone away entirely. The fuzz sprouting on her head made her look slightly less severe, she thought.
“You've done this before, I take it.” she said
“Well, two cowboys got me clean one time this way. I was holed up in a place outside Oklahoma City called the Roadhouse. Somebody must have called em. Never got their names. The other time was at rehab and I don't remember so well.”
“Rehab. Great.” she said and shook her head. She peeled the plastic off the complimentary glass, set it down and poured two fingers. “You want ice?”
“Naw. Hot please.”
She went and sat on the bed, reached over and turned on the television. It took a second to warm and finally came on black and white. Mr. Rodgers had just come in singing and was busy with the process of changing his shoes and sweater. “Sure. Why not.” she said to herself.
Billie Joe had crawled out of the shower just long enough to throw up and, having accomplished this monumental feat, crawled back into the warmth and curled up in a ball on the porcelain. The stream pelted him along one side. He was shaking all over. Trembling, he thought, like what? Like a man about to go into shock from the D.T.s. He couldn't remember if he left the door unlocked in case she needed to get to him. He realized he had no idea where the closest hospital was. The panic started to rise again and he forced it back down. Focus on the agony, he told himself, it was familiar. Anguish he could handle. Selene's smiling face, that he'd never see again. Tears.Yes, that was more like it. Kissing her fluttering stomach in a shower not unlike this one. The taste of salt mixed with the water flowing in streams down her. Yes, cry, he told himself. Cry, you stupid fuck.
His head swum in the heat. What was it, the black girl called him? Soldier? He was a soldier on a beach. Where? Outside Troy. The water beating down on him was rain, no, a volley of arrows. Pierced a thousand times. Each one was a blessing. He thanked God for these gifts, and writhed in agony.