I awoke to the smell of frying plantains and the clacking of cutlery nearby. A bass drum played steady painful notes in my head, and the back of my tongue tasted funny. My brain nestled in a thick swirl of unknowing.
I rose from the furry cushion. The stench of stale vodka mixed with beer greeted me from the wet amoebic shape I had made with my dribble. Neither the cushion nor the weathered couch on which I lay was familiar.
Where the hell am I?
“Oh? You’re awake”, a voice said.
A heavyset man, late twenties at least, was standing at the door of what seemed to be the kitchenette in this small apartment. He had a knife in one hand and a plantain in the other. I had no idea who he was.
He smiled. “Breakfast in a minute.”
He disappeared into the kitchen as I sat there, trying to piece everything together.
What happened yesternight?
Slowly, it all came back.
Arriving at the small club with the band. Our combined rage when we realized there was no nearby hotel. The actual show; the modest crowd roaring. Myself on stage with the other three, hearing only mush as I struggled to keep time with the drums.
I remembered the after-party when we mingled with the crowd at the bar. The free flow of beer and spirits. The others exiting early, scores of young ladies attached to their arms for the umpteenth time since they hired me on tour after disposing of their mental drummer a year ago. No one fawned over me. No matter, I wasn’t into women anyway.
Then I had spotted –
Sunny. That’s his name. Sunny.
He’d been at the counter, exuding all signs that indicated our kind. I took to him quickly as he possessed physcially, things I loved in my men. It helped that he was a fellow drummer, so we chaffed a lot while I stared dreamily at his carmine lips. In my drunken haze at the night’s end, I didn’t turn down his offer to stay the night in his apartment. The thought of sleeping alone on the cold floor of the van gave further incentive to accept.
Too bad I only got the sofa for the night, I thought now, scanning the room.
I spied a photo album on the nearby stool and picked it up. A small container of pills fell over. I lunged to catch it and the album dropped, opening.
My eyes widened as I saw the pictures, and my puzzlement cleared instantly as the pieces came together in my head.
The sealed container of lithium pills for bipolar disorders in my hand. A passing statement the guys once made about how the dismissed drummer swore he would never be replaced. Six recent photos of my band in the opened album, all with my face cut out and replaced with Sunny’s.
I dashed to the door and pulled the handle. Locked.
I turned. Sunny was at the kitchen doorway again, a larger knife in his hand. This time, there was no plantain in the other.