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Excerpt from

Malcolm Gets Fired
by
Doug Draime

Rain was the only thing Malcolm was aware of, pounding in huge drops upon the tin roof. The only thing, that is, aside from his aching head, and a sense that he wasn’t quite sure of where he was. A quick reconstruction of the night before. Julia! This was Julia’s trailer in back of her sister’s house. He looked around for his jeans, saw them hanging neatly over an oak straight-back chair in the corner. He got up and put them on, searched the small refrigerator for beer, soda, juice, anything to wash away the nasty taste in his mouth. Julia came in carrying an armload of books.

“You’re up. Good,” she said.

Malcolm found a quart of Tropicana orange juice and took a huge gulp. It had stopped raining and the morning sunlight was streaming in the door, the sun’s rays glistening on her light brown hair. He slipped his hand up under her T-shirt and ran his thumb across her right nipple. She moved closer into him, he could feel the warmth of her crotch grinding into his leg. They kissed, then she gave him a little peck on his chest before she slowly moved away. She walked to the refrigerator where she got out some eggs, bread and bacon, laid six thin strips in a pan and broke four eggs into a bowl.

“You were totally wasted last night,” she said, as Malcolm started to search his pants for money. He found a wad of bills in one pocket and some change in the other, thirteen bucks in all. Other memories from last night were returning. Yes, he was fairly certain he was fired from the band. Or was it some bizarre nightmare? He should’ve had more money. Julia was putting bread into the toaster and humming.

“Do you always get that fucked up? I mean, I drink, but man I’ve never been that drunk since I was 16,” she said, looking back over her shoulder at him.

It was a direct question and Malcolm sensed no game. He sat down on the end of the bed and reached for the telephone.

“I drink sometimes, yeah. Sometimes to excess, by other people’s standards,” he said. His eyes felt like they were on his cheeks, bleeding down his face, and his bowels were one thundering sharp pain.

Malcolm told Julia he had to call Cliff. She said breakfast would be ready in a few minutes. He dialed Cliff’s number.

“Hello.”

“Hey Cliff, it’s Malcolm.”

There was a long pause and Cliff’s heavy breathing.

“Yeah, what do ya want, Malcolm?”

His head was in a vice and his thoughts were mush. Still trying to piece together the night before. It was coming back to him where he met Julia. At the Palm Club, dancing with her sister and some guy. But no focus or light on what happened before that. But Malcolm knew he’d been fired. He remembered words being screamed at him as he was lying somewhere. He thought it might have been the middle of the street. Someone was standing over him, yelling. Cliff. It had been Cliff. Things were coming back. Someone, a small man, helping him up and hot coffee. Malcolm’s head hurt worse when he tried to remember more. A near total blackout.

“Look, Malcolm, you’re one of the best fucking drummers around, but I can’t afford you breaking up another bar that we’re playing in,” Cliff said. Malcolm said nothing.

“You can pick up your split from Jerry, seventy-five coming out for the glass, the three broken bottles, and Ricki’s skirt. That leaves you with fifty bucks,” Cliff said, pausing again. “Hey, you still there, man?”

“Yeah, barely,” Malcolm answered.


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