The grey windowpane crowded with silvery rivets of water, occasional rivulets race slickly down. Having torn myself from the warm safety of my bed I stare at this only half-aware and less awake while the espresso machine hisses with pain at its burning lime-cramped pipes. Upstairs my blanket forlornly mourns my passing into life, into day, o! cooling funeral caul of sleep! Despair not for I shall return with much haste to your opiate swaddle! But first I must earn our sour shekels at the work with much cunning and cramp. Oh, soulless drudge. I feel sick, my bones ache. The rice-crispies crackle malevolently in their sweetening soup, their sugar coats dissolving, their cinereal cereal flesh softening slowly to mush. Poor burnt then drowned rices, no wonder you sound so furious at the end, dishonest frost of syrup, (I’m </i>melting</i>) the fixed smile of the food world. All masks and marketing; counterfeit; jewelled; whited teeth and glosséd lips. Coffee bubbles forth in brown irregular bursts, froth and dribble, constipated mechanism screech. I shiver in the grey lit grey room, shiver greyly before the grey window embroidered greyly with grey watery thread, stare at the pale grey rice corpses slowly bloating in the milk-grey sea, the grey ceramic coast greyly lactose lapped. The grey-silver spoon-handle a terrible pier-collapse, the prom thousands dead. My alarm wrenched me from troubling dreams at six forty-five but I did not get up. At seven it was too late to shower and by seven fifteen a cooked breakfast was lost which is sad as stories ought to begin from eggs and not grey bowls of grey cereal. Not that this is a story. I rose at seven twenty and decided coffee was worth being late, that given the milk still being of minimal viscosity a breakfast of sorts was not beyond hope. The machine’s torn song has mercifully stopped, the pot below is filled and steaming. I charge my cup with coffee, add two spoonfuls of grey sugar, light a slim snow-grey cigarette with a canary-islands cigarette lighter and sit slowly and crease-browed dividing it into smoke and ash, taking it’s pale drawn spirit into my blackening lungs. It’s going to be another glorious day. The glass shivers against the wind, melting path in the bubbled fields of condensation, bringing them together, unified and rushing down. My throat hurts from last night, too many cigarettes. (I don’t want to live like this anymore: outside it begins, obliging, to rain). I feel sick. For a second I pause to gauge the size of my hangover, then remember that I didn’t drink last night. Go me. Such victory as would fill two boats with petrol rainbows. Perhaps I’m ill. Wouldn’t be so bad, time off work guilt free or almost free (I secretly desired this sickness in me). Money free too, bills pile up, avalanche buries blueprints, bottles break and booze bleeds blamelessly away, untasted and therefore unfulfilled, it’s boozy dreams rendered naught. I pull on the cigarette. Goddammit, can’t let down those stalwart beverages, loyal unto death to their leech; I’ll do it for them, them who stood by me when I was drunk and their pristine brothers. Can’t condemn a generation to dreams of service; what might have been if I was born before, memoirs of a should-have-been &c.… It is twenty to eight, forty past. I leave late for work, leaving a cup gilded with russet sugar slush and three cigarette butts in a glass ashtray beside Chris’ cigarette packet, profoundly emptied whilst he slept.