He looked at his talon hands and made some coffee in the blue morning, the slumped carcass of some Victorian ghost outside, the 5:45 am mould peeling away from the window. The murmuring inside, a phantom’s hand pinching the flesh. He’d walk to the off-licence and start all the sweat all over again, start off all of the manic chattering again, the skeleton splinters and the wine falls out with shards, in shards and like shards of light and pain at that. Put on your slippers. He put on his slippers and went outside for a menthol cigarette – the minty chemicals playing tricks with his tongue and the streetlamp an orange menthol itself, some cryptic union. What’s that in your dressing down pocket? He fingered the seams of his Dunne’s Stores dressing gown, an old and discoloured blue with white stitching. Lint, dust, some loose tobacco leaf and half a pill – the size of a doll’s fingernail. He popped it in and chewed it. Mixing with the menthol he knew by instinct it was a sleeper, so he resigned himself for another four hours, as the clouds congealed overhead.

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