Drunken Lullaby

His house was empty, and surprisingly loud, in its ticking, when he awoke that morning, feeling thin. The light through the dusty window panes looking out over the veranda was weak and yellow, the chill air clinging to the shadowed furniture in the sitting room.

Ples pushed himself up from the sofa, lifting his cheek from the thread barren upholstery to squint around for his spectacles, as his hand instinctively delved into his vest for his pocket watch, and he drew it out by a thin length of cord. His fingers found his cold frames on the dusty rug under the couch, and he pushed them onto his face as he shifted upright, his spine popping back into alignment every now and again. He lifted his watch and retracted immediately from his own reflection, grunting with a frown. He raked his mussed curls back on his head with his fingers and he flipped open the brass time piece, his eyes narrowed on the tiny hands, and at last he shrugged, slipping the pocket watch back into his vest and returning to his sprawled position, knees cocked against the armrest to leave his ankles to the cold, as his silk socks had slipped down again.

He shut his eyes again, set to return to his hung-over coma.

There was a knock on the front door, and his glasses were digging into his eyelids as he burrowed his face deeper into the cushion, uttering a small sound of dislike.

"Yo!" More knocking.

He could feel his watch ticking against his heart, the only warmth in the cold house.

The door opened- he was so bad, about locking it, "Yo, tick tock guy!" Footsteps in the entry way, and Ples hoped he had at least shut the study door, as the stranger ventured into the kitchen, still searching. The footsteps stilled in the study doorway, and the door creaked slightly, "PlesMan!"

Ples sighed tiredly.

A slap to his ankle, starting him slightly, "Hey. Drunk asshole. Wake up."

"No." his brain was already starting to develop a headache, and his dark brows creased with pain, "Go away."

The couch suddenly tipped forward, and Ples exclaimed as he was sent tumbling onto the floor, his first sight the greeting of large, emerald-colored eyes and terrifyingly sharp teeth, fixed in a mischievous grin, "Wake the fuck up."

"Oh. Bear trap child." Ples pressed his cold fingertips to his forehead, grimacing, "What do you want?"

Veser frowned, "Lay off the teeth, man. Not cool." He shuffled around in his oversized hoodie, at last drawing out a brown paper bag, and Ples heard the familiar sound of faint sloshing, "I got you this."

Ples took the extended gift, as Veser let the sofa drop to the floor in a puff of dust, "Oh. Wonderful, thank you."

"'Bought it with your money. FYI, they upped your card limit."

"Um... what?"

"Listen, you seen that one guy around, lately? The ginger one, hangs with the dead guy?"

"Hanna. His name is Hanna," Ples drew the large bottle of whiskey out of the wrinkled bag, examining it, "At least, I think it is. I haven't seen him. Why?"

Veser seemed to retract slightly, and Ples arched a brow with interest, "No reason."

Ples shrugged, twisting off the gold-colored cap of the alcohol, sniffing the whiskey and exhaling sharply at the strong aroma. Veser slipped his hands into his pockets, admitting after a silence, "He was gonna hook me up with Toni."

"Oh? Is he a nice young man?" Ples grinned, tipping the bottle to his lips and taking a drink, as Veser reddened with anger.

"Toni's a chick, asswagon. It's short for Antoinette, some shit. He was just going to get me her number..." he paused as Ples raised a finger in question.

He wiped his lips on his sleeve, "Mmm. Shouldn't you get the number from her directly?"

"Are you nuts, dude? No way in hell!" he steeped back, spreading his arms, "Would you give your number to this?"

Ples' face gathered with concentration, as he examined him, and at last, he shrugged, "You're right. Tough luck, bear trap child."

"Yeah." Veser looked momentarily crestfallen, and shook his head, "and now I'm stuck spending V-day with some drunk, ticking asshole."

"No one said you had to stay," Ples pointed out with a frown. He paused, "V-day?"

"Valentine's day, dumbass. God, do you even know what year it is, anymore?"

"Less and less." Ples smirked, taking another drink as his headache was slowly numbed out of his brain.

"I guess it doesn't matter, when you're old as hell. Hey, whatcha got to eat, in this place?" Veser scampered out of the study toward the kitchen, leaving Ples and his bottle on the floor.

Ples sighed again, gripping the bottle around the neck as he drew his knee up to get at his socks.

The sounds and smells of bacon greeted him when he stumbled into the kitchen, slumping in a kitchen chair, squinting as the curtains had been thrown aside to let in the sunlight, "What are you doing?"

Veser pushed his sleeves back up to his elbows and continued to poke at the sizzling breakfast meat, "I wanted bacon. Why is your freezer filled with ice cream sandwiches, you creeper?"

Ples shrugged, face down on the table, "I'd like some bacon, if it isn't terribly inconvenient." The bottle was pulled from his hand and replaced with a steaming cup of black coffee. Ples let out a grateful sigh, "thank you, bear trap child."

"Whatever, tick tock guy."

Ples pulled his nose out of his coffee cup when Veser dropped a plate of bacon and eggs on the placemat before him, "What's this?"

"I don't know how long these eggs have been lying around, eat 'em so I know they aren't toxic."

Ples unfolded his napkin on his lap, and gathered his fork, lifting a bite of the eggs to his mouth. He chewed for a few moments, and swallowed, as Veser eyed him suspiciously, "They taste alright."

"No, they taste bomb, don't lie. I'm an awesome cook," Veser grinned, returning to the stove to gather his own plate and have a seat at the table, beginning to wolf down his meal.

Ples took another bite, "Where did you learn to cook?"

Veser shrugged, gnawing on his bacon, "I dunno. I got tired of being hungry, I guess."

"Didn't your...?" Ples paused, and cleared his throat.


"Nothing." Ples took another swig of coffee, and continued on his own breakfast, "This is very good."

Veser frowned, "Don't make this gay, tick tock guy," and Ples snorted.

"I had no intention," he assured him with a small smile. Breakfast passed without much more conversation.

"So, where are we going today, tick tock?" Veser asked as he unwrapped his third ice cream sandwich, and Ples arched a brow.

"Who said I was going anywhere?"

"I don't like your Phantom of the Opera house, it creeps me out. And, seeing as you're sorta sober, we could drive. So, where are we going?"

Ples chuckled quietly, "Your logic seems a bit off, but very well. Where does everyone go, on St. Valentines'?"

"Hotels," Veser admitted, "but I guess we could grab a cup of coffee and lurk the park or whatever. I've got some spray paint- all the cops should be busy with all the hookers around, we could tag up the old water tower."

Ples shrugged, "Let me get my coat."

The wind was a bitter kind of cold, over the frozen, steel-colored sidewalks, and the rusty rebar of the ladder made his hands ache as he reached for the next rung, pulling himself higher above the crooked NO TRESSPASSING sign. As he neared the top, a hand emerged to help him pull his lanky form through the porthole to the catwalk. Ples pulled his collar tighter around his throat and coughed as another cold breeze passed, rattling the rusting sheet metal of the large, steel tank, discolored every now and again with faded spray paint.

"Doesn't look very safe," Ples admitted.

"Scared, PlesMan?" Veser smirked, and Ples shook his head, nudging an empty beer can over the edge of the steel grating to let it fall, clattering as it landed. Veser delved into his hood for a few cans of spray paint, tossing one to his companion, "have at it, we don't got all day."

"But don't we?" Ples replied, rattling his can as Veser began to spray a large, electric-green shark on the rust, "I say- that isn't too bad."

"Yeah, well, I've had practice. Hurry up, paint something."

Ples raised the can, then paused. He thought silently for a few moments, and at last began to paint; a large, red gear. When he stepped back, he nodded affirmatively.

"Hm. Creepy," Veser agreed, "but I guess it's kind of cool." he watched as Ples faintly added: 12:21. "What's with the numbers?"

"What's with the shark?"

"Never mind." Veser continued to scrawl unreadable script across the rest of the surface- letters that resembled faces, flowers, knives. Ples simply watched, wondering if perhaps it was some sort of Sanskrit. At last Veser tossed the can over his shoulder, "come on, let's get out of here. It's freezing balls."

"Ah. Yes," in shifting the spray paint can to give it back, a sudden spray of red burst onto his vest, "Oh, my, how clumsy..."

"Hah!" Veser took the paint back, then paused, "...dude, it kind of looks like a heart."

"Don't make this gay, bear trap child," Ples pointed out, trying to dab up the red with his handkerchief, to no avail.

Veser turned the can on himself, spraying his shirt. The spot of red appeared more like a gunshot wound, "Cool."

"I don't think this comes out of silk..."

"Let's go. Hey, thanks for hanging out with me. Even if you're a drunk asshole. Happy V-day."

Ples bowed slightly, "Happy st. Valentines' day."


"No homo," they commented simultaneously.