Woke up on the couch Again. Head aches, Stomach queasy, Bladder bulging. Sit up, Sends my head spinning. Man, what happened to my thumb? Feels sprained must’ve jammed it. How? And what’s this? Front of my shirt like cardboard, Something wet dried. Takes me three tries to stand, Feel dizzy, Stumble to the head. Ahhhh, that feels good. You know, you just kind of rent beer. Wash my hands, look in the mirror -- Jeezus! Right side of my temple’s all bruised, Throbbing, Nerves send a ditto from my right knee. It’s all scraped and scabbed. Must’ve fallen somewhere, Somehow, Sometime. Don’t remember. Re awakens, comes downstairs, Tells me I crawled into the house At 4:30 in the morning. Kept shouting “Leave me alone, I don’t want you to see me Like this. Go ‘way.” She says something about a guzzling tequila Contest with the last holdouts, Trying to eat the worm.
Hours later, Cleaning the mess on the porch I find the worm. Looks like I won.
Goodnight the darkness closes in as the theater spills its patrons into the street. the last act is finished, the curtain is down, no fanfare, no standing ovation, mild applause. the reviews, save the one from the underground rag, were all bad.
The players will look for new work in the morning. the theater will house a new playwright’s child.
I leave meekly out the stage entrance into the alley -- always the alley -- overflowing garbage cans stray cats stench of vomit.
You join the crowd push your way out into the street, with its bright lights, laughter smell of hot pretzels carnival air.
The crowd moves past the alley where my unnoticed shadow climbs a fire escape to a small cluttered room to study far into the morning, reviewing the mistakes of his past performance, practicing his new lines.
BIO: David Allen is a retired journalist, freelance writer, and poet living in Central Indiana. He is the poetry editor of Indiana Voice Journal and vice president of the Poetry Society of Indiana. He has been published in many literary journals and has two books of poetry, "The Story So Far," and "(more)" available at Amazon.