“Uggh!” My head is pounding and all I can see is blinding light through my crusty eye lids as I lay like dirty laundry on the couch. Why did I drink so much last night? Oh, now I remember. It’s because I lost my job at the book binding factory. And my girlfriend of two years left me when she discovered we only had our love of sex in common during quarantine. It’s too bad because she was dynamite in the sack. And worthy of going on this bender to honor the loss of her. Even though it doesn’t feel like it at the moment.
“She was a bitch!” I hear and ask myself if I’ve said that out loud. Maybe I’m still drunk but it sounded like someone said exactly what I was thinking during the quarantine with that she-devil. “You don’t need her man. Or the book binding factory. I’ve got everything you need. And I want to give you more.” Where is that coming from?! I can hear it but can’t fully open my eyes because the light keeps stabbing my eyeballs as it blasts through the windows. I tell myself that my neighbors must have their TV too loud. But the voice I heard mentioned the book binding factory. That’s very specific to my life. So, yeah, I must still be drunk.
“You’re not drunk anymore buddy. You are being enlightened and blessed by my presence. Open your eyes and accept what I have to give you. Hahaha!” I hear. Okay, this is ridiculous. I have to see where this voice is coming from. I fight to open one eye and become shocked to see a little black book with an attitude standing on my coffee table with eyes, mouth and 1930’s cartoon legs, feet, arms and hands. He instantly flips me off and proceeds to pirouette so I can see the full 360-degree details of my hallucination. “You’re not in Kansas anymore Steve!” he tells me. Oh yeah, by the way, my name is Steve. I tell him, “Screw off hallucination! And I’ve never been to Kansas. But feel free to go there and take your offerings with you.”
I could see from the frown on the little black book’s face, he was losing patience with me. I can understand his frustration because I was losing patience with myself, as it is evident that I’m obviously losing my mind. Which makes sense considering my string of bad luck lately. I’m also a couple months behind in my rent. So, this hallucination is going to be evicted with me real soon. He tells me, “I’m not going anywhere until I give you what you need Steve.” I know the little black book is filled with the phone numbers of past lady conquests. I’m thinking he might mean this. I know it’s very old-school of me to have a little black book in this world of technology. But cellphones break all the time and I want to keep my access to sex available. Wow! Maybe my ex-girlfriend was right. “She’s still a bitch Steve! And I’m not offering you the limited lady numbers in my pages. I wanna give you $20,000.”
I immediately respond, “Hahahaha! Ouch!” I forgot I was still harboring a hangover. “You want to give me $20,000?! Now I’m definitely losing my mind.” I say to the hallucination. He responds, “Yes, you pathetic piece of sofa cushion! I’m going to hook you up with the money. Then you can pay your rent and maybe hook up with one of the ladies in my pages.” I keep laughing but then I start to become a little scared for my mental wellbeing. A little black book is offering me $20,000 right when I’m on the cusp of becoming homeless. I can envision myself ending up sitting on a sidewalk with a sign for spare change while I shout curse words to his hallucinatory friends. I have to shake this off. So, I get up and run to the bathroom. I figure a nice cold shower will wake me up and get me back on a sane track.
“That’s not going to help Steve!” the book shouts as he starts following me to the bathroom. I tell him, “Just leave me alone or I’ll drop you in a book donation box!” He responds, “I’m not going anywhere because I’m in your head or maybe I’m not? Hahaha! You see what I did there? I’m a book playing head games. Hahaha!” Damn that little punk! I immediately slammed the bathroom door shut before he could get in. And then proceeded to splash cold water on my face. The shocking cold wetness of the water feels like it’s slapping me back to reality. And just when I think I’m cleared from of a trip to a psychologist, I hear the little black book say, “Here’s Johnny!” as he slips a piece of one of his pages through bottom of the door, in a stabbing motion. I ask him, “Your name is not Johnny is it?” He says, “No, it’s Oliver. But I like to watch old movies. Hahaha!” I think to myself, “Why are you always laughing, stupid book named Oliver?” He responds, “Because life, and you, are hilarious.”
This is getting out of hand. Or has been since I heard Oliver speak. And now I’m hiding like an elephant startled by a mouse. “Who is the man here?! I am, that’s who!” I tell myself this as I try to get my courage up to go out and handle the little daily planner with a bad attitude. “I’m no daily planner you prick! You’re in the bathroom hiding from money. When all you have to do is come out here, kiss my ass, and get your $20,000.” He says. And I immediately curse myself for forgetting that he apparently can read my thoughts. I also get angry that he told me to kiss his ass. He doesn’t have an ass. If anything, he should have told me to kiss his bottom back book cover. “Hahaha! That’s a good one Steve! Now come out here and do the very thing you just thought about. Because I know you want to.” he says.
If I’m going to hit rock bottom, then I’m at least going to do so with all my mental faculties intact. I must destroy this apparition. So, I grab the toilet bowl scrubber because I figured it’ll provide the perfect death for the little piece of excrement. This weapon has scrubbed away many a bad memory in the bowl.
Just as I’m about to charge out the door, I hear Oliver say, “Come out with your weapon and I’ll shove it exactly where it belongs! Right up your prune shoot! Hahaha!” I immediately thank him for the motivation I needed to complete my task because I’m good and angry enough now. I charge out the bathroom door with my courage and toilet scrubber in hand. I don’t see Oliver. But I can hear him, and he sounds like he’s on the outside of my front entrance door. I know this because he tells me, “I’m outside your front door you prick. Come and get it! Hahaha!”
I rush to the front door to accommodate the little paper weight and see, at the last minute, that he has his little cartoon leg stuck out just enough to cause me to trip. And I wipe out, with my head hitting the front door. I can feel myself losing consciousness as Oliver comes closer to my face. He turns around and proceeds to put his bottom back book cover, close to my lips, and while laughing he tells me, “Now you can properly kiss it and then I’ll give you the money. Bahahaha!” With my last conscious breath, I tell him, “Hit the stair master, flat ass!” And then I pass out.
Several hours or so, passes by. I’m really not sure. But I wake up to a letter slipped under my door that stabs my nose. I had forgotten I had passed out right by the door and thought that Oliver had returned to stab me with one of his pages. But he was gone, and I struggled to sit up as I grabbed the letter that gave me such a rude awakening. My head was throbbing, and I could hear Johnny the mailman singing on the other side of the door. I thought, how ironic that was considering my earlier hallucination.
I managed to sit up against the door and looked down at the letter. It was from Vocal Media. I opened it and the first thing I read was, “Congratulations Steve! You’ve won $20,000! And 1st place for the Little Black Book writing contest.” If my head wasn’t still pounding so much, I would scream out in joy. This is exactly what I needed. That stupid little hallucination was right. Of course, that’s where he came from.
In my drunken state I had forgotten I entered this writing contest, and the alcohol is what made him exist. Or so I thought until I felt something on my left shoulder. I looked and saw Oliver the little black book grinning and winking at me as he sat on my shoulder. He said, “I told you I’d hook you up Wordsmith! You believe it now?” I told him, “Yes! I really believe I’m crazy now. But I also have $20,000. So, can you give me Diamond’s number in your pages? She’s not too expensive.”