Dirty plates, cups and spoons cover every work surface. Empty cereal boxes, milk cartons and yogurt pots are strewn around the room. A sticky spoon balances precariously on a jam pot. A tub of margarine has been left on the side with a butter knife, fancying itself as Excalibur, sticking right out of the middle of it.
Rice Krispies are sprinkled all over the floor, sideboards, and sink like confetti. Some of them had even made it into the cat’s bowl. The poor creature will have to make do with a breakfast that combines meat and gravy with Snap, Crackle, and Pop. Christ only knows what she will make of that, she has a delicate stomach at the best of times.
All the Mother wants is a cup of coffee. What previously seemed possible now seems out of the question. Washing up a spoon and a cup are simply beyond her reach, even if she can actually find these things. She half-heartedly looks in the cupboard under the sink, and miraculously she is rewarded. Just next to the U-bend, she spots a mug, of sorts.
Technically, it is mug; whether she is capable of drinking from this vessel is another matter. On the front of this lurid pink mug, written in huge black capital letters, are the words “I LOVE COCK.” The mug was bought for the Mother years ago by a friend; well, a former friend. Now, with every other cup and mug in the house dirty, it will have to do; it is her darkest hour. She will simply have to ignore the giant erection in the middle of the mug, which reveals more and more of itself as she drinks her coffee. On another day, it might have made her laugh, but not today.
After consuming some strong coffee and forcing down almost a litre of water without being sick, she feels better. She also feels capable of venturing into the medicine cabinet. Well, technically, it isn’t a cabinet at all, merely a corner cupboard in the kitchen. The bathroom is so pokey and small, there is barely room in it for a person, let alone a big cupboard full of drugs.
In the cupboard, she finds cat worming tablets, Rizlas, nit shampoo, Oust multipurpose descaler, superglue, three boxes of herbal tea, an unopened jar of decaffeinated coffee, tampons, several hair products and a long abandoned breast pump. Then finally, success. Just behind the headlice shampoo she finds some Nurofen Express. “Quality pain relief,” thinks the Mother.
“Works in 15 minutes, heals the sick, raises the dead, cleanses lepers and casts out demons. Christ, if that doesn’t do the trick, nothing will,” she thinks, swallowing three just to be on the safe side.