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What did he think he was doing? If he didn't know he certainly couldn't expect others to know or understand his motivations or actions. He squeezed his eyes closed so he could shut out his thoughts and just focus on getting on with the daily tasks at hand. Life proceeds along without too much contemplation on whether it should or shouldn't and so would he.

His nap, as always, was unsatisfactory. Not nearly enough. Sleep could be an elusive and unpredictable treasure. Sometimes it came easy and comfortable, whereas other times the mind raced across all manner of things, all of them dancing away from any personal control. Being truly rested was rare indeed. He groaned as he threw the rumpled covers off and swiveled himself to the edge of his bed. His hands were stiff and he massaged deep into his knuckles to ease them.

The shower beckoned and he lumbered towards it, absent-mindedly scratching his body with re-animated hands. Turning on the shower he again registered that the tap handle for the cold water rested on the edge of the bath. "I've gotta get to that" he muttered to himself as he immersed into the cascading water.

He eased himself in and out of the shower according to his body's ability to cope with the steaming water. Rubbing his hand across his face he assessed whether he was in need of a shave. "Not today" he mumbled, wondering where the hell his skin's elasticity had mysteriously disappeared to. He briskly washed, rinsed, brushed teeth, turned off the tap then reached for his towel being mindful not to slip in the process.

He absent-mindedly sniffed the towel, a broad green one, testing whether it was acceptable for its fundamental task, that being to dry his body. It was although it had seen fluffier days. Dave was acutely aware of the other practical uses for towels, but that wasn't a consideration for the moment.

He tossed it over his head and rubbed his hair vigorously, then moved down to his neck, back, chest, arms, lower torso and finally legs. He was methodical in his approach, believing that it was the most efficient and effective way to go about such a mundane and everyday chore. He shook the towel and observed the body hair that now covered the tiled floor in the shower recess. "I'm bloody molting" he grumbled.

Dave moved his left hand over to the back of his right shoulder to rub the scar where a large lump had once been. It was a habit of many years and not as objectionable as some that he might consider taking up. The lump had been benign but the surgeon had quipped that he didnt like the look of it when he excised it from the muscle.

There was nothing quite like getting a professional opinion on a lump of flesh and fatty tissue that originated from your body. Dave guessed that it probably wouldnt have been a candidate for the cover of Lumpy Bitz magazine that might be found sitting at the bottom of a pile of a doctors professional reading.

He rushed through the rest of his post showering rituals being aware that he needed to get himself ready for work. Dave scrounged in the washing basket looking for fresh work clothes. These basics were easy enough to locate. Denim shorts, bright yellow work polo emblazoned with the business logo and slogans. Boxer shorts, elastic band still holding up. Socks.

It was always socks. Dave wasnt particularly fussed about getting a matching pair of work socks, more so finding a pair that didnt have holes to the side of the big toe. His steel capped work boots rubbed against his largest of foot digits and not only developed large calluses on each but wore out his socks quicker than he liked. He mentally noted that he needed to buy some more socks when he pulled out two serviceable ones; Blue and Black. That would have to do.

Dressing quickly, Dave then picked up his boots from next to the hall stand and strode down the hallway to the kitchen. He sat down on the old vinyl cushioned kitchen chair, the seat patched with a strip of duct tape. He pulled on his left boot, grasping the lace-ends and tugged tight.


Thatd be right he muttered, annoyed. The lace had been frayed for the last week but he hadnt yet got to the store to buy a replacement pair. Socks and laces now Dave inscribed into his mental shopping list.
He would usually forget, resorting to walking each aisle in the supermarket in the desperate hope for a memory jogger.

Dave adjusted the lace so he could just manage to do a single bow, his thick fingers struggling in the effort. It would have to do. He took greater care in tying his right boot.

An alarm went off in his head. The coffee siren. He moved across to the kitchen bench, lifted the kettle and shook it. Satisfied that the level of content would meet his daily necessary caffeine fix he slapped the on switch.

A banging at the door disturbed his consideration of breakfast. He returned up the hallway to the front door and opened it to find a cat half way up the screen door, claws gripping the fly-wire. Morning, Shithead Dave said in a cheery manner. The cat, more formally known as Cally, a calico cat, meowed loudly in reply; Feed me now! in the feline language. Dave clicked the finger lock on the screen door, opened it as the cat dropped to the doorstep and sauntered in as only a cat can.

Dave close and locked the door, a precaution he usually took given the not so upmarket nature of his neighbourhood. He followed in the wake of Cally to the kitchen where he found some cat biscuits and shook a portion of the contents into a bowl. The cat pierced him with an annoyed expression.

OK, OK. Ill get the milk.

He opened the refrigerator door and pulled out the plastic two litre bottle of milk. Lowfat. Dave had a small chloresterol problem. He checked the expiry date, opened the lid, and took a cautious whiff. Satisfied, Dave poured a small amount of milk into a saucer and placed it next to the cats food bowl. Cally purred in appreciation, giving Daves leg a cursory rub with her head before dipping her face into the food bowl.

Dave turned his attention from the cat to the kettle. It was close to boiling. He reached for his favourite mug and placed it on the laminate bench top. The colour, the 1970s favourite, burnt orange, no longer affected him as it did visitors to his home. The outdated colour scheme and fixtures were background visual noise, barely registering in his thoughts. He pulled at the cutlery drawer and finger poked through for a teaspoon. Selecting one, he plunged it into the sugar bowl and extracted a heaped amount of sweetner, then dumped it into the mug. He repeated the process with the instant coffee. Dave splashed just the right amount of milk in the mug, musing about the aberration of the milk and sugar after brigade. Horrible.

By this time the kettle had auto-switched off and Dave topped up the mug with water, the smell of instant coffee wafting up. Ah! Breakfast! he thought.

Back to choices. Toast or Toast. He would have toast. He sorted through the bagged loaf of bread looking to select a slice unaffected by mould. Choosing two likely candidates, Dave put them in the toaster on setting number 2. That setting under-toasted where setting 3 turned it into a charcoal brickette. Two and a half didnt work so Dave toasted the bread on 2 twice, monitoring the second turn to manually remove the toast before it caught fire.

Dave opened the fridge and removed the margarine. Next he found the vegemite and crunchy peanut butter. One slice with the axle grease like vegemite, a favourite Australian breakfast spread, and the other with paste of peanut.

He gave of a laugh. He remembered the high school name for the spreads. Penis Paste and Vaginamite. Very schoolboy humour.

The toast soon popped up and he reset it and maintained his vigil for the toast perfection he craved.
Soon Dave was sitting at the kitchen table sipping his coffee between bites of each of the pieces of toast, listening to the radio. This was the calm before the storm as he kept half an eye on the wall clock in the kitchen. It didnt matter how early in the day he got up, the time in the morning moved in a mysterious fashion resulting in Dave always rushing to get to work.

The radio station broadcast the short grabs of news that provided Dave with just enough current affairs without having to resort to the television. Morning television had the same inane Morning Show programs, with the same inane morning show hosts, talking about the same inane issues of the day that catered for the same inane viewers. Dave didnt want to risk losing the little intelligence he possessed by watching the networks. Radio would be enough.

He caught the end of the daily horoscope for his sign, it mentioning that change was in the air, something that Dave thought was highly unlikely. He was stuck in a rut and probably needed explosives to get himself free from the sucking monotony in the bottom.

The chair legs squealed on the vinyl flooring as Dave pushed back out his slightly worn seat and gathered the plate and coffee mugs from the table. Begrudgingly he chose to rinse them at the sink and leave them out to dry in the dish rack.

'Nobody else to clean up after me so I best do it myself' he thought.

Dave's internal alarm initiated an annoying scratching, insisting he get to work. He called Cally who was now casually preening herself in the distasteful manner that only a cat could.

'Don't lick me with that tongue' muttered Dave. Cally paused briefly to give him a quizzical 'Rowwr?' and when no promise of a tasty tidbit eventuated she returned to grooming. ​Cally paused briefly to give him a quizzical Rowwr? And when no promise of a tasty tidbit eventuated she returned to grooming. Dave took a couple of steps and scooped the cat into his arms, strode up to the hallstand, then fossicked in the bowl resting on its top. He gave a sigh as he finally plucked out his name badge / identification swipe and keys.

​He juggled his possessions to free a hand to open the front screen door, at which time the cat managed to free herself from his hold, leap to the verandah and hop a few metres out of his reach. Cally stole a quick glare of defiance for being put out, turned and sauntered off with her tail swishing in the air. Dave, cat-slave, had been dismissed.

​He closed the front door, keyed the deadlock the closed and locked the screen door, checking the handle to make sure. He paused and mentally checked that he had turned off the few electrical appliances he possessed. Closing his eyes to better remotely survey the house in his mind, he suddenly blinked and was satisfied.

​Dave spun on his heels and walked to his car parked on the grass verge of his home. Grass was probably not an accurate description of the narrow strip of land. Weed and dirt would have been a more apt description.

​The car, a faded burgundy early model Toyota Camry, was probably more comfortable on Daves verge than a classy limestone paved driveway. Dave did what little he needed to keep his personal mode of transport functioning. It didnt leak much oil, generally started first time and very rarely, broke down.
​Dave keyed open the boot to check that his work-belt and other necessities of employment were still there, along with the bric-a-brac of his mundane existence. Dave kept stuff in his car boot based on a it might come in handy approach. An old hammock for a picnic rug, a folding camp chair, a four litre container of water and the like. It rarely reached the handy stage. Dave was an unabashed boot hoarder.

​Unlike his boot, the interior of the car was clutter free. It started first time and Dave slipped his seat belt on and proceeded on his short commute to work. ​Work was as a forklift operator / replenishment team member for a large DIY hardware store. The company had dozens of megastores across the country, slowly snuffing out the existence of the long established local family hardware shops.

Dave had concerns that he was a very minor cog in such a soulless enterprise, but he had to pay his bills. Working a night shift provided him the flexibility he needed for the moment. He had plans to do better, he just needed things to go his way for a change.

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