My breakfast would make a Puck or Lagasse proud.

Today's Story


Beer for Breakfast

By James Orbesen

Cold morning snaps me awake with a staccato electronic alarm claxoning beside my bed. I jab the device to silence and heave-ho myself off my back with the grace and bearing of an intoxicated sloth. I sit on the edge.  Cold December. Head’s filled with London fog. I rattle away the pea soup vapor with warm thoughts of breakfast. Yellow fried eggs burn away the clouds with the heat of twin suns while a heavenly cavalcade of crisp bacon and raspberry jam laden toast follow close behind. It’s the most important meal of the day. I’ll have a beer. A beer for breakfast.

Phone rings and displays an unknown number. It’s the suits on the other end, demanding their money that’s well past due. Penalty this and interest that. Hurry up. Hurry up and pay us. Or else. No need to answer I know that’s exactly what they’ll say. Let them eat voicemail. Time to get moving. It’s beer for breakfast.

The wind whipped draft shack apartment goose bumps my skin as I solemnly stroll to the kitchen for my morning meal. Phone’s with me in my plaid pajama pant pocket. My feet shuffle along and touch something wet. Ammonia stings my nose and waters my eyes. Cat peed on the carpet again. One more charge to pay when I move out. Clean it later. No time for this. It’s beer for breakfast.

Pans clang down on cooking grates and ignition switches spark, pop and snap sacred breakfast fire to life. Get the ingredients. Eggs from the carton, bacon from the shelf, bread from the box. Wash up before every meal, my mother always said. Hot water’s out. Never can get ahead. Always something going wrong. Call the maintenance man and his tool belt later. I got breakfast to cook. It’s beer for breakfast.

Grease in the bacon pan sizzles its siren song and lets loose aromas that’d bring vegetarians to their knobbed knees. The mechanical shunk of bread going down to be toast counterpoints the cackling crisp. Eggs line up to get cracked. Everything’s a few days past the expiration point. No money to buy new things. Doesn’t matter, my breakfast would make a Puck or Lagasse proud. Need the final ingredient. Sam’s calling from the fridge. Get him out and pop his top. It’s beer for breakfast.

Food’s ready, the triangle’s ringing in my head. Come and get it, come and get it. Creaky hand-me-down card chair and clogged bathtub water colored table holds together for one more meal. My only meal. Bastard phone rings right before the first bite. I don’t even try to answer as my pulse jackhammer pounds in anticipation of awful tidings. Nothing but bad news ever comes from a phone call. But, it’s ok. I take a deep swig of the sacred bottle. Breakfast is always better this way. It’s beer for breakfast.


James Orbesen is a writer and graduate student living in Chicago.


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