Carol

A car door slammed next door and it woke up the old man. He was trying to sleep off a whiskey hangover from the night before. Noises from all over kept him awake. Car doors slamming, people talking, diesels running along the highway, trains groaning through town; all of it made him toss and turn.

And then his mind started racing. Thoughts of old times ran through his head. Old dreams of past loves, women he’d been with, reeled in his brain like an old movie projector, in color, not black and white.

He called out, Carol…Carol, the old man screamed. Then he heard the car next door take off. Peeling gravel and burning up the engine. He looked over on the other side of the bed and she was gone, wasn’t there. Disappeared.

Down the hall he could hear her humming a song, smelled bacon frying, his mind was playing tricks on him. There was no bacon frying, no sounds of a woman humming, nothing. Nothing at all. Just a table with one chair at it, a toaster, coffee maker, and a bread box. Where was Carol?, he thought. She was just here, he said.

The old man opened a cabinet and spied a half bottle of Jameson. Opened it and poured the golden liquid down the sink. He made a pot of coffee and sat down. Kept asking himself, Where’s Carol?

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