Taproom Hot Wings in the Shower

by Serge Bielanko

Standing in my shower is like standing still over in the corner of a jet plane loo. First off, there are no corners. The whole thing is so goddamn small that there are no corners. The whole thing is a corner. I'm standing naked in the steam and I'm cornered by the water, a gush of hot/wet heat slamming me in the face unless I use the two inches behind me to change my entire world by moving backwards so I'm taking it on the chin instead of up the nose.

I've been in good showers before.

I've had one or two decent ones in apartments from my past and back when my band played some shows with Nick Hornby, we stayed in some pretty spectacular boutique Euro hotels where the bathrooms were like big 'Fuck You's' to every shower I had ever taken up until that moment.

There is a shower somewhere in Stockholm that I almost slashed my wrists in once. I'm dead serious. It was a thing of beauty, all refurbished Nordic Viking ship wood and glass made out of frozen God tears. There were thin, sexy strips of spaceship stainless steel, too, and they were laid out in some kind of design all up and down the fucking vessel so that all I could do was begin to weep as the long burden of my endless, shit-hassle life came crashing down on me. You don't forget a shower like that. At least I don't. Christ, those sweet jets shot my body with rays of Happy Ending as I cracked the lid on a bottle of some kind of body wash way out of my league, something that smelled of centuries of lapping seas and endless forests and braided blondes hand-feeding me fresh fish chunks with the tips of their slender fingers.

Fuck it, I thought. I need to just kill myself here. Now. Just do it. You'll never pass this way again, you sad bastard. That was what happened to me, I swear to God. People always think that people who off themselves always do it in some sort of fit of depression or angst, but I'm not so sure. Maybe sometimes something so beautiful and wonderful can take you to a place where you just wanna freeze yourself in that moment forever and ever, you know? Life never lets you do that. Living sure as hell doesn't let you do that. But maybe if you die in the middle of some glorious moment, you've actually done it.

Anyway, who cares? I didn't do it. I didn't want to die yet. And I'm not telling you to kill yourself either, asshole. I'm just throwing some shit against the wall here.

I'm just tickling you with a lilac sprig, alright?

This shower of mine, I stand in there this morning and for some reason I'm thinking to myself, "Is this hard water or soft water?" It's a stupid thing to ask myself too, especially since I really look forward to the three minutes I get in here, escaping the kids in the other room, a final breath before I walk back in there and there's pancake jammed into the electrical outlets and people are crying and shitting in their pants and fighting viciously with each other over dumb shit like who saw Peppa fuckin' Pig walk across the flat screen first.

In here it's just me and my thoughts and evidently my thoughts are so stupid that I'm probably not even getting myself clean while I wonder about the whole hard/soft water thing this morning. I don't even know what hard water is. Is it actually hard? I kind of though all water was soft unless it was frozen, but what do I know? If they're talking about some kind of subtle velvety bullshit when it comes to the expensive hose water pounding your saggy ass while you stand in the shower then I guess I really don't give a damn, to be honest. I've never been able to understand certain differences in this world. I'm not made like that.

I'm wildly unrefined.

I'm a styrofoam box of 8 lukewarm hot wings from the taproom down the street.

I've got cigarette breath and bags under my eyes from I don't know what. I might be shooting dope by the looks of me. I have no recollection of any of this.

Every move I make in here triggers another move and that is a royal pain in my ass. I go to wrap my hands around the thing of shampoo, my elbow knocks into the cold water handle and I'm doused in punishment. I try to hang my four-month old two-dollar plastic bath sponge thing from Walmart back on the suction cup hook above my face, I back into the body wash dispenser and that thing cracks down on the cheap plastic floor of the prefab shower and it makes a sound like a rock hitting my windshield. It all unnerves me and pisses me off. And yet, you wanna know something?  I'm getting used to it in ways that are causing me to kind of dig it.

I mean, fuck it. This is MY shower, right? I could trade this son-of-a-bitch for a herd of goats or even for a wife or something in certain past of the world where people would be happy to step into my little place to clean up. If I could roll this shower in the rainforest or someplace like that, I guarantee you there are people who would want to have sex with me just for the chance to step into my thin/ridiculous shower tube. Either that or they might slit my throat with a sharpened jackyl fang just to take it away from me, but hey. That means it something worth having now, doesn't it?

Maybe I'm looking at it all wrong. Maybe I'm not seeing this shower for all it's worth.

It doesn't matter.

It's all I've got and I ain't giving it up and no one's asking me to and when that's what you realize about the basic elements of your unremarkable experience here living and breathing through a landslide of never-ending days and nights, well, then I see that as a mental breakthrough. I see seeing things like that as growing wiser, getting stronger in the head.

I pop the handles and the water quits. I drip for a sec, my face right at the shower curtain liner, and I can smell my own hot breath for a moment as I prepare for what comes next. The second I pull this curtain, I'm back onstage.

As these shower curtain rings slide and jingle, I will emerge back into the world in a haze of fleeting steam and that'll be the end of that. That'll be the end of me and my time alone for a long time, probably until tomorrow or whatever.

My own breath, breath that has seen the inside of my damaged lungs, breath that has been to a place so intimate to me but that I have never laid eyes on and probably never ever will, I let that exhalation hang there in the miniscule space between my lips and the curtain for a sec before i suck it back inside of me and swallow it back down to my lungs once again.

Because it's mine/Get back in there, bitch/You're my breath/And I still need you.Then I swipe the curtain back with one Hollywood flick of my wrist and I feel so alive for a minute, like a polar bear who just got laid.

It's all so fantastic sometimes, even if it only lasts a few seconds.

And that's it, I guess.

It's early in the morning and I'm on no one's mind as I hit this wide-open world smelling like straight Nivea, whatever the fuck that smells like.