Thursday, July 19, 2012


Henry woke with a powerful thirst burning in his throat. It felt like he had been crawling through the desert in his dreams. He tried to clear his throat but he nearly choked on the sudden rush of saliva that filled his mouth. He smacked his lips and tried again to relieve the dryness in his throat.

He got out of bed, still working on his dryness as he gathered his things for the morning ritual; underwear from the top drawer, tee-shirt from the middle dresser drawer and then back to socks in the top drawer. Henry gathered these items and laid them out on the bed. He cleared his throat again but there was still a serious scratchiness he couldn’t get rid of.

He went to the bathroom and turned the handle for the hot water in the shower. He just needed to gargle with some water and soak up a lot of it. He didn’t think he was that dehydrated. He’d only had three beers last night with some of the boys. It took Henry a second to realize that the water had not come out of the spigot.  He cleared his throat again and it seemed like he’d just been eating crackers and sand.  He reached down and tried the hot water handle again and got nothing. He turned it off and tried the cold water handle and a burp of air escaped but no water.

Henry turned to the bathroom sink and tried both the hot and cold water. There was another rumble of escaping trapped air, but no water. Henry cursed but the sound of his voice was reminiscent of his pubescent voice cracking. Henry went to his kitchen and tried the water at that sink. He flipped up the handle and a deep farting noise came from somewhere in the water pipes and then nothing. Henry flipped the handle up and down several times but nothing worked. There was no water.

Henry’s throat was burning now. The saliva he’d built up just wasn’t working. It felt like he had been chewing on glass through the night. Henry went to his refrigerator and checked inside. All he had on the shelves was ketchup, mustard, garlic pickles, a half eaten brownie from two weeks ago and an empty milk container. The water purifier had stopped working ages ago and he never thought to replace it.

Henry closed the fridge door and went back to the sink. He tried the handle again but nothing came out. His throat was feeling closed and he started to have a little trouble breathing. His breaths were mere whistles and rattles. He felt himself starting to panic a little and that only made things worse. He tried to swallow again and this time there was a serious searing pain scraping and dragging all the way down his throat. It felt like a like a small space ship was using a claw on Henry’s esophagus to moor itself to the barren and hostile landscape.

Henry thought he should maybe check the television, perhaps there was some sort of water crisis or emergency. He went to the living room and turned the TV on. Static and color bars and more static flickered across the various channels. Now he was deeply concerned. Henry’s throat was on fire now and he felt desperate for water, for any liquid.  

He went to the window and pulled up the blinds. Ferocious light filled the room and an intense heat blasted Henry. He tried to shield his face but his arm started smoldering in the intense illumination. He took a quick glance at the outside world smothered in white hot flames. He tried to swallow but all his spit was gone. There was a flash and Henry’s wall disappeared along with Henry and the contents of his front room. 

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