Sitting on the floor of the kitchen, Alex nursed the dregs of the third breakfast vodka. This was the last one of the morning, more because there was no vodka left in the apartment rather than any real desire to stop at just three. At least the pretence of being a fancy Bloody Mary imbiber had fallen away once the celery gone limp in the fridge. It was just vodka neat after that for the last few weeks to get prepared for the outside world. Gently swirling the glass, the final sip coating the inside, running back down in rivulets to coalesce in the bottom, dragging out that final hit, that final kick. Swirling, watching the patterns, the forms that the vodka made, looking like water, but just that bit different from water that there was no fooling. Alex slowly got lost in those patterns, those swirls, that alcohol.
A frown creased the pallid cashier’s forehead. He arched an eyebrow at the man standing in front of him. The man glared back, his eyes glowing like hot embers, a wisp of blue smoke trailing upwards from the top of his head.
Dorothy mentally ran through the checklist. Chin up. Shoulders down. Gaze unchallenging. Brows neutral. An imagined book balanced on the head. This first impression was definitely going to count.