The man reluctantly lifted his arm, fumbled around on his bedside table, then flipped off his alarm. With the alarm off, the glorious sounds of another spectacular day greeted him: the deep hiss of a garbage truck’s hydraulics, the insistent mewling of his apparently starving cat, the dying cackle of a rainfall-scented candle he had left burning all night to avoid smelling his unwashed boxers first thing, and the neighborhood kids’ high pitched giggles as one of the boys shared a porn magazine he found under his dad’s bed. The man wondered if there was a more majestic way to awaken then to the sound of preteen girls embarrassed outbursts of, “Boners!” He couldn’t think of more than a thousand.
Insistent sunlight peeked through his yellow and green striped curtains – a gift from his last fuck buddy who hated the sun tickling her nose at six a.m. He rolled off the bed; a giant nude peach slowly bending down a bottom branch until it just rolls onto the ground. On hands and knees he looked in on his chubby belly. He was pleasantly surprised that another day had arrived without his balls hanging lower than his stomach – according to popular myth, they should have already been dragging the carpet at his age. He also had thought that unexplained morning erections would have gone by the wayside, but he supposed there were just some things men didn’t outgrow.
His cat rubbing against his naked thigh made him uncomfortable and he stood up. The last thing he needed was for his judgmental neighbors to have yet another piece of gossip to chew over. “Did you hear about the guy in 8508? Now he’s into bestiality and makes his poor little kitty rub up against his junk every morning!” Anger urging him forward, he staggered into the bathroom. His left arm lifted the toilet seat while he pressed his right against the wall to hold himself up. He stood there for several moments, thinking thoughts designed to wither any sex drive his dreams had conjured (his mom in a BDSM scene did the trick pretty quick) until finally he started to piss. He refused to grab himself to aim, instead shifting his hips this way and that to make sure the stream stayed in the bowl. Real men didn’t need to hold on to take care of business… that’s what his father had always said.
A five-minute shower, a quick brush of the teeth, and a methodical shave finished off his ritualistic grooming. Male pattern baldness had shaved two minutes off the ritual, and he reminded himself of that one benefit every morning in the mirror. He walked back to his bedroom dripping wet, seeing no need to dirty a towel when he was alone. He needed to hurry – the bus would be at the stop in fifteen, and this was not a day he wanted to be late to work. He squeezed himself into a bright yellow leotard, cursing at himself for eating those three cheeseburgers yesterday. He managed to get the zipper up, pulled on his red spandex crotch cover, and clipped on his cape. A fresh pair of tube socks fit on his feet before the thigh high red leather boots – sure the guys at work made fun of him for the socks, but they kept him from getting blisters when a speeding train pushed him back fifty yards. Finally, his mask. With that in place, he finally felt like himself.
He was running out of time, so he decided to leave without a lunch. He’d just fly over to Bangkok and get some pad thai from that street vendor he liked. He picked up his briefcase with the latest criminal activity reports, turned on his alarm system, and walked out. The morning was peaceful now that the school children had been herded to a distant building. A few of his neighbors gave a half-hearted wave, but he just ignored them as he walked to the bus stop. Always polite to his face, but ready to spout tabloid drivel about Sarcastiman behind his back. He reached the bus stop just as the bus was pulling up and stepped on. The driver, Sheila, smiled and gave her usual flirtatious greeting. He responded in kind, even though Sheila was much too skinny for his personal taste. He sat about halfway down the bus, next to a young woman who smelled faintly of lemon, jasmine, and discarded tampons and a man who tried to stealthily pick his nose every two minutes. He was about to take his typical thirty minute nap when he was snapped upright by a terrible realization. The world was in terrible danger, but it wasn’t the work of his arch-nemesis, Lord Manners…
He had forgotten to feed his cat.