LIGHTS, SOUNDS, and movement; it was everything I wanted in that moment, and everything I really didn’t need. The lights above me pulsed along with music that was too loud to enjoy, the lyrics completely undecipherable due to an unnecessary amount of bass. The “music” violated my body in thick reverberations, melding in with the dark figures moving and swaying around me. They were all swaying in motion now—or maybe that was the alcohol?

Another drink and they swayed more, a few even wavering as the harsh liquor burned my throat. Yep, definitely the alcohol. I was losing count of how many drinks I’d slammed down, but I still had money in my wallet, so obviously I could keep going.

I knew what I was doing. Not in the sense that I was a practiced professional, but rather in the sense that I had come here specifically to drink my ass into a paid taxi ride home and a barely coherent stumble into something I could sleep on—preferably my own bed, or some kind of cushioned surface in my own home. I’d had a shitty day at work, for starters—such is the life of the call center. To be honest, it had probably been an average day, full of condescending assholes who bitched at you over the phone and coworkers who broke the cardinal rule of not microwaving leftover seafood for lunch. Unfortunately, since it was Thursday, this irritation had been building up since Monday, and an accident on the route I normally take home, which completely stopped all traffic, had only made matters worse. In the end, I decided to come here rather than deal with anything else. I was going to call in tomorrow, anyway. Or maybe I’d quit. Maybe I just wouldn’t go back to my cubicle and leave them wondering what to do with the geeky figurines at my desk. I knew Janice had been eyeing my Pop! figures for a while. She could have them. They were everywhere now and had really gone from being geeky to more mainstream, with more coming out to accompany each new movie. I could always buy others.

Yes, it had been that sort of day.