on a good day

jeordie • winter/spring 2017

 

The right song makes you either forget everything or remember everything.

The voice of The Judds wakes you up, but it fails to bring back the good old days.

A stomach full of sleeping pills can be interpreted as a sign of surrender.

Waking after 14 hours can be seen either as a miracle or a law of biology.

If you can smell the vomit on the bed, you will find that you are not as sleepy as you think you are.


A trip to the living room can be strenuous when you forget where you are.

You sit at the table. The bottle of pills and the bottle of gin are your only friends.

You don’t remember days, but you remember moments.

The pile of bills reminds you that money can provide you with more than happiness.

The picture of you and your ex-wife reminds you how fast someone can become a total stranger.

The birthday card from your son reminds you that sometimes you are not the loneliest person in the world.

These items on the table remind you of the battle you are ready to surrender.

The impulse of climbing up on the roof to see if you could fly is not a pure fancy of childish curiosity.

The hotel closest to your home is a tall enough building to try.

You stand in front of the counter.

The empty lobby of the hotel connects with some of your worst nightmares.

“How are you doing today, sir?” The gap in her genuine smile fails to impart any emotion.

It is a smart decision to speak as little as possible.

Every word has consequences. So does silence.

“209.” A key is torn from the wall. “That’ll be $100.”

“Uh. Excuse me.” You wonder if your stutter denotes either a disposition of social awkwardness or a clumsy attempt at concealing something.

If she were leerier, the sudden pause and the question “Is there a higher room?” would reveal your intentions.

“Like, 904?”


The gloom falling on the hotel’s corridor may or may not be a figment of your imagination.

People have no idea how beautiful darkness is.

Room number 904 seems to be the only source of light on this floor.

Standing in front of the door for too long can invoke attention.

You think you have time, and that is always a problem.

“Goodnight.” A maid walking by smiles at you before you open the door.

“Goodbye.”


The perfect room for you right now is a room where you are alone.

You take a last look at the cellphone. There are two unread messages from your boy.

“I need some advice, Dad.”

Picking up the phone sometimes takes courage.

You have a thousand words to say to your son, and a thousand reasons to avoid them.

You drop the phone before reading the second message.

Saying goodbye is too painful a way to solve problems.

You grab a cash-stuffed envelope from your suit pocket.

“To my lovely son and my ex-wife,” is what you wrote.

You cross out “and my ex-wife.”

You take off your watch to put it in the envelope.

You convince yourself that another 20 bucks should be able to make up for the ring you cannot bring yourself to wriggle off your finger.

Licking the envelope is not the most pleasant part of writing the last will.

There isn’t a stunning view from the ninth floor; perhaps there will be one after a minute.

To die with dreams is slightly worse than to die with memories.

Jumping off a building may be easier than opening up a stuck window.

The crackling coming from your back contributes to the thought that you are not as young as you once were.

The fact that nobody files a complaint about the screams coming from your room substantiates the quality of the soundproof material.

Passing out on the bed is not a part of the plan.


You dangle your hand for the phone at your bedside.

“Look at what happens when you get violent.” You remember that was what you used to tell your boy when he came back from a four-hour detention.

“At least violence is honest.” You remember how your boy used to talk back. You never really hated it.

How the mother may have intervened in this father-and-son conversation should be disregarded given the past.

The phone rumbles.

There is still work to be done.

You lie down for another 20 minutes, or maybe 40.

You cannot complain about the bed.


You answer the door before the fourth knock.

“Hello, sir.” The concierge gives a big yawn while holding a radio in front of the door.

“Did you call room service?”

A silent nod.

“Thank god. It would be a disaster if I knocked on the wrong door at this time of night.”

You look at your watch and find only its imprint in your arm.

“Any other things I can help you with?”

“Uh yes, actually.” You take a look at the bathtub and the radio.

“What’s the voltage on this thing?”


The water is ready.

The correct sequence is to turn on the radio before you lie in the tub.

In theory, taking a bath helps stop the headache for a short time.

In theory, the right song makes you either forget everything or remember everything.

It is “Walk on By” by Leroy Van Dyke that is playing when you close your eyes and put the radio in the water.

It is “Stupid Cupid” by Connie Francis that is playing when you wake up after a few hours.

You are trembling.

Your mind now is a wonderland, but you are not sure where the map is.

You are not sure whether time is passing by or running you over.

You are not sure about anything.

You are hungry.


You sit at the hotel restaurant bar.

The soggy clothes are likely the reason why everyone is looking at you. 

The image of the bartender standing in front of you is growing more and more unclear.

It is not a bad idea to say something while you’re able.

“A classic burger, please.”

“It’s been a rough morning, huh?”

You put down the menu.

You hold back the impulse to open your mouth.

You start chuckling while holding your mouth.

You start laughing and hitting the table.

She seems amazed at first, but then she joins in the laughter.

You cannot tell if the clock on the wall really stops working.

You are surprised by what’s flowing before your eyes.

“You’re funny!” She dishes over the burger. It feels great to smile without a reason.

“Thank you.” You take the first bite of the burger.

You wonder about the pistol in your pocket.


JEORDIE is a Taiwanese writer who came to the United States in 2015. Besides his first published work, “On a Good Day,” his other short stories include “Simpson” and “It’s Not Too Late to Rain.” He is currently working on his first novel, Smells Ugly. His Chinese name is Dar-Jiunn Chou, but he prefers to be called Jeordie.