Tick tock. Tick tock. The clock is hypnotic, yet altogether pointless. It counts down my life, but it too will die. By the time I wake, it’s already afternoon, and by the time I feel alive, the town is bathed in moonlight. A hangover makes way for hunger, and hunger is drowned by wine. Peering out the window, I see people as graves, the lines carved into their faces etched as if in stone. Their dreams reduced to the weeds you find buried beneath garden sheds long since dilapidated and consumed by whatever god it is that consumes old sheds. Chatter rises—empty promises descending like a fine, winter mist. I’m engrossed by nausea. Consumed by confusion. There are chairs missing. The deck is not complete. Two shadows emerge from a blank mass at the end of the street. The smell of their dope reaches me through the cracks in the cement surrounding the windows of my cell. Their faces have features, but none resonate. Their equivalents in the favela already riddled with holes. Mutilated, humiliated, and set alight on some skanky beach before it’s time to watch the repeat of Neighbours with a microwaveable meal. I pick out the peas then flick them into the rat cage. The rats flick them back. They want something meaty. They, like me, enjoy KFC. Anything less is an attack on their sense of good taste. In between mouthfuls, I feel the universe stretching like a balloon. It’s in my chest, as light as air and as heavy as the sense of loss born from the death of that last childhood Christmas.