His eyes opened and for a brief moment he thought he’d died in the night and gone to hell. He sat bolt upright. Big mistake, his head started to rotate clockwise like a spinning coin that was finally coming to rest. He slumped back onto the bed. His head hurt. No that didn’t even come close to describing it. His head felt as though it was on fire. What the fuck had he been drinking last night?
He remembered being with his best mate Big Tone and having a few pints in the Old Anchor pub. He also remembered Flash Dave joining them and ordering everyone large gin and tonics. Oh yes, now it was coming back to him. Flash Dave brought someone with him. Some pratt named Bubbles who pulled out a wad of notes and insisted on buying a few bottles of champagne to celebrate. What was he celebrating? The fact that it was a Thursday. Wanker!
He stood up. He was still fully clothed. There was an unpleasant smell in the room. A burning smell. Maybe he’d cooked something before he’d passed out?
He found his way to the bathroom. He needed to piss. Some of it went where it was supposed to but most of it hit the bathroom carpet. God this was the hangover from hell. He didn’t feel sick but his head felt like it belonged to someone else. His forehead was burning up, his left cheek was numb and his eyes were watering so much that he thought he might actually be crying. Maybe this wasn’t a hangover. Maybe he’d caught a chill or something. No, no, don’t be silly. Just too much alcohol, that’s all.
Coffee. That’s what he needed. Strong black coffee.
Three cups later and he still felt no better.
A shower. Yep that would do the trick. A cold one. That would cool his burning head.
Ten minutes in an ice cold shower did give him some relief. But the headache came back. Now it seemed worse than before.
Bloody cocktail of booze had done this to him. Lager, then a few shots of liquorice Sambuca, gin and tonics, followed by glass after glass of Moet was not a recipe for waking up feeling great. Now he knew why Flash Kenny’s mate was called Bubbles!
He looked out of the window. The weather was foul. A cross between driving rain and snow. A kind of cold mushy mess was falling. But it was hot in the flat. Extremely hot just the way he liked it. He remembered turning up the thermostat before he left for the pub yesterday. Maybe now he should turn it down a bit. Save on the bills. He touched the radiator underneath the window. It was as if he’d put his fingers into an electrical socket. Fuck, that’s hot!
He walked over to the one by the bed. It was also red hot. What the fuck was stuck to it? He knelt down to have a closer look. That’s when he saw it. That’s when everything fell into place.
No, no way, no fucking way!
He ran to the bathroom and looked into the mirror.
It looked like a giant birthmark covering one side of his face. Red. Raw. But this was no port-wine stain. Oh no, this was more of a Beaujolais nouveau stain. Bright, red, angry!
The substance stuck to the radiator was his own skin. Burned off during the night when he’d collapsed and passed out with his head pressed up against it.
He was in shock. He picked up his phone and dialled 999.
“Ambulance please. I think I’ve just burnt the side of my face off….”