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Sobriety finds O’Rourke in a desultory funk. Having missed his flight, misplaced his passport, mismanaged the issue of luggage (collected and stored by management when he failed to re-register), Dad is without a room, a country, a change of clothes or a minimal stock of toiletries. Temples throbbing like tom-toms, tongue ensconced in fur, beard a steel-wool outcrop, eye-whites jaundiced and a-crawl with spider-web-like blood vessels, his outward appearance, in the fuel station's restroom mirror, reflecting an inward countenance even worse, marred as by attrition from lies he told his wife:

"Overslept, Flo. Damnedest phenomenon. Watch alarm could have hack-sawed through my wrist; wouldn’t have felt a thing. Dead to the world, I was. Crossing that International Dateline, I guess, finally did me in."

"No, not yet. I also seem to have 'mislaid' my barcode and passport. The former less a pain to replace than the latter. Long and short of it is, I’ll not be home directly."

Or ever, at my current backsliding rate. Why does finishing a job commence this onslaught of existential apathy? Done. With what; with life itself because a contract is fulfilled, a mission accomplished, like an assignment turned in at school? I used to feel that work upon completion meant time for R & R, that duty’s drudgery done was rewarded by fun ‘n’ games. Age has made me lose the knack for childlike exuberance. Sad, that. Criminal when inflicted on a spirit as young as Flo’s. Better off without me, I do believe she’d be. Need a break myself from the chore of being a rotten partner—Jesus, Joseph, and Mary, a drunkard’s rant is dull. Either open my veins and be done with it, or cut the crap and cope. Who said "aging isn’t for sissies"? Give him a pint... then send the bugger packing.

Performing what ablutions water without soap (or paper towels) can afford, Dad attempts to make himself presentable: mostly to the concierge whom he vaguely recalls insulting, who denied him access to his bags (not surprisingly; it was 4 a.m.), who suggested Dad "walk it off" likewise denying him access to a room (all booked allegedly), and who might, come to think of it, be off by the time Dad gets back from his bum’s-rush 'constitutional.'

5:45 on a Monday morning ought to mean coffee available within a 15 minute walk in any direction.

Emerging from the service station’s cramped (and filthy) facilities, Dad regains his bearings—Courtney Place—navigates sluggishly, steadily, now speedily upon spotting his 'salvation'—an establishment  not only open but aptly named "The Espressoholic Café."

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