The night was cold. The kind of cold that moved into your bones and took up permanent residence. The kind of cold that stings and tries to put out your cigarettes as soon as you light them. I fought that cold the whole way to my office, the same way a drunk might fight off the spins, just hoping to put up with it for one more second at a time. By the time I got downtown, I pushed the key into the downstairs lock and it felt like my fingers would shatter like ice. After a quick push, the door gave with a creak that was not unlike my bones when I first sat up in the morning, every day at noon. I walked up the same stairs I walked every other day, laughing to myself about how I used to love this gig. About how every day was like a gift, and now it’s like a curse. I wanted this world, and I pulled myself into it, and now it was eating me alive. How fitting. I reached the door of my office and gazed again at my shitty painting job. Figured I would paint my name on the door, save myself a couple bucks. Well, the money I saved I spent on booze before I even started painting, and the jagged edges of my lettering on the door made that fact very clear. Good thing I am dead inside, and feel no shame, or this would still embarrass me everyday, the way it used to when I still felt things. I pushed the door open and let it swing slow, like the mouth of some giant hippo, about to swallow me whole for another twelve hours. “The belly of the beast” I muttered to myself as I walked in to my sterile work space, mocking me in the same voice it had just a day before as I readied to leave. I know that voice, I thought. That’s my voice.