The mornings are so frosty at the moment that it's nice to just stay in bed a little longer and stay warm under the blankets. Even so, I was surprised when I eventually got up and went to the dining room and looked at the clock on the wall.
"You're in your dressing gown," said one of the orderlies.
"Of course I'm in my dressing gown," I said. "I always wear my dressing gown in the mornings."
"But it's nearly lunchtime," he said.
"Listen, James," I said, "I don't need you to tell me what time it is. I think I've earned that right. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get my tray and select my breakfast."
There wasn't much left. I had some cornflakes but the full milk was empty so I had to settle for lite. The only bread remaining was crusts but someone had slowed the belt speed of the toaster and they came out a little burnt. There was one rasher of bacon and two mushrooms.
"You can't sit here," said James. "We need to get the tables ready for lunchtime."
"I jolly well can sit here and will sit here," I said. I sat down and ate my breakfast. He stood beside me and waited. I took my time. I could hear him cracking his knuckles but I paid him no mind; stupid boy.
I got up a bit late again and when I got to the dining room the door was locked. A sign read, CLOSED TILL LUNCHTIME.
I wandered into the games room. Even on an empty stomach, I can whip anyone who dares to take me on at anything. I found an opponent for table tennis. My top spin was devastating; it takes years of practice to brush the ball just so, it's like the gentlest caress, a ship that passes in the night and it spells death. It's never failed me yet. It always gets me through. Always, always.
The door to the dining room was open. I'd missed breakfast but that was okay, a big lunch would set things right. I took my tray but it was snatched away from me. "You can't come in here dressed like that," said James.
"How dare you," I said.
"All residents have to wear day clothes at lunchtime. You know the rules, don't you?" he said. "Do you? Do you know the rules?"
I tried telling him my dressing gown was made from the finest quality but he interrupted and said, "Do you know the rules?"
I tried telling him that my dressing gown had been worn at state functions but he interrupted and said, "Do you know the rules?"
The clock struck 1pm. One of the nurses took me aside and gave me a glass of water and two small white pills.
"What's this?" I said.
"It's the rules," she said.
Had enough. Stayed in bed. Hunger strike. They can't push me around. I can go where I want and when I want. I won't go anywhere if I don't want. That's the way I've lived my life and that's the way I've gone about my career, too. They don't keep me waiting. I keep them waiting. I keep them guessing, too. And you know why that is?
I make the rules.
Hunger drove me out of bed and into the dining room for a full breakfast. Back in my room, I groomed myself and looked immaculate when I went back to the dining room for a full lunch.
Afterwards, I wandered into the games room. They all scattered. I picked up a table tennis bat and practised my top spin. Beautiful the way the ball came back towards the net, as though it were obeying my will.
Suddenly the ball came rocketing over the net and beyond my reach.
I looked up.
"Good afternoon, Mr Peters," said James. "Fancy a game?"