Tony is lying in Mark’s guest bedroom. He examines the walls around him, and he notices how the paint on the right wall is slightly chipped. The glass clock hanging in front of him is dirty, and the top right corner of the ABBA poster, which is hanging to the left of him, is ripped. This room, just like his life, is a mess. Tony stares at the dirty clock and realizes it is time to get up. He pushes himself out of the rock hard bed, and puts on a blue robe that has seen better days.
In the kitchen Mark is sitting at the table eating cereal, and he waves hello as Tony strolls in. “Your bed is so hard,” Tony says, because he wants to complain about something. “You shouldn’t have let Jill keep the apartment,” Mark replies, and he takes a sip of his orange juice. “Drop it,” Tony says, and starts to wash a bowl because there are no clean cereal bowls in the apartment.
Tony has always been proud of himself because of his ability to save money, and now that he is practically homeless, Tony feels proud that he has enough saved up to live an indefinite amount of time in an extended stay hotel. However, the idea of being completely alone, upsets Tony more than the image of Jill making love to another man; and although Tony did not want to be alone, he also did not want to sour his friendships with his bitterness. Living with Mark seemed like a perfect solution. He imagined them drinking beers every night, staring at the game on TV, and having a competition about who has the most annoying Ex. After living with his brother for two weeks, the only part of the fantasy that became true was the alcohol consumption (but not even the type of alcohol). Now Tony wishes he had spent his hard-earned money at a hotel, because when his brother got drunk, he seemed to have a psychic ability to read his thoughts.
Two nights ago Mark informed Tony that he was pathetic for letting Jill have the apartment. “She cheats on you, breaks up with you, and you are the one who has to look for a new place to stay. That’s ridiculous,” Mark told Tony.
“I’m just being a gentleman, like the way you are with Liz,” Tony replied, and he had hoped the mention of Liz would change the subject. Mark tended to rant anytime a word which even sounded like Liz was said.
“Liz never cheated on me. Not to mention you aren’t doing this to be nice. You are hoping she’ll get bored with this mystery man, and that she will come running back to you. Admit it. You hope she will remember how chivalrous you were about the apartment, that she will realize she threw a good thing away, and beg you to come back. And of course you’ll run back. Ridiculous!”
“The only thing ridiculous is this theory,” Tony replied angrily, and went into the guest room, slamming the door as soon as both feet were inside. However, Mark had been completely right. Every moment that Tony is not working or drinking, he imagines Jill calling him back and asking for forgiveness. As Tony pours the milk over his cereal his phone rings, and for about ten seconds he gets excited, but when he looks at his caller id, he sees that it’s his mom who is calling. He does not pick up the phone, because even though his mom has too much tact to say this out loud, Tony realizes that she probably also thinks he is pathetic.