Erajj had no problem falling asleep, it was staying asleep that he couldn't quite manage. If only because he was up so early every morning, he was always ready to sleep long before Dazhi or Juke at night. He had toyed with the idea of being a 'morning person', one of those strange humans who want to wake up with the birds, but he couldn't rationalize such an unnatural lifestyle.
And so it was with his usual reluctant acceptance that Ertajj greeted a new morning, this one wetter than most. The squat he shared with his two friends was exposed to the elements and puddles were forming in the more sunken parts of the floor. Dazhi and Juke were asleep, and would be for hours, and so, as Ertajj had neither company nor comfort, he decided to take to the streets and see what sort of day might be brewing.
Three flights down, Ertajj stopped on the stoop of his building to pet a black kitten that had been coming around frequently as of late. The little thing was fiercely independent, which Ertajj appreciated, though their interactions usually ended with the kitten being overstimulated and biting or scratching. After blood had been drawn, Ertajj bid the little demon goodbye and decided to see what shape the beach was in.
He was always so tired in the morning, which was the funny thing. He would love to keep on sleeping, right on through to when society deemed it acceptable to start drinking, around three or four, but his thoughts would never let him. He'd remember some awful fight with his father, some scene of the agony of having grown up in a fast-dying town or other flashing incessantly through his mind. The faster Ertajj was up and moving in the morning, the faster he could escape his memories.
They always seemed to compound, though, until things got so stressful that Ertajj needed a violent change, usually in location. The new stimulus was enough to soothe his overactive mind, but the effect always wore off. Staring at the black waves crashing into the shoreline in the cold downpour, Ertajj realized it would soon be time to mix things up.
As he walked along the stretch of shops and inns along the beach, Ertajj saw the town waking up. Groggy shop-keeps were stumbling around, receiving deliveries and starting the day's soups and breads. Ertajj had looked for early-morning work, something to do with his agitation, but no one was hiring. No one ever seemed to be hiring.
There were perks to being up early, though. Ertajj made his usual stops, first at the bakery where day-old bread was set out for free in huge bags, and then over to a brestle stand, where he knew the operator and always got the last of the first pot, also for free. It had to be dumped out, anyway, the man always told him, even if there was a line of customers and it obviously didn't.
Ertajj took the breakfast back to his squat, as the rain abated. The first rays of the morning sun were just appearing as he threw open the curtains to wake his friends up.
"Wake up, louts!" he cried.
"Ertajj!" Dazhi and Juke cried in unison.
"Wake up, wake up! It's going to be a beautiful day!" Ertajj yelped, pouring dirtied cups full of coffee for everyone. And though he always played the optimist for the public, that day at least, he really felt it might be true.