White yawned and staggered into the bathroom, careful to shut the dooor before he turned on the light in case it woke Beryl. He stared in the medicine-cabinet mirror as he urinated, his thoughts serenaded by a steady stream of musty-smelling urine. He looked rough. The morning beard didn't help. He was fifty-five and was proud of hie still-dark hair, so why was his beard stubble grey? Five hours sleep used to be enough for him but not any more.
He shook the last drops of urine away and peered out of the window. Was that a lighter patch of clouds to the east? He couldn't tell through the bubbled bathroom glass. He'd be lucky to see sunlight at all with all the rain they had last night.
It took a few seconds for the hot tap to run anything but ice cold water, but once it turned tepid he dropped in the plug and lathered his hands. Face, neck and ears, then arms, chest and armpits. No time for a full shower this morning. It took an hour for the water to heat up. Beryl usually put it on for him when she got up but he was awake first. He rinsed off with a flannel dipped in the luke-warm water, towelled and shaved. No matter how urgent the business, as three in the morning everything bar a hostage situation could wait. He dried off and returned to the bedroom to dress by feel with only the light from the clock to identify a clean shirt from the dirty one. Yesterday's tie was still in a loop for ease of use.
He risked a light in the kitchen to boil a kettle for tea. Beryl had bought travel mugs for him to use and while he mourned the passing of the humble policeman's thermos, he appreciated the convenience of a mug you could drink with one hand on the wheel. He refilled the kettle and stuck a scribbled note for Beryl on the handle, picked up his keys and was away by three-twenty. Not bad for old copper.
Ah! There was a patch of lighter cloud, after all.