Here in the dark

It’s two forty eight in the morning and Captain Kirk and his landing party are getting ready to attack Spock’s brother who has assembled a rag tag army and taken over the capitol city of the dusty desert planet. The capitol consisted of a single building, a baked mud bar and hotel for travelers who really, really, really got on the wrong flight. I yawned and watched the program with the sound off. I knew what they were saying. I’ve seen the television series episodes and motion pictures multiple times, enough that I could watch with the sound down and kinow exactly who was saying what.

In spite of the movie playing away soundlessly, my room was still dark and appeared to have a brooding quality to it. I decided to anthropomorphize the wall and allow it to discuss any issues openly and safely, with an understandig that the information it gave would not be used later to prosecute most likely. I wondered if my perspective was influenced by the doses of varying bedtime medications. Some of them have cautions about heavy machinery and alcohol use, but one of them recommends laying down on taking it and having yourself restrained for safety due to somnambulation. Apparently people have awakened to find themseves fully dressed and driving somewhere down a freeway while this sleep tonic quietly worked its medical magic. Their eyes and ears were reporting a different set of perceptions, using reality, in part, to reinforce the dream. At least until they woke up disoriented and confused about how they got where they were.

“Hrmf.” I said. “So how do I know that I am not sleep walking and in a virtual world that only mimics reality? Can I be sure that label warning isn’t just something I cooked up in a dream state? After all, I have consumed this drug. That, I deduced, gave me a 50-50 chance not to be dreaming and thus reinforced, I decided to believe my eyes, although I would be keeping my eye on my eyes. The wee hours of the morning cause me many random thoughts as I wait for sleep to overtake me. I check off the final two documents required for the VA home repair grant and sigh that the 17 month process has finally been achieved and now all I have to do is wait for the contractors to show up. I look at the clock and it’s now three twenty am. The television gone dark as its sleep timer counted down nothing. 

I think about my new Sears tractor, dieing in a chuff of black smoke. Sears was great about it. I had a tech show up on the day following my help request. He hopped onto the tractor and cranked it up. The tractor, which refused to even show its lights for us, was sitting there chugging happily. “Are you sure that you put the choke in start position?” asked the tech. He shut off the tractor and was now monkeying with a handheld computer. It printed a two foot long, four inch wide document which he tore loose and presented to me. “Sign right there where it says ‘customer.’ I said I adjusted the carb so they wouldn’t charge you for the trip. I looked at the $136 bill in my hand. 

“Great!” I said, signing the slip. He also adjusted and fixed the drive unit of an older tractor that came with the house, so now I have a lightweight and a heavy duty tractor. I began to imagine how to use them. Maybe mout the plow and the trailer hitch on the little one, and the cutting deck and hitch on the bigger one. All I need now is a utility wagon and I could give miniature hay rides. The clock says 3:29am. I check the shadows for movement. If you see death coming, he has to turn away and come back when you don’t see him. A person can never know the exact moment of their death in the great cosmic scheme, so the actual switch from life to death happens secretly. As if willed my telekinesis there is movement in the shadow. “I see you death!” I say forcefully. You have to take charge immediately with these people. “Turn away!” But the shadow moved gracefully towards me and from it materialized my wife’s cat, Eva. She’s black with a white eye patch and back boots. I petted the cat and welcomed it. The cat accepted a few strokes and a scratch before sauntering toward the door and again disappearing into shadow. “Meow. ” I said. 3:31 said the clock.

I sleep on memory foam. I like it well enough; which is to say almost anything else is too hard for me. I roll from my bak to my side and remember two years ago when I did that and broke two ribs. The bedclothes had bunched into a tight pile, and so as I rolled over it, all of my weight was focused on the few inch width of the knotted blanket. My ribs broke almost immediately in response to the insult and the pain was so severe that breathing was difficult. I desperately wanted to take a deep breath, but pain would stop me mid-inhale. I felt claustrophobic and like I was suffocating. I stopped my roll and felt behind me for the blanket –which was pushed off the side of the bed and hung to the floor. I finished my roll and decided I didn;t like that position and rolled again to my back. I managed to make the round trip without incident. The clock said 3:39.

My eye was caught by the movement of a helicopter that hangs above my bed. Some small air current had set it slowly turning its rotor and wagging its tail in a serpentine slow motion. I began to count the turns of the rotor, seeing how many I could count before I had to blink. The clock said 8:14am. I had eggs and toast for breakfast, but it won’t help. I’ll be tired all day.