WHY I COULDN'T SLEEP THAT NIGHT
Copyright © 1999, 2015 by Jim Hull
(Please cite the author if you quote from this work)
Sometimes it just happens all at once.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was shopping for shoes at a department store in a mall. I didn't find any shoes, but I noticed the background music was "Fly Me to the Moon." I think it was Tony Bennett. They had the sound turned down so you couldn't quite hear the lyrics, and I got to wondering, "Is it 'Let me play among the stars' or 'Let me wish upon a star'?" I made a mental note to find out.
That weekend I was at my girlfriend's house, coming down with a cold. She didn't want to kiss me - I didn't blame her - but she also didn't want to do anything else, either, as if I could infect her simply by... oh, never mind. We turned in early - well, midnight is pretty early for me - so I could get plenty of rest against my illness, and I and my little viruses quickly fell asleep.
I awoke around 3:30 a.m. The back of my throat was draining, and all the swallowing made it hard for me to get back to sleep. Because I normally sign off quite late, my early retirement this night acted like a nap, and I was now wide awake. Meanwhile, the guy upstairs was talking in a drone. I threw a pillow over my head.
At 5:40 I noticed I was sweating under the pillow and tossed it aside. I also had acquired a sinus headache. The guy upstairs was still yammering away, the low tones of his voice rumbling relentlessly into the room, and I realized there were people who not only went to bed later than I, they talked all the way down. I reasoned that if I aimed carefully I could use the sound of his voice, shoot through the ceiling, and hit him. But I didn't have a gun.
At this point the cat sat down on the floor next to the bed and began laboriously and noisily licking its rear end. I wondered for a moment whether I could strangle him and make it look like he'd finally died of old age. Moments later a car alarm went off outside. Simultaneously it began to rain, and I thought of my car - parked on the street - and its leaky window that would shortly give entry to a stream of rainwater into the trunk.
I crouched on my knees on the mattress, the top of my head buried in a pillow. My girlfriend stirred. "You okay?" she murmured.
I said, "Well, since you ask... My throat hurts, I have a headache, the guy upstairs is still talking, a car alarm just went off, it's raining and my car is filling up, and your cat is making disgusting self-cleaning sounds."
She suppressed a laugh.
I went on, "But you know what the worst of
it is? I can't get 'Fly Me to the Moon' out of my head!"
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