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!"


If you find any part of this work quoted without credit to the author, please let him know! Thank you. jimhull@jimhull.com



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