Small birds chirp pleasantly outside, and a little farther away, a pair of crows sing a dissonant song. The sunlight breaks through the vertical blinds and strikes the bed to begin its march toward my shuttered eyelids.


I’m not getting out of this bed until I hear the beeping from the iPhone strategically located next to the coffee pot. I deserve to stay in bed just a little longer. Even if it’s just 15 minutes, that might even be enough time to squeeze in one last anxiety dream. My favorite involves me biting off my fingers in a futile effort to save my teeth from grinding one another into fine paste.

On second thought, I think I’d prefer the one where I’m back in college but I’ve not gone to class all semester and I’m trying to find it the last couple of sessions in a desperate effort to pass.

You know what? I’ll just skip dreaming. Hopefully, it’s more than just 15 minutes.

It’s all fading away. The bed, the window, the sun, the birds, none of it exists anymore. I’m —

She materializes at the foot of the bed, that striped, fuzzy, pink-nosed bastard. She walks alongside me. I ignore it. The bedroom is dematerializing. I’m passing into the dream world. I’m —


“No, you can wait for your food. Go away.”

I can’t hear her, but I know she’s there. She’s 10 years old and getting that bony old cat back. Gone are the days when I could sail her head over tail across the room like a fuzzy cosmonaut. I might hurt her now. She knows this.


This time it’s not as friendly. She’s gotten worse since we switched her to wet food. It’s like cocaine for cats, and she wants her fix.

“Please, go away,” I say, as if she understands or cares. “I implore you. I’m so tired. This could be an entire hour before I have to get up.”

She headbutts me softly. A few moments pass. I hear her purring. She approaches and rubs the top of her head across my face. I gently push her off the bed.

Darkness consumes me. I fall into the gaping maw of …

She has put her paw into my mouth. I wonder how clean that paw is. I probably have that weird cat brain parasite. That’s probably why I’m so tired all the time.

“Get out! I’ll take you to the pound. I swear to God. I’ll pay extra for the crueler euthanasia.”

She’s walking alongside me toward the foot of the bed. Soon, she will begin to bite my toes. For a quasi-old cat, she’s got really sharp teeth.

Darkness. Just five minutes of darkness. That’s all I ask, God.

The iPhone sings its wicked tune. The cat, upon hearing the phone, has rumbled out of the bedroom like a buffalo, meowing her way down the hall. I can’t believe I pay $30 of rent a month for her. Ingrate.

I put one foot on the floor. Then the other.

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