Sleep and I used to have a solid relationship. I worked one job, day work, got home around 5 or 6, ate dinner, watched TV, then went to bed and got my needed 8 hours. Weekends came along and Sleep would slip me an extra hour or two with a wink and a nod. I never took her for granted and she was always there for me. But 2 years ago I had to take new jobs. I started working second shift with another in the early morning. My relationship with Sleep hasn’t been the same since.
I remember that first night getting off at midnight. I poured myself into the car, exhausted, my muscles heavy with fatigue. Sleep drove me home but she took me the long way, by the lake. When we reached the inlet she opened the door and pushed me out, leaving me for dead in the shallow water.
I survived the bitch’s attack. I wanted to recover and return strong like Clint Eastwood in Fistful of Dollars. I was going to show Sleep I didn’t need her. But all my brave talk couldn’t stand up to the rigors of the hours. It was only a few weeks before I was dreaming of death as if I were in the third act of a Shakespeare tragedy.
I was barely getting 6 hours a night. That’s enough for some people. There are folks who only have a casual, friends-with-benefits relationship with sleep. But I needed a commitment. I needed 8 hours a day. I wasn’t going to call her though, not after what she had done to me.
I tried the usual tricks to stay awake like consuming copious amounts of sugar and caffeine while working at night. All that happened was I gained 15 pounds, started seeing a snow shower of glittering lights everywhere I went and believed I was a small woodland creature named Frisky Fritters.
Sleep taunted me. She knew I was jonesing bad. When I would get home from my second job in the morning I’d see her standing across the street in a French maid’s outfit dusting telephone poles which even in my weakened condition I knew was ridiculous. You don’t dust telephone poles; you give them a nice sheen with a can of Pledge. Come one, I know I was tired but I wasn’t a fool.
The lingerie didn’t work so she’s started calling and leaving messages on my answering machine. They’re sexy entreaties to the wonderland of REM sleep and dreams of 13 inch memory foam mattresses with 1500 count Egyptian cotton sheets and full body pillows. I haven’t answered her siren song yet but her voice is so mellifluous; it envelopes me in a cloud. A soft, white, fluffy, drifting cloud that . . .zzzzzzzzzzzz