going on at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday.
awake and the world's asleep. So I gotta find things to do.
nights, I jump in the car. Push the pedal to the floor. Windows down,
around blind curves. Wrong side of the road. Never knowing who might be racing
to meet me. That's the rush.
stay home. Drink a cup of warm milk. Drift back to sleep. Be all fresh and
ready when the alarm goes off. Nice visual, huh?
them all. Milk. Chamomile. Whiskey. Demerol.
work. More or less. But nothing lasts.
See, falling asleep is easy. But staying
there? Two, three hours tops, and I'm wide awake. Feeling like I've never slept
So out I
stores are filled with colorful wonders. So many things to ponder. Like, can
anybody really tell when a juice box has been opened? Which pills look just
like bulk-bin Skittles? What happens to a donut sprinkled with drain cleaner?
to occupy the wee hours of my morning.
I used to
get eight, nine hours of sleep. Every night. Loved my bed, couldn't wait to
climb under the covers and burrow in. A long, sweet recharge.
a whole 'nother lifetime. Might as well be a dream.
My bed's a
dark seductress, luring me into her soft embrace. She caresses and teases,
promises comfort. But within her linens, she hides a torture rack. Within her
pillows, an iron mask.
I know her
games, yet succumb to them nightly, slipping between cool sheets that I know
will soon be basted in my sweat. What choice do I have? I cannot avoid her.
nights, I see another shopper. Up and down the aisles we go. I'm never too
close. Never too far away either. Looking at the same things they are. Picking
the same cans and boxes from the shelves. By the time they hit the exit,
up every time.
I wonder —
as I lay awake in the quiet darkness — if death will offer me sleep at last.
The sweet release a bullet might bring, a shock to the skull that leads to the
rest I so desperately crave.
of course. In hell I'll be awakened every night. Forever.
The desire to sleep is constant, but it hits
hardest when I first go to bed, and one other time. Right as my workday begins.
before most folks have even hit snooze — when I've already been awake for hours
— I pull out of the garage and begin my daily rounds.
bright yellow bus.
Kurt Hohmann (www.kurthohmann.com) tells stories, builds altars to ancient
gods, and crafts mad culinary experiments. He and his wife share a home with
two living cats, six feline ghosts, and one affectionate python. His tales have
been featured in Schlock Webzine, Commuter Lit, Black Petals,
Aphelion, Half Hour to Kill, Yellow Mama, Literally Stories,
Dark Fire, Bookends Review, and Eternal Haunted Summer.