|Photo Credit: Morguefile by kconnors|
"I set you for 6:30 AM, " I tell it. "And here it is 6:35. What is the problem with you?"
The cell phone remains obdurately silent, a closed coffin glistening ebony and the finality of mysteries unsolved. It makes no more sound than it did five minutes ago. No matter, I suppose. I am up anyway. I am disappointed, though, in the refusal of responsibility inherent in its flat little play-dead.
Virtue rests on the teetering point of decisions to shower deferred. Surely, I think, this can wait. Bedtime plus eight equals 6:30. 6:30 minus shower equals 7:00. Subtract Facebook, email, coffee and the letting out of dogs and you have yourself 7:30. The war begins at 8:00. First shots fired at 7:55 or so with the trudging sound of sleep-stupefied feet. Carafes are bounced, boffed, settled. Clatter arises in the vicinity of the sink. Commotion ensues. When the child awakes, I am enveloped in mustard gas. I lie dying, writhing and clutching my throat. "That's it! I'm not writing anything today!"
Ergo, the shower is off. I look like Medusa before she combs her hair. I've got jammies and a t-shirt, coffee and a pile of live snakes which are nibbling on my ears. Mascara has settled into the cracks of my face. Surely, you say, you've washed that off before you go to bed! Hardly, my friend. At bed, I was chased under my sheets by exhaustion which menaced me with a club. Mascara removal was well out of it. I am starting a small zit farm operation on my face.
I know I'm getting old because I awake now suffering symptoms of anaphylaxis, an allergy to time. My face is somewhat swollen; my skin seems poisoned. It's reacting to the unkind use I put it to, facing the mirror every day. Perhaps, one day my throat will close up and I will collapse on the bathroom floor. My hair is going grey to keep the snake bellies company. I look like someone's grandmother in a crack house, part of anti-drug campaign.
I sleep in my socks. Knee socks with skulls and crossbones, black on white, protecting my feet from the South Pole relocation which has ended up under my sheets. At 3 AM, the climate shifts and becomes tropical. The socks turn into Venus fly traps and start digesting my toes. I pretend that I'm still asleep. Nothing is eating my digits, I mutter. It's dark out. I haven't traversed the number line eight marks. Finally, though, I realize that there will be nothing left of my toes. I bend and release them from the jaws of the socks, and the seam angrily slinks away. "You haven't seen the last of me," it says. I growl.
So, I'm tired from all this activity. My toes still hurt. The snakes on my head are hungry and, tangled into Tantric positions, are trying to eat each other's heads. I open the document I'm working on and read it one more time. Because I'm sleepy, I murder all the characters. I'm sick of them. Let them choke their last on their own blood. Ill-conceived and ill-wrought, stupid, pointless things. I hate people like that, don't you? At some point, you just have to end those relationships that aren't feeding you at all. "You'll never prove I did it. They lived their whole lives in this file!"
Now, I feel just a little bad. If I had showered, things would probably not have had to end this way. The kind of person who has clean hair is much less likely to massacre her imaginary children while no one else is awake. And I would hate to have a mug shot taken while I look this way.
Twelve cups of coffee minus one travel mug equals nine. Time for my second cup. Two cups equals two wholes. I will have had two cups of coffee. 48 fluid ounces equaling two. If I could lift up a small barrel with a lid, I could call it one. Given enough coffee, I will look more like Helen and less like a gorgon any minute now, lack of hygiene aside.
I sip and consider resurrection, the power of Control Z. "No," I think, "Let the dead stay dead. Bring me more characters! If they impress me, I'll let them live." I am a god, or a monster, the necromancer of files. I am just sipping my coffee while fictional characters live out their tortured lives. I will subtract them if they vex me and add them only if they charm. In the end, they have less power over me than socks.