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So I Got Up Late ...

Short story By: Wilbur
Literary fiction



Weird. Very weird. Reality or dream. Dream or reality. You guess.


Submitted:Feb 9, 2012    Reads: 30    Comments: 7    Likes: 2   


So I Got Up Late ...

So, I got up late and didn't have breakfast until 10:15 PM, reading the morning away. After finishing one book and starting another, I ate my lunch at I:30 PM, reading as I ate. When I finished that book - a light bit of science fiction - I began fixing my supper. It was almost 5 PM.

As I set the table, I picked up an old copy of Dune and put it there as well. It would accompany me at my meal and then take me through the evening. Hopefully right through to when I turned off the light and settled for sleep. It would do. Or it wouldn't.

Only, when my food was ready, I wasn't hungry. I looked at it and thought t'hell with it. No reading now, either. I'd just give it up and get ready for bed. It wasn't full dark yet, but it would be soon. Anyway, I thought as I got undressed, it was better to try dreaming. Dreams were all that remained of anything like normal these days. Normal -- a normal life lived only in my dreams. A fine state of affairs. And as to normal? Even the dreams ... oh well.

But my plan didn't work that easily. A short while later I gave up and got up. Sleep was eluding me. Again. What was happening and when had it started? I pushed the step-stairs over to the bureau. Climbing up, I tried to see myself. But couldn't. I was too short, even with the help of the step-stairs. Wow. I'd moved into this place only 4 months ago and I was too tall then to be able to see myself in this mirror. Now I was too short?

Climbing down, I pushed the steps over to the windows. Once up, I looked out. Maybe it was the government, fooling around with everything. Like shortening the days. Maybe I was shrinking with them.

Night was fully fallen now. Lit only by moon and stars. Everything else being dark, they gave more light. Enough to see the darkened windows and empty streets. It was beautiful, of course. Deserted and almost mysterious. But only if you didn't know the reasons behind it all. Also, with a curfew running from 6 PM to 8 AM, it was safer to stay inside. And shut everything down and try to sleep. Maybe to dream. Dream of life the way it used to be? Not exactly. But, more normal. Normal -- huh, a lost art. Or science.

Sighing, I backed down off the step-stairs, setting them aside before climbing back into my bed. I WILL sleep, I thought, pushing deeply into my pillows. Allowing everything to relax, I worked at letting go of everything. Everything but the darkness behind my eyes.

Waking slowly, as if rising to the surface, I heard the clock radio spouting news of traffic jams and back-ups on both Route 34 and Road A. Well, it was only a little after half past six. The sun was already bright, the sky blue. I had plenty of time to get to work by 8 AM if I took the ring road.

I took a few minutes to think back on my dream. Short! I should be so lucky. All my life people have been asking me to reach that down or put that up. I am always the one at the back of every photograph. The one who has to shop specialty catalogs for my clothing.

Fortunately this bed is as long as I am, and I can stretch to my full length. Which I did, pushing and arching in the pleasure of waking and in anticipation of the day ahead. My routes are going to be simple. My contacts are all tightly scheduled. Really reluctant to get up, still -- time was ticking and I had to get out of bed. I pushed the covers back and rose. Pausing by the window to look out I could see the streets beginning to wake up. People beginning to fill them, some coming home from their shifts, and others with earlier schedules than mine, already out there. I yawned and tasted my tongue. Gotta brush, buddy. That's just - foul!

Pausing by the bureau to stick my tongue out at my mirrored reflection, I scooped up my Dopp kit and headed into the bathroom. Rental sleepers are all the same. Very tight and efficient. Oh well, I make a living this way, so what's to complain. And it is proving to be a good one.
I look forward to a long hot shower. Maybe I'd shave in the shower. Naw. That's sloppy lazy. I set the water to HOT and step into its steam. All's well, I was thinking. All but the dreams. Y'know, buddy, I said to myself, they've really been weird lately. Really weird! --- Oops! Almost slipped then. For a brief moment, I'd felt dizzy, almost mis-stepped and went down. Which would've been disastrous. But the feeling passed quickly. And the water feels wonderful. I raise my head, taking the force of water full in the face. Ahhhhh ... this is good. This is living.

It was the sound of the shower, the water spilling, splashing, and a sense of water spitting in my face that almost roused me. But even in that half-state, I knew that the only relief I have these days is through the life I live while asleep and dreaming. When sleep finally relents and does take me. So I refuse the urge. Resist the phantom feeling of a need to wipe at my face. Force myself back, way back, pushing deeper into my pillows, and thinking myself back, back, into the shower.

Where, raising my face again to the water, sure of myself and my steady stance, I take up the soap and begin to lather, at the same time starting in on my version of that old song, Blue Skies. I sound good!





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