The Bunk Beds
For about ten years he had his own bed. Like a pirate captain of old commanding his vessel over the unforgiving seas, his bed was his sanctuary. It was freedom, for there he was a sea captain commanding his men to hoist the anchor and turn about into the wind. Or he was a bird, free to fly to any location. Outside of the mystical dream world of his mind, he could vanquish the evil that loomed from the closet and beyond with the simple act of throwing the covers over his head. Then the bunk beds came, as well as a roommate. The ship was gone and replaced with a cage. “Hopefully,” he thought, “my brother will be cool”.
It was a good day when his father came home with a bulging jacket. His father drove a delivery truck for a local dairy company. His main product: Ice cream. Often times he would slip two or three half-gallon containers of extra product into the arms of his insolated work jacket for his four kids at home to enjoy. At the end of each night, as the children went to bed, his father would grab a half-gallon out of the freezer and a spoon, and plop down on the couch in front of the TV. Every night was the same, until his twelfth birthday. As the children prepared themselves to enter the magical world of dream land, his father grabbed him by the shoulder. “Not quite yet son, go sit in the living room.” Curious as to what his father was talking about, he couldn’t stop his young mind from racing. A moment later his father returned with two half-gallons of ice cream and two spoons. Rocky Road, his Favorite. He was in shock. No bowl, no siblings bugging for more, just his dad and his own ice cream. This was it, he thought with a huge smile on his face. Today, I am a man.
It’s 12:30am. “Hey, are you awake?” His brother is fidgeting on the top bunk. Half asleep he answers “No. Why?” His brother fidgets more intensely. “I have to pee! But dad said we can’t leave our room!” ‘Must the little runt who lives above me be so stupid?’ he thought. “Just pee off the bed then, I don’t care. Just leave me alone and go back to sleep!” A moment past, then a small yellow stream rains down from the corner of the bunk.
Bright lights and important people dressed to the nines, champagne and hors d’oeuvres, full pit orchestra and cameras galore; a red carpet and a tuxedo. To have his name called for directing the best film of the year, or for writing the best film of the year, and walking up to the beautiful announcers and accepting the golden statue that tells the world “Yes, I did something that touched the world.”
He is 19 years old, his two best friends standing like statues in fighting stances. The camera is just about positioned in place. A car in the distance pulls into sight and stops. A large man with a baseball cap exits the vehicle holding an automatic rifle and begins to fire. Action was never called. Blood spills to the floor and the camera continues to roll, fallen to the grown, capturing the statue faces of the fallen actors.
“I new it would never work. I don’t know why she thought it would. Five years she gave me, and I couldn’t ask for more. She deserves better. I can’t blame her really. What did she say earlier? Something—polishing a turd? Y’up. That was it. Good one honey. Nailed it.”
The blank sheet of paper sat before him like a vast ocean waiting to be sailed upon. His favorite pen, the one he got the day his brother was born from his grandfather, looked up at him as if to say “Grab me you idiot and start!” Obeying, he grasped the pen between his right thumb and index finger, supported by his middle finger. Almost immediately, ideas began to stir mightily in his brain. ‘Which one do I choose?’ he thought to himself. He didn’t know then the beauty of that question, because the answer didn’t matter. He was only 10 years old after all and had his whole life ahead of him.
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