Sometimes I just can't sleep. Like most, I worry. My fears and phobias are intense and really, are as off-base as an AWOL Private.
....So I toss and turn, toss and turn. I get up from my hard bed, go to the refrigerator and drink some type of liquid refreshment. Something with some bite, of course. Then I watch a little TV - usually ID Discovery. I'm a big fan of Lt. Joe Kenda, the Homicide Hunter. Now he's a real bad-ass kind of guy, with a really funny sense of humor, to boot. And even after a few episodes of this sort of thing, I still find that I'm wired for sound!
I love to sleep. It's one of my favorite pastimes. And in a chaotic world so filled with calamity and even havoc, when most of my fellows have very little time in their days and nights to sleep, I have more than enough seconds, minutes, and hours to fit it all in - ah, that blissful dreamland of white chocolate nightmares and those wonderful wet dreams of being once again at my favorite college watering hole - The Great Garage Ape Pub - one block from campus in the "old haunts"
...But still, I can't sleep.
At one time, I could get by on two hours of sleep a month. It was more than enough rest and respite. But now that I'm old - really, really old - I need at least 16 hours of sleep a day to just feel normal.
So what do I do? Well, I walk to the big department store down the street, grab one of those electric scooters that crippled people ride around on, and I sail around on the blasted contraption, negotiating sharp angles and curves throughout the 200,000-square-foot store.
At 3 a.m., there aren't a lot of people around, which is nice. And those that are shopping at that hour are in no mood to put up with some guy chattering like a chimpanzee who's scooting around on a handicap buggy.
"Hey buddy, you're not supposed to be riding around in here on one of those motor scooters like it's some kind of joy ride," the paid greeter at the front doors yells at me as I whiz by him.
"Whee! Whee!" is normally my answer.
"Bring that thing back here and plug it in! If it runs out of juice way back there in the auto department I'm going to have the job of pushing that heavy monster back to the front door here and plugging it in."
"I'm going to have you banned from coming here! This is the third time this week you've been joyriding! Get a fucking life!" he yells.
He's got a long beard, is chubby, middle-aged, and wears a blue vest with some kind of yellow corporate logo on it. The two check-out cashiers wear the same sort of garb, tut I'm not going to the check-out counter because I'm not buying anything. I'm just riding around on one of the store buggies reserved for the handicapped. I'm fighting off insomnia the best way I know how....
After I leave the department store, I go to the all-night diner and have four or five cups of coffee. I drink mine black, with no sugar. The best coffee in the world is served at 4:30 a.m., since it's stale and has enough bite to dye leather or even wood. All the late-night waitresses know me since I'm a regular. They're all married, of course. Very married. And have been for eons. I'm not looking for any sort of companionship, anyhow. I'd talk to a zebra right at the present, if the fucking animal could make phonetic noises in King's English vernacular. Anyhow, me and the old girls usually just talk about football or baseball. Or the potholes the city road crews filled earlier that day. By now, I guess, it's yesterday that those lunar craters were filled with cold-patch asphalt....
One of the old gals has a grandson who's playing for a Canadian hockey farm team way up there in Saskatchewan. She always gives me the lowdown on Pistol Pete's latest feats. "He scored six goals last night against the Fort McMurray Oil Barons. He called me tonight after he scored three goals against the Whitecourt Wolverines tonight. Man, Sam, is he a great grandson or what?!" Bad Bertha always reports.
"Sure is, Bertha. And I've never even met Pistol Pete. Yeppers, even I'm proud of him. Pistol Pete's the king of the ice."
She has a beaming smile. Her teeth are all too white and perfect. That's because they're as false as my pretentious comments concerning her grandson.
"Hey, Bad Bertha, get me another shot of that coffee," I chirp. "Or should I say, espresso. I'm as thirsty as a Canuck caught in a week-long blizzard."
- Pistol Pete's Dad wanted him to join the Marine Corps, his Mom wanted him to go to William & Mary, and his Grandma, Bad Bertha, wanted him to get a job in a slaughterhouse. Pistol Pete wanted to play hockey for a minor league team in on-man's land. So that's what he's up to these days. The birth certificate is in his name, I guess, so he can do whatever the hell he wants to do, as long as it's legal....
Finally, I walk back home, crawl into bed, and still, I can't sleep.
"Well, it's only February. Maybe by the time June arrives, I'll be able to doze off," I say to myself.
I go to the living room, turn on the TV, and find an old moldy episode of Lt. Joe Kenda, The Homicide Hunter, to gawk at until the sun comes up.
Sweet dreams. Oh, how I envy you, even if you only have hideous nightmares!