Late Night (with Some Guy You Don't Know)

I believed that I was coming up from a dream, my head floating to the surface of the water, liquid subconscious drip slippery from my hair, and I blink in just a swallow of the daylight. Then I take a look around to find I'm in the middle of the ocean: no idea how I got here, no reason why. And then, just as I begin to welcome the drown I wake up.

I’m standing at the bar in a saloon. I must have nodded off. Some guy I never knew pours me a shot, buys me a drink on the house and you don’t ask questions: you just accept what’s before you when you know there's nothing else.

I pick up the shot glass easy and raise it to my mouth. Down goes the firewater, on schedule, making all the stops, flooding inhibition, down to grand stomach station, sending synapse spinning off course, to spiral pointless in perpetuity, in humanity, in insanity, never to conceive of rational thought again, and that’s when I knew that I was really waking up.

I’m in the passenger seat of a car, driving down a road with no buildings, the steering wheel leading me, the wipers working against time to hold back the rain. The sky is white and grey and without light- only moisture- as I navigate the center of an all-consuming cloud. This car is going nowhere and I realize: I’m ready for an accident. I have no problem letting go of the wheel, no problem closing my eyes, preparing for the impact, welcoming the warm black…

And then I woke up. For real. In my bathrobe and borrowed slippers. Sitting in an easy chair in a small library with red carpeting. The shelves around me are lined with leather & gilt-edged hardcover books… and all the walls are shelves. There is no way into this room, no way out, and the bust of Bill Shakespeare eyes me with contempt as a woman makes her entrance, the scent of her skin preceding her.

She walks in, white dress, dark hair, her breath a metered metronome. She looks at me as I rise, taking me in, smiling her smile, her face familiar and eternal. She places a manila envelope on the table before me. I open it and pull out the 8x10 headshot, taking in the grinning face of the talk-show host & understanding even before she says the words.

Licking her lips, her eyes lost in mine, “David Letterman must die.”

I knew it, of course. I knew that she was right. And I knew that I would never fall asleep again.

No comments:

Post a Comment