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Bed Head



Our bodies are seen by most acquaintances as Coke machines, ready to vend. Then one day, they put in the same small change, press the same buttons, and nothing comes out.

That's it. I'm all out. That's why I'm lying in bed this late. Maybe just lying here to see how long I can just lie here. Maybe lying here because I can.

I keep the covers on. Under the covers, my feet are like two big blue swans, swimming to and fro when I want them to. An old joke: how'd you find yourself this morning? Just threw back the covers and there I was. Well, this time I don't feel like throwing back the covers.

Maybe I'll just keep lying here.

All right, open those eyes. What's that, the ceiling? What's that, the paint blister up there? Wonder what's hiding in there.

Alright, open those ears. Listen to the only other piece of furniture in the room, the chest of drawers. Listen. Something's eating the chest of drawers. Termites? Ants? Ear-wigs? Whatever's hiding in that paint blister on the ceiling?

See, maybe that's the source of all those science-fiction scenarios, those alienated aliens that eat furniture and inhabit paint blisters. Maybe they come from the minds of those who spend lots of time lying in bed. Maybe the human imagination works best when it is inhabiting a body in the prone or supine position. Under the covers. Yeah.

Jeez, what's that? Hold on. Whoa! Gotta be a bus passing, shaking the bed. There go the aliens. That's what happens to all that imagination. Always a big-ass bus roaring by.

Fluff those covers, feel around for the cool side of the pillow. Ain't you glad you can't really smell your own breath? Beer breath, recycled. Last night. Remember one thing, when Danny turns away from the lap dancer with no eyebrows and yells above the sound system, "No. She really likes me!" You would tell him that it's a sure thing he's had too much to drink when he believes a lap dancer really likes him. You would tell him this, only the sound system is too loud to yell over and you can smell Danny's beer breath.

The sun is fighting like hell to get past the window shade, but I'm not budging. I look around for sustenance that will keep me lying in bed. I'm in luck. On the floor next to the bed, there's a jug of apple juice and a half-finished pack of peanut-butter crackers. Swig and a snack. Now the wish for a smoke is an ever-returning gnat thought, one impossible to wave away.

The room is starting to get warm. The air conditioner should be turned on, but that would mean getting out of bed. I roll over and reach for the oscillating fan on the floor. How old was I before learning it was not an isolating fan? My heart is comfortable with that word. Maybe my ears, too.

Now there are voices coming into the room from the small yards that back up to my bedroom window. I recognize one of them, the loudest one.

"I could get a ladder," she whines. "Can't you climb up there and get her?"

"Go get her mama," a male voice answers. "Maybe she can talk her down."

"She looks pitiful," the female voice complains.

"You think she looks pitiful, you oughta see me on a ladder," the male voice says and laughs.

It turns out the voices are talking about a house cat who has climbed up on the roof of some nearby house and got scared and stuck.

Ah, this is the life! All over this town, little dramas like this are being born, growing up, getting old, dying. On your feet, man! Get out there, loosen your belt, throw back your head, and let the world swarm around you! Go!

On the other hand, if you had been up and at 'em, you would have missed this little yard drama. Sometimes it pays to just wait for something to happen. And you might as well wait in comfort.

OK, what's available? Got a little Phillips TV and a channel changer right here, though I only get four channels, so that won't take long. And a GPX Portable CD player and I can get to the following discs without getting out of bed: Nanci Griffith, The Chieftains, Coleman Hawkins and Carmen Miranda. Four hours' worth. Plus a Sony radio with all those voices, all those ideas. As many as the dreamed faces, the imagined whispers, of God.

And reading stuff? One book by Robert Benchley and two magazines, one each about sports and girls. Plus that aforementioned jug of juice and those peanut-butter crackers.

Gotta get up sometime. Yeah, yeah. But ain't life sweet that it doesn't have to be now?

My minds feels like it's run a marathon. Guess I better just stay in bed a little while longer.


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