Fiction: Real Sleep

Jim didn’t have it today. He had lost it, as he had been losing it for a fair string of days, before he had even finished his wake-up poop.

There was a special sort of irony in that, Jim thought.

He proceeded through the first hours of the day, and then basically all the rest of them as well, as if in a dream, but not one of those dreams you want to either stay in or completely wrap up, because isn’t it better to be dreaming at all, than to be awake?

It occurred to Jim as he showered and dressed that maybe it wasn’t better. Regardless, he did not feel awake, and had not for awhile.

He didn’t feel awake after his coffee, or after checking Twitter and Facebook. He even responded to people on each platform, but couldn’t recall feeling awake during either “interaction”, when they lit up again later in the day.

He didn’t feel awake after scanning the news, which, as was the new normal, seemed its own level of surreal. The dim voice in the back of his head, hoarse from screaming about the dangerousness of such a persistent state of unreality, didn’t wake him either.

The people bumping into him on the train didn’t wake him. The second coffee he drank quickened his pulse and sharpened his fogged sight, but still he did not feel willing or even able to exit the simulation.

Work got done. His hands and his computer took care of it. Conversations were had with coworkers. Heads nodded. His own head took part in the nodding.

All done asleep.

On his lunch break, Jim waited in line for a sandwich, which with its hidden sugars and added fats and salts, in tandem with the act of paying for it at “such high savings”, spiked his brain. After eating the sandwich he thought he had awoken, but then a few minutes later his body crashed and he felt certain he had just stirred and turned over and was still asleep.

There was a beautiful woman with brilliant red hair on the train home. Between her attractiveness and the additional magnetism generated by the money which she clearly had (an only two-stop traveler, to be certain), that had helped keep her rested and fresh and in such nice clothes, and with such confidence exuding from her as a result of all these things and probably also her great achievements in life, Jim was wildly aroused and so he tumbled further into nothingness because he surely was not real in comparison.

At home again Jim drank three beers with dinner and they brought the fog back into his eyes. He watched TV and again his brain spiked but then he was out of beer and too tired to go buy more and so he crashed again and surrendered right there on the couch to the sweet blackness of real sleep.

In his dreams he was awake. He was healthy, wealthy and brilliant and loved.

When he woke he remembered this, and determined to believe it could be possible. Then he went to the bathroom and toggled his phone and lost it all over again during his poop.

 

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