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The Wee Hours
Odd Things Happen
I suppose I should know better by now. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I should know that the rules of the universe have been temporarily waived. Things that normally can't happen within the realm of possibility often do in that nether region between those late night to early morning hours. Strange things happen in the wee hours.
Some things are best left untold, a truth I have yet to learn. I am not sure why I share this with you, perhaps I just need to tell some one?. As to the state of my mind, you are free to draw your own conclusions. But these are the facts.
The last thing I recall that night was working away at my laptop in my study. It was late, already after twelve. I remember thinking I should be in bed. My friend, Cletus waited impatiently for me to finish. Finally in an expression of impatience he laid his huge head on the desk beside the laptop and looked up at me with those sad eyes, as if he knew what I refused to admit to myself. He does this easily with all four paws on the floor while looking pathetically depressed. Cletus is a Great Dane. My large but silent companion says so much without saying a word. I was groggily trudging along at my project and occasionally dozed at the keyboard. I got a loud sigh from my impatient friend but stubbornly pressed on groping for that some particular thing I wanted to say, as if sheer determination may bridge the impasse I found myself at. Finally in exhaustion, I gave up, shut down the laptop, turned out the light, and trudged wearily to bed where my friend has already gone on to occupy the best spot. He took up almost the whole bed as usual and once again I had barely a corner left to curl up in.
Sleep; a deep trance-like state of narcoleptic respite descended upon me as my mind struggled to resist. Overwhelming sleep wafted me away on a journey into nothingness, drifted along on a current of unconscious bliss. And somehow, in my semi-catatonic state, I had become aware that something was amiss. The harder I tried to ignore the sensation, the more prevailing it became. The ebb & flow of unconsciousness began to recede as the tide, once again leaving me somewhere between awake and asleep.
I felt this palpable sense of something amiss, a general state of foreboding yet lacking a specific, discrete cause for it.
I should have just rolled over and gone back to sleep. I should have but I didn't. I was awake, I was sure of that much. I told myself I had not been sleep-walking. If this were a dream, maybe I would once again found myself wandering along some nameless interstate in just my boxers, facing an endless cavalcade of preposterous incongruities. I felt sure I had not been dreaming. "What could it be this time," I remembered thinking?
A light under my door?
Once again, I drug my weary self from a comfortable bed to stagger off with trepidation to investigate. I groped along the wall toward a room which I had left darkened but instead a sliver of light glimmered beneath the door. It was coming from under the door to my study. Odd, I remember thinking to myself. I turned off the light in there before I retired to bed.
...and then I had thought to myself, It's happening again.
For a moment I paused to brace myself for the unexpected, and then give the reluctant door a shove.
Perhaps I'm too weary to be shocked but this was the wee hours of the morning. I found Cletus in my chair, had been sitting upright at my desk, typing at my laptop. My wife was sprawled out across the floor. She looked up at me in silence. I stumbled in the room to take in the bizarre scene in disbelief, paused, then took another look. When I was satisfied I saw what I was seeing, I stepped over her to slump into the recliner beside my desk. Silent.
"You look awful," he said to me. "Go back to bed"
OK. So my dog was not only typing at my laptop, why shouldn't he talk as well? And why should I hesitate to reply?
My mind groped for an explanation, it must be playing tricks on me., Weariness had caused a temporary departure from reality. May as well go along with the joke, "Something seems...odd." I replied. What are you doing?"
He turned to me and pulled his glasses down at the bridge of his nose. "What's it look like I'm doing?" "You know," he paused looking directly at me, "you know this is all kind of strange, don't you?"
I yawned out loud, not from disinterest.. "Yes it is. I never knew you could use a laptop, let alone read." On the surface I appearred non-chalant but beneath the facade my mind desperately tried to reconcile the irreconcilable disparities I was confronted by.
"No," he corrrected. "I was talking about your story. It doesn't transiton well, and the plot seems a little too...contrived."
"Contrived? I'm having a discussion with a dog while my wife laid on the floor. That is contrived. Besides," pointing toward the laptop, "it's a work in progress," I protested.
"Just offering some constructive criticism."
Cletus held a treat over her head. "Sit," he demanded. She sat upright on her haunches for a moment, then scratched behind her ear with her foot before collapsing back onto the floor. "Good girl," he praised her with a pat on her head. Then added, "I think she needs out."
Without thinking, I put her collar around her neck, lead her to the door and put her outside on a leash. And that's when I thought I heard the voice from inside the pizza box. "It's time to get up." I peeked inside the carton to see one lone anchovy on a slice of stale pizza lecturing me in a raspy voice. "Get up!"
"I am up," I argued.
The next morning I woke up back in my corner of the bed and suspiciously cast an eye toward the reticent canine sprawled across the bed. "You never told me you can talk," I taunted him. Cletus shifted his eyes toward me in a gesture of presumed innocence.
A twinge of guilt pulled me. "I'm sorry if I was a little testy last night, Any time you want to use the laptop, feel free."
From the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of my incredulous wife as she walked by, cup of coffee in hand, house shoes scuffing across the carpet. She gave me her patented looks of disdain then moved on.
"What got into her," I wondered? No more pizza with anchovies for me, not before bed, I tell myself.