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TOE Short Story :: Insomnia


Insomnia, a transient gateway into another reality. Briefly, just for a moment, you’re in a world where the earth spins backwards and gravity is non-existent. I flicked to channel sixty-one. The late night call-in quiz show was a welcome change from the viagra commercials, offering masculinity at a single cost of $19.99 and the low-budget porn dubbed with corny, repetitive music.

As I sat in my low-budget apartment, on my low-budget sofa, watching my low-budget television, I wondered about all the other people just like me stranded in a world between sleep and death. I imagined their bloodshot eyes, sitting with their empty packet of benzo’s, desperately trying to let their minds drift away. Here I sat alone – the room only lit by the flicker of the television – and rested knowing that I was accompanied by the other few thousand insomniacs in New York, existing in their unkempt apartments with their undying need for sleep. A family of insomniacs, unknown to each other and related only by the inability to sleep.

A thick layer of dark stubble engulfed my face, slowly feasting on the skin below – yet another product of the chronic insomnia that plagued my mind. I kicked the blanket off my legs and sat up; an official statement of my giving up on sleep and my submission once again to insomnia. I lit up a cigarette. Let the cancer kill me. The idea of eternal sleep was somewhat attractive at that moment in time.

It was clear from the harsh rattle of snoring penetrating the thin plaster wall that my neighbour was still asleep. Dirty old retch, yet I envied him. His life was one of simplicity. All that was asked of him was that he muster up the strength to collect his weekly welfare cheque. Sure, he was a dirty, fat, filthy brute of a man but his life was at least more fulfilling than mine. Red, he was called. I think it’s only right I introduce him after my slanderous talk of him. His personality mirrored his appearance, a truly selfish and lazy character. But he was just one shark, one big fish in a sea of corruption, violence and lies.

My apartment was located in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, supposedly an upmarket borough in the booming city of New York. I couldn’t disagree more. Just last month the gentleman across the corridor was dragged away by police, closely followed by six or seven luscious looking green plants. The room was empty for weeks afterwards, only disturbed by the frequent visits of police officials dressed in white suits. My flat was simple, I had what I needed. Although, I had often considered soundproofing the place to block out the occasional gunshot noise and the sound of stray bullets ricocheting off of my window panel. I stubbed out my cigarette and stood up. The shopping was not going to do itself.

::Andrew also writes at The Robed Scribe::

May 24, 2009 10:31 am

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