Why I Get Up Early in the Morning


12:15 a.m.

      The hotel is bursting with women. I need one bad. I stand in the hallway barefoot in an overcoat looking like a sadsack flasher. My feet are size 16 D. A dozen lookers go by, ignoring me.  Finally two losers accost me, one fat, one thin. They invite me in their room. Water is standing a foot deep on the floor.  Some hotel! The water is the color of dog shit.
      The fat one disappears. The thin one with the nondescript face takes off her clothes. I'm disappointed to discover her right breast has three nipples--hot, cold, and cancer. I massage her breasts and we begin to do something you can't see on daytime tv.  Feeling sorry for the fat one now that I'm feeling so studly, I say, "What about your friend?"
      She says, "Oh, she went to get her car repaired."
      I climb off with this declaration. "Well she needs a little action too."
      The fat girl comes back. Somebody had forgot to give her a face; however, she has had her clutch successfully repaired. I give her a condescending lecture on the necessity of sexual experience inasmuch as I lost my virginity at age 26.
      The thin girl disappears. I begin to service the fat girl. I'm wearing a Valvoline cap, backwards teenage style, again feeling very studly.
      The bad news is just as I am about to make Bingo, feeling like Stone Cold Austin or some such, the fat girl crawls out from underneath. A minute later I hear her and the thin girl out in the hallway laughing.
      "Is he about the puniest thing you ever saw?" I hear them say. "Let's get out of here."
      I examine the floor. The water in the hotel room is now only an inch deep and running clear.

2:18 a.m. (a)

      There's a big crowd hanging around the attic of this house I've never seen before. Some of them are going to the latest Stephen King flick. The fat girl is nowhere evident. A black cat emerges from behind a window, snarls at me, and scratches my face. Someone picks up the cat. It curls in their arms and purrs like a kitten. I turn my back and the cat leaps on my neck and sinks its claws.
      "What's the significance of this?" I ask the thin girl.
      "Some people are nicer than others. You happen to be one of the not nice ones."
      "Oh," I say, searching for a Bandaid.

2:19 a.m.  (b)

      My wife wants me to attend the King flick.  Due to my low self-esteem I don't much want to go.  We are outside a minor league baseball stadium. The streets are jammed with people. Everyone is pushing this way and that. The fat girl is parked in the middle of the street like an abandoned bulldozer. Or maybe I'm back in the attic where the cat scratched me. I am making my usual brilliant conversation with a largely male assemblage of figures, i.e., unable to think of anything to say. By and large they look like clothing store dummies. Essentially I'm relieved.

2:20 a.m.  (c)

      I go to see what this horror movie business is all about.  A twisted, old woman is sitting in a wheelchair on a concrete ramp sloping down to a fast-rushing flow of dark water. She's squirting Gatorade in her mouth. Someone sneaks up behind her and pushes her in. It's not the fat girl.
      Meanwhile a spastic cripple is standing on the same stretch of concrete. Someone wear a khaffiyeh rushes up behind him and pushes him in. The pusher is wearing a "Go Taliban" sweatshirt.
      Someone shouts, "I don't want to die!" as the rapid current sweeps all four figures away under a heavy concrete structure perforated with huge holes like underground sewer pipes.
      For no good reason I'm in the drink with the four of them now, clinging to the holes in the concrete. It is not very scary. The old woman passes around the Gatorade.

2:21 a.m. (d)

      My wife and I are standing in something like a subway tunnel or a train station. The station clock says 73 past 81, whichever comes first. It's extremely crowded; people are jostling one another rushing for trains when a burly, fortyish male with a beard grabs me by the hand.
      "Remember me? We used to work together. We were always checking out coed boobs."
      I'm turning red because my wife can hear.
      My so-called friend turns to her and says, "There was this one chick used to wear tight sweaters. She had enormous boobs. " He gestures with his hands in the air so my wife can see just how big. "Oh man, we used to love looking at her!"
      My wife turns to run. Is she going to the King flick? I can see her a long way off, running fast in high heels, holding the kids by the hand, going down a walkway enclosed by metal railings.
      I run after her, "Kathy," I cry. "I'm sorry." Tears stand in my eyes.
      Separated by the metal railings, she runs past me going the opposite direction, clinging to the kids' hands. There's no way I'll ever catch up. The bearded man is nowhere in sight. The black cat has let go of my neck. I'm running, broken-hearted, running, running.

2:23 a.m.

       I awaken, having to pee again. There are four more hours to sleep. I'm so tired I'm afraid to go back to bed. My wife is lying beside me, snoring placidly reminiscent of a hibernating bear. Her wheelchair stands silently in the corner. Our children, including the one with cerebral palsy, are all at least thirty years old. The fat girl and the bearded man have gone to give blood. The water is our bedroom is less than an inch deep.

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