Me, the Kink
Once again with the recurring dream where I am on an airplane that lands on a busy city street and just drives around, wings and all. I have no insight into its meaning, except to say “anxiety,” which, in my experience, is the source of all. It’s only 4am and I wish it were 6.
Before bed, the little bats were under the streetlight making big shadows on the macadam. They were feeding, and I was debating melatonin or a request for sex or a slice of that cookies and cream pie. All three could be challenging—best to pick an approach and stick to it—it’s getting late.
Unlike most, I enjoy hearing about people’s dreams, since it is them at their most powerful. For instance, with me, when I’m half asleep I can see other rooms in the house. This phenomena is known as remote viewing, something tried by the CIA to see alien bases on the Moon.
That’s too much, a secret, a kink, a joke to some people. Maybe this is a little more believable:
I’ve become a morning person, much to the surprise of past roommates, and it’s a bit like changing your spots, like becoming Type A. It’s just a theory of personality and I do like the quiet, just me and my kitchen radio and the fish tank. I feel protective and lucky, watching my sleeping girl curl her toes sticking out from under the blanket.
I am troubled by the blood on my pillow, the pain in my jaw, the pools of sweat. There’s the strange, illegible note I wrote to myself on my nightstand. I am no sleepwalker or epileptic. I am no werewolf. I am not—cinnamon rolls and coffee, that will surprise them. I’ll have it all set up for when they wake.
Air BnB (Chattanooga)
This is an easy one. The women were going to run a marathon. No, the women were going to run a tag-team marathon. No, the women were going to run half a marathon. No, no, the women were going to run a 5k. In alphabetical order, they are an activist, an artist, a professor, a real estate developer, and a social worker. I hope I got their titles right. It’s for a charity.
I learned the geological term “ridge” from a friend from Knoxville. Tennessee is full of them. Our cabin is at the top of a ridge and so is its driveway, which seems unnecessarily treacherous in the Mazda 3. What a view from its edges! Certain death in the Smokies! I mean, there was a lot of hype about this driveway, but of course we made it up and down many times since I’m talking about it five months later.
The night before the race, the cold wind on top of this small mountain was really creating a bad situation. Kevin and I were trying to cook hamburgers, which took about two hours, because, yes, the wind, but also the grill had no lid. While we waited for the meat to at least brown, we talked about what animals would we eat if we got a) desperate and/or b) lucky. I kept saying, “They have that at Kroger,” which must have been irritating, in retrospect. The kids were in the hot tub with their heads and shoulders freezing, and the women were preparing to go to bed early, folding their running t‑shirts, and probably completing the race in their minds.
Twelve of us in the cabin. Can you imagine that? This whole trip was like, little did we know, ominous voice. I slept like I always sleep, which is deeply.
The next morning, none of the women won the race, but they said it wasn’t important. “It’s not a race,” they said. Then the kids ran a 2k, mainly uphill. They were pleased with themselves, though none of them won either. The kid who did win was really prepared: expensive shoes, very short shorts, a headband. She looked like a professional having no fun. I didn’t like her. Our kids, who I did like, had already moved on, were talking about lunch, while she had her picture taken for some website. Here someone nods and says, kids are resilient.
I taught a class about the end of the world for a few years and the students thought it was funny. They liked it as much as the class I taught about terrorism, the class I taught about the recession, and the class I taught about old books. What am I getting at? I’ll take it further: Kids like chaos.
On the way out of town, we went to Chattanooga’s last real diner. We were its last real customers. On the drive home, they were closing roads left and right behind us. We passed our Kroger and they were locking up, despite a line of customers. Home from Chattanooga, they cancelled the basketball game I was watching, and then all sports. The news went dark—not blank, but the opposite of fun.
Sean Ennis is the author of CHASE US: Stories (Little A) and his flash fiction has recently appeared in Passages North, Hobart, (mac)ro(mic), Tiny Molecules, and Bull. More of his work can be found at seanennis.net