Friday, December 7, 2012

Insomniac, Part 11

It bothered Harold when Hilly and his best friend, Hork, danced together, taking turns at being the girl.  It also bothered him that this scrawny kid was nicknamed Hork and both boys let it stick.

Hork and Hilly.

Hilly and Hork.

There they were, spinning around in the den as Harold heated up a frozen pepperoni pizza for dinner.  They actually held hands in between whacking each other in the head.  Harold thought of his own best friend from middle and high school.  His name was Sam, but everybody called him Dog. 

Hair and Dog.

Dog and Hair.

Was there some kind of rule that guys couldn't be decent to each other?  He didn't expect them to be nice, just decent.  Even when he met Dog at the Library, the pub where they stopped after work, the guy would practically knock him over and spit in his face before they settled down to drink a beer together and shoot the shit.

Tonight, even though it was Friday, he was apathetic about going out.  Even Hilly and Hork were heading to a middle school dance in about an hour.  Harold had been too worn out to meet Dog for at least a month.  He couldn't remember when he saw him last. He couldn't remember when he'd last gone anywhere unless he was required to go.

He sat down on his recliner and watched the boys spin.  Anne had bought fancy green pillows for over a hundred dollars apiece when Harold had ordered the leather couch. They were taking a beating as the boys danced the 'Cotton-Eyed Joe,' whacking each other each time they spun around.  They were screaming and laughing.  He couldn't keep his eyes open.  It was only 5:13 pm.  He knew it was a mistake to sit down.  Once he was off his feet, he was a goner.  At work, he'd been trying to finish his project on his feet, even taking his laptop to the top of the stairs  where he could balance it on the banister and stand up to work and stay focused for a little longer.  In the recliner, with his feet propped up, his eyes rolled back as if he'd been drugged. 

His iPhone chirped.  It was Hork's mom texting a novel to ask what time the dance started.  She was very happy about this dance.  Harold imagined her, standing at the door to the gym, chaperoning with a grin on her face as she watched the kids mill about.  He was going to let them walk to school, even though it was already dark.  Hork's mom assumed he was driving them.  Harold knew the boys would never say anything. He sent a reply.  He'd just nodded off again when she sent another long text wanting to know how much it cost to get in.  It was the same amount that it cost last time.  He texted a short reply.  The boys were still spinning, laughing and falling onto the couch with their dizziness.

The yelling became part of his dream.  There were too many people in his house.  He didn't know any of them them, except that his mother was there, telling him that he needed to rearrange the cabinets.  He opened a cabinet door and green goo spilled out onto the floor.  Everyone in the house was yelling and pointing.  The green goo was flooding the den and began to chirp at his ankles.  Harold woke with a jolt, arms and legs flying as a pillow landed on his face. 

"Sorry Dad," Hilly said even before Harold could figure out what was real and what was dream.  His phone beeped again.  Harold smelled something burning.  The pizza. 

He hopped up and ran to turn off the oven.  A cloud of smoke poured out when he opened the door.  The smoke alarm went off and Harold reached for the fan over the stove and a pot holder.  He burned his finger anyway.  The boys danced around him laughing about calling 911 and still spinning each other around in circles. 

The pizza was overcooked, but still somehow edible.  By the time the boys were done grabbing their slices, there was only one piece left with half the cheese pulled off. 

Dinner with Hilly and Hork. 

Harold looked at the clock.  They didn't have to leave for another twenty-three minutes, not enough time for him to fall asleep again. 

Thank you for listening, jules

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