I Need Sleep!

by John McCrady (1911–1968) [oil glaze over tempera on canvass]

"I Cant Sleep" by John McCrady (1911–1968), oil glaze over tempera on canvas

There’s no sleep for the weary.

There are boogeymen under my bed.

And they scratch the baseboard beside the double decker bed and thump about, whisper gibberish in coarse voices, and poke and pull my hair just as I begin to fall asleep. Maybe it’s their intention that I should not get any sleep at all. I guess they’ve managed to sneak into Morpheus’ laboratory and gagged and bound the poor thing so that nobody would be getting any snooze at all. They’ve even conspired with my mutinous muses (perhaps bribing them with all the cakes and candies I’ve deprived them in an effort to cut down my calorie intake) to conjure images of storylines and plot twists for some of my attempts at writing stories. I tossed and turned and turned and tossed.

Dogs were growling and howling outside, and I deluded myself into thinking that it’s mating season for the canines.

I tried to entirely cover myself with a blanket. But I’m claustrophobic. Hyperventilating, I switched to having the blanket about my cold feet.

Experience taught me that when the room suddenly gets cold (I’ve turned off the fan), somebody is there in spirit. Okay, it was really, really cold last night and raining outside, too. And I’ve watched The Sixth Sense dozens of times.

But really, I couldn’t sleep at all. I got down from the top bunk, groped for the light switch, and hunkered over to the table where I left some draft for a story. Nope, I shall not tell what it is about just yet. I channeled the mutinous muses, and, pen in hand, allowed them free reign on blank paper. At about two in the morning, with a substantial amount of scribbles, my exhaustion just overcame every bit of my thinking process. I must get some sleep.

I swore at the boogeymen, the muses, the room-temperature-altering spirits, and the half-formed images of the characters in the draft. They all dissolved at the cussword, totally disgusted with my uncooperative nature and my vulgarity. The dogs I spared from my expletives.

Nevermind. At least, I was left with a degree of peace and quiet and the prospect of half a good night’s sleep. That I had, until at about six in the morning when the fishwives, in their morning bath, started gabbing by the water pump.

The morning found me here, in this Internet cafe, where I’ve taken refuge from the noises and creepies and crawlies that hounded me in the night.

I shall put a wooden cross by my bed tonight. For what it’s worth.

[image courtesy of the Morris Museum of Art]


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