writing exercise: free association
the perfectly normal and mediocre

As soon as I opened my eyes, they burned and I closed them again. The alarm wasn’t going off, so I still had time. Just five more minutes. “Hello? I need help!” A male voice sounded muffled from under the bed. “I’m kinda stuck halfway through the vortex. Can’t get my legs out.” My eyes popped open. The room was dark, but my sight adjusted to the darkness. It must be still before sunrise. This wasn’t the first time I heard his pleas. He tried to get my attention before today. My phone was somewhere under the sheets, I tried to find it, moving very carefully. “Hello? Are you awake?”

My weapon of choice had always been the alarm clock. I had set it to the crowing of a rooster. “HEELLO-OOO?” He knew I was awake.

“Yes.” I turned on my side and touched the display of my phone. I hissed and turned the screen away from my eyes. Too bright! 2:30 am.

“Finally! You know you should put up a warning sign if you put something heavy under your bed! I hit my head very hard, and there isn’t enough room to exit fully into your world. This is hazardous behavior! The council will hear from this! You are in breach of safety regulations!” I had listened to the angry voice under the bed. “What have you to say for yourself?” First time I heard those complaints. Sure, I put some wooden planks and a copper plate down there, because I was missing storage space elsewhere. And what about those safety regulations? Did he really expect an answer? If he knew where he was, he knew I wasn’t a morning person.

“Stop.” That had been too many words, too many accusations for someone begging for MY help. I was awake, sure, but that only meant that I was on ‘Auto’. I imagined a confused bumblebee trying to solve a problem from Algebra class. Slowly, the situation seeped into my basic thinking processes. After the first surprise, I felt the need for a hot cup of strong coffee. Well, maybe not need, but the yearning for coffee. Algebra waved bye-bye from the dream state. I sat up, which was a mistake. I groaned loudly. My shoulders and neck ached as well as my hands and elbows. I was a bit stiff and gravity reminded me of my perpetual lack of elegance. Really, I felt like a frozen log.

“Umpf! Movemovemove!” The voice protested against my shifting weight.”Hurry, before somebody comes to check on the exits.” I maneuvered myself to the feet-end of the bed, where the voice wasn’t coming from. The cardigan I had kicked to the floor smiled at me. I tried to pick it up, but my hands reminded me of the effort and pain it took to move my fingers, so I stood up instead. It took a moment, so my joints settled in place. The coffee barged back into my head, grabbed the bumbling bee and the Algebra by the scruff of their necks, and showed them back down, to the dark danger area. A hot cup was all I needed now.

“Hey! Where are you going? Come back and fix this! What will you do to make it up to me?” I listened and decided: this wasn’t sleep paralysis, maybe it was a hypnogogic hallucination. Yep. That must be it. Nothing to worry about. I went into the kitchen and started the coffee machine. I took the coat from the rack and sat down at the table, empty cup in my hand.


pic made & owned by author

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