I slept until nearly 8 a.m. today, which is very late in the morning for me, though that hasn't always been the case. I've always enjoyed being awake just before dawn, only for much of my life I was enjoying it from the other end, staying up all night and going to sleep just as the sun rose, instead of waking up while it was still dark. In either case, I think the quiet hours tend to stir the muse into action. I like to play my guitar in the post-wee hours of the morning, which was odd the first few times I did it, but is part of my routine now. Coffee and guitar make waking up worth the effort. Unless I'm feeling down, that is.
It took nightmares and laundry to wake me up this morning. I dreamed that the Maryland police had found some fault in the service of my 1999 sentence that caused me to be taken back into custody and forced into an alcoholic rehab center. In my nightmare I had just guzzled whiskey and punched a cop, so maybe it was a good time to wake up. And since I was up, I might as well do the laundry and get that out of the way.
The door to the laundry room was ajar, and I wondered if someone had beaten me to the washer. I wasn't prepared to open the door and see my imaginary friend Fancy. It had been two years or so since the last time I had seen her. Back then, she had eloped with my imaginary cousin, the depressive Dee and they had run off together into an imaginary sunset. That was fine with me. They weren't missed.
"Hi", she piped cheerily, as if this chance meeting were nothing unusual.
"You don't exist", I replied. "I am going to close my eyes. When I open them, you will be gone."
"Shit. What are you doing here? And where's Dee?"
She produced a suppositious handbag out of thin air, fished a figmental cigarette from within it and affixed it to her illusory lower lip, where it dangled, invisible and unlit.
"Dee is probably asleep on the sofa. When we met, we used to have sex on that sofa, but looking back on it, I think he was just using me as a way to get closer to the couch, because he sure does like to spend time with it and not so much with me. Anyway, I'm back because he doesn't need me and you do."
"Um, OK. I'm sorry about Dee, but what did you expect? And I don't need you."
"Yes you do. Do you have a light?"
"Fine. Could you check the lint filter in the dryer while I separate the wash? I need a few things from the store too. No."
" That isn't what I meant", she said, transferring the unseen cigarette to her phantasmal hand.
"For what, then? Surely there are better literary devices than you ", I told her, immediately feeling bad about doing so, weakly adding "no offense" to my statement.
"None taken. Anyway, for starters there's that one thing...", she trailed off.
"You live in my head. You know how I feel about that."
"Well, you know what they say about good intentions and the Road to Hell."
" 'They' are some bubble-headed, untraveled idiots," I responded, "only a naive optimist would believe that the road to Hell would be paved at all. The Road to Hell is a muddy wagon-rut, strewn with sharp useless bits of glass and gravel and dotted with holes deep and treacherous enough to hobble a horse or snap an automobile axle in half. The Road to Paradise, however, is just on the other side of this here boulder. All you have to do is push it to the top of this hill and all your problems will be solved."
"Wow,man, that's like, really heavy." She blinked her absent eyes in affected astonishment.
"Don't make fun of me."
"Why not? You're hilarious. Anyway, look at it like a weather map. There's a giant hurricane right...here...and in the center of it is..."
" The 'eye'. A calm center", I interrupted.
"I was going to say ' a massive earthquake' , and if you would let me fini..."
"Earthquakes aren't weather."
"If you would let me finish. I'm just saying that if you want to build a shelter from the storm, maybe you shouldn't build it on land that is liable to split open and cough up brimstone clouds and giant scorpions with the heads of men."
"You don't like me very much, do you? And the Endtimes touch is a bit-over-the top."
"Gee, ya think? Anyway, I never put much weight in prophecy. It's just bad poetry and subject to poor interpretations; relying on prophets to map the future for you is like trying to discover the secrets of the Universe by watching a Doors tribute band do a cover of The End. My friend."
" Hmm. I hate to say this, but I agree with you. I would take that one step further and say that it isn't smart to believe anything that anyone tells you, ever."
"Especially yourself, " she commented.
"Especially myself, yes."
"And you really believe that?"
"Don't set logic snares for me, I know that trick. And of course I don't really believe that. Life would be unlivable if I were to think that way. And if tomorrow didn't hold some faint promise, I wouldn't be washing my socks, now would I? Domestic chores are the first victims of hopelessness, after all."
" So you are doing the dishes next?"
"Don't get carried away."