The quote that Eric Clapton gives before playing "Layla" on the live album, Unplugged. This is an old idea I've been floating around in my head. A number of fan fictions, possibly all in the same universe, but not hitting you over the head with that. The joke then being the reader needing to figure out who the story was about. I've got the idea for two more of these on the blog, but this one will be by far the easiest to figure out. At least I think so, but they aren't written yet, so who knows? Anyway, hope it's fun. I've never really seriously written strict fan fiction, so this was interesting.
The alarm clock now clicking over to the new hour is a bit of a relief, because I’ve lied in this bed awake this whole night, perplexed by the strange shapes of the woman next to me, a new addition, and one I am not yet familiar with. A few minutes back, realizing that sleep was useless with this pleasant mass in bed with me keeping me up with its possibility, I decided to turn off the alarm. We were up late last night or rather this morning, and there’s no reason I can see to worry her pretty little head with the blaring of 6:45. I’ve come up with an idea and been working with it, tweaking it and forming it in my mind, while lying in this bed. Perhaps this is all a dream, the woman next to me, the bed, perhaps I never came back from the loony bin, or maybe I’ve simply not realized that I’ve fallen asleep yet and this plan will never come into action, because the plan is just my mind still faking thought. Or maybe I’m thinking too much. Simplify it—a quick pick up of Occam’s razor, and I’m out of bed.
I go to the bathroom to shave, and look back at the woman as I do so, at least until I cut myself, which draws my eyes back to the mirror. A few minutes later has me grabbing the cane, what I need, and locking up, all the while staying quiet. I reflect on the fact that it’s mildly pitiful how new all this feels, not only because I’m such an old man, but because I’ve been here before. We all have, and yet, how quickly we forget. Once forgotten, my musing mind continues, we do what we do best. Everybody lies and we fill in the gaps with untruths and rationalizations. She didn’t mean anything to me or he was a prick, because villainizing is just so much easier.
This pessimism continues through a few stoplights, waving to someone from the hospital in their car, but I don’t know if he saw me, and arriving at the job. The grand entrance—because I’m never here this early—sees no comment from the male nurse, which is interesting, but I don’t think much about it, because I’ve been trying to stay out of the mind lately. You got lost in it once, a voice says that’s not quite mine, but I look around and everyone in the room appears to be real, so I only let the frustration show by biting my lip.
Now, to avoid the team, for this little plan, because if I get a case in the next few hours it’s all over and done with, so I’m flicking my head around and searching with my eyes, which causes me to run directly into someone leaving a clinic room. Surprisingly, it feels right to apologize, which I do, and he’s moderately okay with it, probably because of my cane, so time moves on just as quickly. I can get to her office without further interruption.
There, basically sitting at the desk to answer calls, I do let the mind go. Can life really go in that direction? it thinks, You always thought happiness was a myth, that delusion was not useful, but then you realized you were delusional, were mentally unstable, so what is the problem, then, in looking at the glass as fuller than it really is?
A knock on the glass, the inimitable Watson to my Holmes, and he charges in quickly, while I consider the possibility of a string of stories that he could write about the mysteries that we solve here. “What are you doing here?” he starts and I wave him off, point to my sunglasses.
“These aren’t just for style; I have a mild hangover. Please turn down the vindictive.”
“She’s not going to be happy about this.”
“This is a favor.”
“Do you expect me to believe that she asked you, of all people, to hold down the house for her? And as if your jobs were at all similar!”
“It’s a suspect plot element, I’ll admit.”
“Have you ever gotten the feeling that we’re on a television show here? That nothing’s real?”
“Are you fucking with me?” I shake my head. “No? You’re usually the one to brutally whip someone with your tongue for stating that sort of comical thought. Maybe…maybe this seems fake to you because it’s new? I can see you’re smiling. That’s surely not common around here.”
“I don’t think she’ll have too much a problem with this. I’ll admit it’s a favor in my eyes alone, I haven’t talked to anyone yet, but when I go home in a few hours for an early lunch, I’ll wake her up and see how she reacts. One hopes,” something is changing in his face, he’s working something out in his mind, “she’ll be grateful.” The last word having a sexual note to it.
His face scrunches up. “Really this time?” I’m not sure if anything’s real these days, if I’ve ever even officially existed. I think therefore I am, but what I think I see, what I think is real, that’s not there sometimes, so if my thoughts aren’t real, what am I? And then I realize he’s waiting on an answer.
“I’m clean, aren’t I?” He almost asks the unspoken question, but with the grace of a friend he leaves it on the air, the Are you? which would anger me somewhat, but only affect our relationship. Today’s happiness is not dependent on me and him, as impossible as that may feel.
And the morning passes by. Not uneventfully, but boringly, the few actions that take place: I run to pee hoping that no one decides this is the time to call her; I answer the phone twice and take messages; I think that perhaps the second person recognized my voice, but it’s not that important, because he was plenty jovial; and I hide under the desk when my team walks by outside the glass.
Then it’s time, 11:30, which’ll have given her nine hours, and considering the circles under her eyes as I kissed her face last night, hours well deserved. I leave a note, Out to Lunch, hope that everyone has to say they haven’t seen her today, and to go check the office, and that no one’s a prick about it. The motorcycle, butterflies in my stomach as I drive home, I feel like I’m in high school again, as stupid as that sounds.
Parked, I walk up to the room, 221B, and in, the sound of the door opening might be what wakes her, and she calls out, “Greg?” And yes, I could get used to this.