I have this fantasy. Well, I won't go into that one, but I do have this other fantasy that doesn't involve lots of money and John F. Kennedy Jr. It's one that I assume many people really do experience every day. I imagine waking up in a bed to the sound of an alarm clock. Happily reaching over and turning off the buzzer, bright-eyed and ready to embrace the day. The smell of fresh coffee from the automatic coffeemaker wafting through the air. Strolling about in a plush terry cloth bathrobe, drinking said coffee along with freshly squeezed orange juice while reading the paper (oddly, this is most vividly depicted in Ambien sleeping-pill commercials, with beautiful people living in very spacious homes near the ocean and still not able to sleep).
Well, lemme tell you how it really is: It's 4 a.m. and I wake up in a cold sweat from a nightmare about someone executing my cat and handing her body to me in a brown paper bag that I clutch as her breathing stops. I am on the sofa, where I have fallen asleep the night before while watching television, now with a crick in my neck that's so bad I wonder if I've had a stroke and am paralyzed. It would come as no big shock. I fumble to find my glasses so I can see in the dark to find my cigarettes, but the glasses are nowhere to be found, until later, when I find them under the sofa, the lenses smeared with who knows what. I try balancing them on my head, but between them being bent and one of my ears being lower than the other one, they barely stay on the bridge of my nose without some major adjustment.
I feel certain that, other than fishermen and factory workers, no one else in the world is awake yet. I attempt to make coffee. I fill the coffee maker up with enough water to make four cups, only to realize there are no filters. So I make an origami-like filter out of the last paper towel only to open the coffee can and find that there is approximately one teaspoon of coffee left. So I just go back to the sofa in a mild state of shock. Mild, that is, until I begin watching the early-morning news. Between the satellite-dish company and some bizarre governmental stipulations on the broadcasting of local channels, I've not watched the local morning news in years. But now the satellite is gone and I can tune in and am glued to it, switching rapidly from one station to the next. They show scene after scene of emotional people crying and holding each other because of various disasters, murders, and lives lost abroad in "friendly fire."
The only thing worse than trying to figure out how gunfire that kills our own soldiers can be "friendly" is the fact that while these scenes are being broadcast, there's a bar at the bottom of the screen upon which public-school lunch menus from various neighboring towns are emblazoned. At the top of the screen, there's a scene of a mother clutching a photograph of her dead son, and at the bottom they're reporting that schoolchildren in Marion, Arkansas, will be lunching today on spaghetti or a ham burrito, green peas, whole corn, and peaches. Sometimes they get the story and the audio mixed up.
My absolute favorite was a broadcast the other day about an armed robbery. The anchor's voice was saying "proclaimed to be a threat to society," in reference to the convicted robber, but just as the visual was about to go to the jewelry store that had been robbed, the station accidentally showed a split-second clip of George W. Bush waving from an airplane. It made my day. Then another bar pops up filling everyone in on the news that schoolchildren in Byhalia will be lunching on barbecue or tacos, pizza nuggets, green beans, fried okra, fruit cup, and milk. By this time I have usually thrown in the towel, straightened out my glasses, smoked my last cigarette, and have run out in the dark to Amoco to get more smokes and a cup of coffee and then wait for the sun to come up so I can embrace the day. And then I have to write this.
So here goes with a brief look at some of what's going on around town this week. Tonight, there's pool, shuffleboard, video games, and live music by The Nightcaps at the Full Moon Club upstairs from Zinnie's East. And Teresa Pate and her jazz combo are in the M Bar at Melange. I'm sure there are many more spectacular things going on, but no one told me what.