Friday, October 3, 2008

Some fiction on a Friday

It's been a busy week, so my tirades on the advertising industry will have to wait. So I'm pulling some stuff from the vault. Read on if you care to.

I wrote the following as a genre exercise. It's this first part of a story I intend to complete later on...someday, someday.

by -j-j-
28th Grade

About fifteen minutes ago, Leigh Grete woke to discover that her eyes would not open. At first, this did not give her second’s thought. It was not unusual for her to awake with her eyes so heavy that they would not open, or, if it was allergy season, for her eyelashes to seal together with crusted sand. In this instance, she merely lay on her back, allowing a portion of the morning news to filter into her ear. Within seconds, the words from the radio began to blend into the beginnings of a dream, as her male classics professor from Irvine spoke in a very clear female voice. Leigh’s mind bobbed to the surface for a flash recalling that not only did she never have a classics professor, but neither did she attend Irvine, and her arm shot to the right and pressed the snooze button, stopping in mid-sentence the report on recess being dropped from area schools.

Nine minutes later the alarm blared again, something about escalations and bulls and unseasonable weather. Leigh made no movement for about half a minute. At this point she had rolled over onto her stomach with both arms tucked under her chest. In one sudden, violent motion she jerked her arm from under her without lifting her head, and swatted the square alarm clock, missing the snooze button altogether. The noise did not stop. Leigh lurched up on her arms, expecting to open her eyes and gain better aim on the button, but this did not happen. Instead her upper eyelids yanked at the lower ones in an impotent attempt free themselves.

The yammering noise from the radio continued.

Leigh froze, determining which area of irritation to first address. Deeming silence the higher priority, She jutted her arm and slapped the clock twice more. Muscle memory awakened on the second slap and she felt the oblong button depress under her middle finger. Quiet at last. Her hand lingered at the clock for a second and then felt around to the right side, accurately finding the off switch. With a click, Leigh withdrew her hand.

She let out a breath and rolled over onto her back.

Both of her palms made an involuntary swing up to her face to rub her eyes. As her fingers made a long pulling rub from the bridge of her nose across her eyelids, Leigh became increasingly aware that here eyes were making no progress towards opening. She rubbed a little harder and tried to jerk her eyelids apart with a series of rapid blinks. Nothing but failure.

Under the cotton sheets, she forced her body into stillness, her eyelids and eyebrows exercising the only detectable movement. She squished her eyelids tight, as tight as humanly possible, like a four-year-old playing hide and seek, and then sprang them as wide as she could with her eyebrows kicking in the little bit of extra effort toward her hairline. Her toes pointed downward under the covers without her notice. Still nothing. Only the dim maroon color inside the lids.

Leigh paused. She brought her fingers back to her eyes and poked around the socket. Her eyeball was indeed still there and rolling around no doubt trying to find some point of focus. She pressed down hard and held the pressure there for a moment. She hadn’t done this since she was a child, when bored of trying of sleep at night she would press her fists onto her eyes. After a few seconds, swirling psychedelic explosions would appear. When she thought she could stand it no longer, she pulled her fists away and her eyes would relax. The adult Leigh, now prostrate on her bed and trying to open her eyes recalled this phenomenon and speculated as to the cause for the fireworks.

“I’ll have to Google that.” She said half out loud to no one.

Leigh pressed slightly harder and then slapped her hands down by her side. At nearly the same time, her body sprang up ninety degrees and she let out a strange abrupt cry, not so much because her eyes wouldn’t open, but more so that the convenience of her day was now totally ruined, any plans for efficiency were null.

Leigh could feel that she cried a couple of tears, but she did not feel them on her cheeks as was taken for granted. Her head tilted up. Inside her eye sockets, an odd waterlogged sensation covered her eyeballs, the tears having no place to go. She poked her left eye (and was reminded her of her much older cousin Mark’s waterbed, which, when she was eleven years old, was the coolest thing ever) and it occurred to her that she might not have the luxury of crying again if the tears were to remain sequestered inside her eye socket. Momentary worry was quelled by an unexpected drainage and subsequent pouring of water from out her nostrils. Her eyes returned to a relative state of normal.

Wiping her nose on her jersey sleeve produced the spontaneous recollection of the day she realized that secretions from her seven year old runny nose did not simply vaporize once wiped on the back of one’s sleeve. Until that day in the second grade, Leigh had been using her sleeves (like most children do) as an ersatz tissue on the days when illness or allergies took hold. It must have been one of those days when, readying for the rub she looked down and to her horror, saw the crystallized remains of previous deposits across the sleeve of her precious lime green hand-me-down turtleneck. She wondered who had noticed, and even though many, if not all, the kids around her had similar streaks on their shirts, she vowed never to do it again.

Five minutes had passed with this memory playing out for her while she sat motionless on the bed, one of her hands hovering and scratching around her lip. Regaining focus on her current situation, Leigh mused as to what she must look like, how much time had passed, and how was she going to get to work.

“God, is this what it’s going to be like?” she half thought, half said, shuffling the covers off her bare legs. “I don’t want it to be like this…I don’t have time to sit around and remember this and think about that stuff all day…I don’t-fu-shit“ Leigh stopped speaking out loud as she crawled down to the foot of the bed. Once her feet were on the floor, Leigh shambled, arms outstretched in the direction of the bathroom.

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