fiction

“When Sheets Attack! Part 4: Ridiculously Righteous Rage” {complete}

we get some answers. Do read “When Sheets Attack! Part 1,” “Part 2: The Cricket Conundrum,” and “Part 3: Sleeping Beauty Syndrome” first.

I smiled as I climbed into bed. With all my troubles sleeping and dreaming whilst I slept, I’d instituted a new bedtime routine. As much as I chafe to wander freely and live life free of encumbrances, a routine serves as balm for my soul. If I travel too long without access to a kitchen, I get twitchy in the manner of runners kept from a treadmill.

Only a couple of days in, and if the routine wasn’t exactly helping yet, I thought it was, which is all that mattered. I washed my face, I made my chamomile tea, and I climbed into bed with it, planner and pen ready to jot some notes on the day at the ready.

“oh, god, that’s hot.”

Predictable, really. Hot tea, cold night, comfortable bed, and me. And spilled tea.

I leaped up, shouting. To add insult to my burns, I kicked the corner of the bed with my tender, exposed big toe. I cursed, while Pepper picked one eyeball out of the nest of blankets in his bed. He blinked, put head back under the covers, and returned to his rest.

I took a deep breath and set about stripping the bed. I barely bothered to leave on the one light as I grabbed a dry set of sheets. Luckily, I caught all the tea with myself and my pajamas. The bed remained dry. I changed and dumped the cold tea down the drain.

I bounced into bed after turning the light off. No reading for me tonight I thought as I landed. Before I could be launched back into the air, something grabbed and held on tight. I struggled, failing a bit.

“Hold still, you horrible creature,” the nefarious sheets growled all around me. Continue reading

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“When Sheets Attack! Part 4: Ridiculously Righteous Rage” {incomplete}

in honor of International Women’s Day, I present the incomplete Part 4 of “When Sheets Attack!” Read Parts 1-3 here.

I smiled as I climbed into bed. With all my troubles sleeping and dreaming whilst I slept, I’d instituted a new bedtime routine. As much as I chafe to wander freely and live life free of encumbrances, a routine serves as balm for my soul. If I travel too long without access to a kitchen, I get twitchy in the manner of runners kept from a treadmill.

Only a couple of days in, and if the routine wasn’t exactly helping yet, I thought it was, which is all that mattered. I washed my face, I made my chamomile tea, and I climbed into bed with it, planner and pen ready to jot some notes on the day at the ready.

“oh, god, that’s hot.”

Predictable, really. Hot tea, cold night, comfortable bed, and me. And spilled tea.

I leapt up, shouting. To add insult to my burns, I kicked the corner of the bed with my tender, exposed big toe. I cursed, while Pepper picked one eyeball out of the nest of blankets in his bed. He blinked, put head back under the covers, and returned to his rest.

I took a deep breath and set about stripping the bed. I barely bothered to leave on the one light as I grabbed a dry set of sheets. Luckily, I caught all the tea with myself and my pajamas. The bed remained dry. I changed and dumped the cold tea down the drain.

I bounced into bed after turning the light off. No reading for me tonight I thought as I landed. Before I could be launched back into the air, something grabbed and held on tight. I struggled, failing a bit.

“Hold still, you horrible creature,” the nefarious sheets growled all around me.

“Damn!” I could blame no one but myself: in my haste I returned the sentient sheets to my bed. “You better have a rational explanation for grabbing me.”

I thought of the dream. The voices were so similar, could the sheets be the stranger in the stone bedroom of my dream? What worked once might again.

“I do not consent,” I said firmly. Success! I scrambled free, taking the duvet with me. The sheets gently held on to my ankle.

“There is no need to chill yourself, demon sprite of my dreams.” His tone had not improved.

“No grabbing, then,” I responded. Not only is it simply unacceptable to grab a person when she doesn’t want to be grabbed, but I have a particular aversion to it.

As a child, Mum wasn’t big on the idea of spanking me. She was still strict. I knew from a young age that inappropriate behavior would be tolerated neither at home nor in public, but especially not in public. At home, some yelling and time spent on a chair in my parents’ bedroom kept me from the delightful distractions of my own space and left me thinking of my bad behavior.

Making a scene in public was never something Mother tolerated for herself, let alone me. Possibly, it led to my own reticence today. She was never the type of mother that yelled or screamed or repeated admonitions to her child. That didn’t mean that she refrained from discipline. It only meant covert activities.

I was a ticklish child, anywhere and everywhere. From my head to my neck, along my spine and legs, especially on my feet, and even in my upper arms, the wrong {or right} touch could send me into convulsions of wiggles and giggles. Unfortunately, I never grew out of it. It isn’t exactly acceptable or fun to collapse into a heap of wheezing giggles at thirty, but such is life.

Mother can still send me into convulsions, but mostly of the get away, get off me, no I’m not in trouble variety. She had the glare down, and if that did not work, would firmly grab hold of my upper arm and take me to a private place for my dressing down. Somehow, her fingers unerringly found the precise spots to dig in without hurting every single time. It may not have hurt, but those bony pianist fingers of hers pushed through the tickling to disciplinary action.

The sheets had no fingers, but damn if they didn’t have my ankle in precisely the wrong hold. I lacked the patience to talk things through, cold, tired, damp, and still angry. I growled in return.

“No grabbing, then,” I repeated. “No touching, no stroking, and stay off me.”

“Agreed, poppet.” He seemed to have calmed. The sheets oozed away, giving me space as I gathered the duvet into a nest against the footboard of the bed. I felt safe again.

In their slithering, the sheets languidly propped up against my pillows, slowly sliding into the shape of a man. I stared: crumples and folds formed into a forehead and eyebrows, sloped over shoulders, and twisted into the cords of muscular arms.

to be continued…

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“When Sheets Attack! Part 3: Sleeping Beauty Syndrome”

the silliness continues. Read “When Sheets Attack!” Part 1 and “Part 2: The Cricket Conundrum” first.

I forced my way out of heavy sleep. I felt like I’d been beaten with a bag of nickels. My world was fuzzy around the edges, my body heavy and useless. I’d suffered not the deep restorative sleep of a good night, but the drugged fog of a bad one.

I scrunched my eyes and moaned. “This is not good,” I told Pepper. “Three nights in a row,” I trailed off, thinking. There weren’t any crickets. Where had the crickets gone? They had not been so demonstrative lately, but they still chirped occasionally.

Shrugging, I went about my day, hoping for a better night’s rest soon. Mother phoned that day while I was at lunch, wondering how I’d been. We kept in close touch, but something told her to check on me, she said. “Call it mother’s intuition,” she said.

A friend took me out to supper to celebrate. “It’s not every day one turns thirty, even if today were your birthday,” she said while refusing to allow me to pick up the check. A glass of wine with my food felt heavenly, and I supposed another couldn’t hurt in my quest for a good night’s sleep.

I poured one and searched out the light floral scent wafting through the house. “That scamp!” I exclaimed. “ooh, ow. Not so loud,” I told myself.

Mother certainly had been busy: she’d sprayed lavender and chamomile in my bedroom, changed the bedclothes, and left a little note. She wished me a good sleep and pleasant dreams of fairy tales.

“I think it’d be best to follow Mother’s advice, Pepper.” He gave me a look that clearly said, “feed me, then we’ll snuggle. Do whatever you like as long as you hold still on a comfortable chair.” That is one of his five favorite expressions.

Continuing on with my wine plan, I pulled down some of the lighter of Grimm’s tales. I read and read, sipping occasionally, and continued to scratch Pepper behind the ears as he demanded. When my glass emptied and I felt I could stay awake no longer, it was time to crawl into bed. My head hit the pillow and my eyes drooped. Sleep claimed me in the comforting, cricket-free silence.

I fell and jerked awake. “Ugh. That’s always terrifying, isn’t it, Pepper?”

“Who is Pepper and why are you in my bed?” He shoved me away and rolled over, grasping my shoulders and shaking. “Who are you?”

Continue reading

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musings

2015

New Year, New You!

Make 2015 Your Year!

10 Ways to Stick to Your Resolutions!

it’s just a number, just a date. The numbers click over from 23:59 to 0:00, from 31 December to 1 January. We all wander about for the next few weeks, mumbling that we forgot that the year changed on the calendar, on the dateline for our checks. Everyone is fascinated by numbers, by the hope that the simple change from one number to the next will change our simplest selves from who we are to some perfect person we wish we could be. Every website devoted to making folks feel ashamed about themselves has some form of the above headlines.

Still, we make our lists and then make our excuses. Habits are equally difficult to form and to break, and yet we try each new year, at the turns of the season, on our birthdays to form new habits and break the old. Since last I posted, I turned 30. It didn’t bother me as much as I thought it might, but it did bring about some new habits.

I take care of my skin. I hang upside down in aerial yoga once or twice a week. I struggle with adopting Amy Poehler’s “good for her, not for me” mantra. I journal a few sentences each day. I watch Doctor Who.

vmr #aerial yoga

don’t even get me started on the awesomeness of back-flipping into flying bow pose.

This new 2015 has brought a few more habits, and a few more plans, and for more than just my suddenly appearing biceps. With some determination and a touch of luck, and possibly a few tips on how to make good habits stick, 2015 should be a year of growth.

When Sheets Attack!” hasn’t progressed much on paper {on the keyboard? the screen?}, but it isn’t just for fun anymore. It’s a bedtime story for all those girls and women who want a fairytale reminder that the girls and women they are when they’re alone are the same girls and women they are when they are surrounded by the people and society that pull them in a hundred different directions. It feels like a reminder we all need.

It’s a new year, and if you want to be a new you, go be one. But, if you just want to make a tweak here and there, or are contented with yourself, do it. Be you, and be happy in 2015.

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“When Sheets Attack! Part Two: The Cricket Conundrum”

let the silliness continue just in time to celebrate my 30th on the 27th: the second {unedited} installment of “When Sheets Attack!” Enjoy, but don’t forget to read Part One first.

I flipped. I flopped. I yelled. I even tried holding very still, flinging up the switch, and pouncing where I last heard it. All I succeeded in doing was stubbing the third toe of my left foot badly and encouraging Pepper in what I am quite sure is the belief that the human who sleeps in the big bed is batty.

Crickets. Every August as my birthday approaches, crickets celebrate with a chirping chorus. This year, instead of an occasional chirping that sent me on search and destroy missions, they heralded neither the dawn nor twilight, but some typically quiet hour between midnight and four.

Oh, they still chirp here and there throughout the day. I’ll see a tiny baby one hopping in the sink. Pepper thinks the big ones are little guests. Sometimes I see him, lying down on the floor, his head cocked to the side, following the little black hopping creature with his eyes as it dances between his paws.

I quite enjoy light chirping, outside my window. It serves as an excellent reminder of the stark boring nature of our cold, dead winters. Summer means I only close my window when it rains. Summer means lush greens and filled branches. And, louder, and louder, and louder, incessantly, this summer means crickets.

For why it never occurs to me to kill them or spray some sort of insect poison, I blame my mother. She had a hundred little superstitions. “Its bad luck to kill a spider in the house.” “Don’t put new shoes on the table.” “You spilled salt. Throw some over your left shoulder with your right hand.”

We all rolled our eyes, me especially skilled at doing so even at four, but did her bidding. Not only was it easier, but I soon absorbed a number of those little rules. Never ever did I open an umbrella inside. I handled mirrors with extreme care.

I tried to pounce. There! I could just see the tiny movement. “I’ll catch you, my pretties,” I thought with a feigned evil chuckle. Too little sleep rendered me sillier than usual. The cricket got away. I heaved myself back into my bed, choosing to ignore the sheets’ warnings from weeks ago that his annoyance stemmed from my bruising assault on his stretched out form.

Continue reading

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