MAY 2009


By Michael G. Donkin, Mar 26, 2009

I am taking a prescribed medication, by the name of A______, to write this story. It was prescribed. This story is an exhalation of simmering emeralds. I panic and drift away. I reflect on my disease. An eminent neurologist has just diagnosed me. It is now historical fact that I am cumulatively sleep deprived. One only has to count the concentric rings in my spinal column to see that last week alone I slept exactly 68.11 hours, which, although too much for a person my age (24 years), becomes significantly less impressive if you subtract the 27.12 hours I held my breath. I am not bragging. She, the neurologist, is my employer. She will remain there, above me, for she is well known in her field. Does this cause brain damage? I want to know, supplicating her, tugging at her coat tails. I point to the concentric circles in my spine. I demand privileged information, like a child cursing in a diner. She ignores. But I am persistent for a talisman, a vagrant coffin, a frankfurter nailed to the sea-glass window. My stare falls on a work of heraldry that is remarkable for its titillating subject matter: a peacock (matador) slaying an octopus. Will I get Parkinsonís if I continue to laugh in my sleep? Oh, no, I donít think so, she yawns, and suddenly winks like a diamond. Is this where my life went? she cries. I faint from a sudden attack of priapism. Well if you think thereís even a remote chance of Parkinsonís, I will need a higher salary, or a cigarette butt. I might settle for that. A cigarette butt. Deal. To the garbage can. You are a generous heart, I say, not at all sarcastic. We are sifting through the garbage outside the metro, tearing apart the world for a solitary butt. She uncovers a pair of sunglasses I threw away last week, having become afraid of their stimulant-like properties. I crush the shades in my hands like a daddy longlegs. It turns to sand. She wants to know where I am, have I made significant progress? Dividends, I answer. Was I properly trained? Am I in love? I must bite my tongue, for I am enjoying the training too much and I wish never to stop. I canít stand lying anymore, so I contrive a feeble excuse for leaving and take my lunch out to the veranda, where the ravens are. The entire city fogs, my lenses go black, and I feel myself getting more stimulated. And the ravens ignore me. I divest myself of all belongings. A tape measurer; a conch shell; three pristine balls of graphing paper; an origami horseshoe (wrapped in tin foil); a first-prize ribbon in reverse-alchemy; a Brazilian translator of childrenís novels, her pen name is F______. She is escorted by a gentleman who is too dashing not to be a chevalier (i.e. paramour), his name I have narrowed down to no less than three trochees and a yuh sound. He is an excellent dancer. Her eyes are kept from me beneath a curtain of luxuriant hair. I disrobe.

Michael G. Donkin is twenty-four. He works in a sleep lab. His work can be found in elimae and 6S.