An exercise in elapsing time.

What a poor reticence of a bed this is. One with no formal metal structures that support it, being that it’s merely a mattress on a wood-imitation floor. There is a wall outlet on the left side of this mattress onto which a phone is attached. It rings, it’s an alarm.

The man was dreaming, of what, his present recollection does not hold onto, as the alarm presents itself with such a force, that the man is viscously churned awake. Fogginess clouds his mind, for he has just left the dream. He is void of thought, but here, roused in the moment. It reads 9:00. He presses onto the glass screen of his mobile phone, the automatic snooze, allowing the phone to recalibrate its timer, permitting for an additional five minutes to be added. And the man falls asleep again. And he enters a dream.

He sees Jenny Mazerkowitz, in a formidable night gown, a dark-red one, silk, tapered at the waist. He’s never seen Jenny in real-life, only having heard her name in conversations, and upon eavesdropping tête-à-têtes around the office-room water dispenser. But he knows for sure this is Jenny. Visually there is an obvious and quite apparent discrepancy that breaks the wall of this dream-illusion. It is this: her face is able to be seen, and yet it is stimulatingly blurred, but also, he can see her exacting countenance. It’s a strange dialectic with a plus one. It’s all too confusing, confusing enough to let the dreamer know that this is not reality. But he doesn’t care, and he is pleased to see that Jenny is here with him. They walk around the park, they talk, it’s all colloquial; fall trees, autumn leaves, it’s all cliché. It’s all built from memory and imagination. They’re holding coffees that taste like spice and chai, is it really coffee? And although he doesn’t remember placing the cup up to his lips, he feels the hot liquid seep down through his throat. He’s there for hours with Jenny. He’s dreaming that he’s there.

Then he awakes. The alarm’s off again, and it’s just so loud. It reads 9:05.

“Five more minutes.”

He places his finger on the glass, and he begins to start falling.

He’s in a hospital. On his right, there’s a device that looks vaguely like a pump, but also like an intravenous therapy device. It’s connected to his face through a nasal cannula, and the machine from which the tube extends from is an IV stand, but at the middle of the stainless-steel stand is a large, hollow, clear, glass cylinder in which there are about one hundred cigarettes, the long ones, standing upright, tightly compartmentalized. They’re all lit, but really they’re not cigarettes, because the smoke they produce is more like a humidifier’s wet vapor. There’s a pump mechanism within the cylinder that compresses down, forcing the air out of the pseudo-cigs, into the tube, up to his nose. He breathes. Visitors come in and out, family members, friends, strangers, and those dream people he can recognize by name, but not by face. He’s there for hours. It feels like hours.

Then he awakes. It’s the alarm again. Finger to screen. Five more. He’s off again.

He’s on Mars. Or really some terrain on Earth, that mimics the basic, brick-red, dusty plateau that constitutes most of the fourth closest planet from the Sun. He’s there with people, smaller people, humanoids, four-feet tall that are all black, pure black, so black that they look flat, but he knows that they are dimensional, solid, whole. They tell him they need water, that they are dying of thirst.

“Quench me sir! Quench me!” He hears them say. In the distance he sees a pitcher of water, an extremely large one, it has to be, since he can see it from this far away. It’s made of shiny see-through plastic, it’s blue-brimmed, and he can see the top of the water churning. He tells the small people that there is a huge pitcher of water in the distance, he says this with enthusiasm, but the small people retort back with a certain snarkiness; “The pitcher is too small- can’t you see it? It has barely enough water to quench a single one of us.” These people don’t seem to know how vision and space work, how a vanishing point skews depth, and thus the image size. It’s not actually that small, this is a huge pitcher of water, and he knows it, but his fundamental beliefs are almost immediately crushed. There is a manipulation of the spatial plane here. He reaches his arm out towards the direction of the pitcher and feels it, and he grabs it. The pitcher was not in the distance, but was floating right in front of him, a few feet away. Since it’s only inches tall, he crushes it instantly. The glass was apparently fragile, and as the water begins to drips from his finger, he awakes.

The alarm hasn’t gone off yet, but he’s over slept twelve minutes, and it’s about time for him to get off the mattress.