Our undecided hero Preston is sitting at an overly large table in a very upscale restaurant, accompanied by a pretty girl with a shoulder length blonde bob seated directly across from him. The restaurant is well lit. There is the finest china on each table. Patrons and servers alike are dressed to the nines. The wine is flowing and the steaks are arriving. There is a lone trumpet player playing a sad yet triumphant song in a far corner.
Beside Preston’s plate spread, there is a purple neck pillow, a writing pad and a pen laid out on the table in very orderly fashion. The waitress rights down their order and she leaves the table.
Carys, Preston’s companion, breaks the ice. “So, tell me a little bit about yourself. I feel like I barely know anything about you. Shocked that I’m here, frankly.”
Preston. “Well, k, let me see. I work as a delivery driver. I own two cats. I enjoy going to the gym. And I have what has been labeled (he does finger quotes) extreme sleep apnea.” He takes a long drink of water. “Tell me more about you.”
Carys looks side to side. “Whoa, whoa, k, what! Let’s stay on you for just a smidge, ok? Extreme sleep apnea? What does that even mean to me? You fall asleep everywhere?”
Preston. “No, no, no. Well, ok, kind of. I think what you’re thinking of is narcolepsy more so. I don’t have that, thank goodness.” He scoffs then continues. “I mean I guess I fall asleep everywhere like (coupling fingers in a count progressively) after waking up, in the shower, at breakfast, driving to work, driving at work, breathing. Basically, I always wanna sleep but its more controlled than the narcoleptic guy. Pfft. Those people? Idiots. Like uhhh look at me!” He imitates someone falling asleep at will, head back, tongue sticking out, making a gurgling sound.
Carys. “I’m sorry… what’s happening? Are you dead?!”
Preston. “No, no. See I… just forget it. Split the cheque?”
Carys. “What cheque?? We just ordered.”
Preston. “Oh. So the date didn’t just end then?”
Carys. “Why? ‘Cuz you didn’t fall asleep for real? Yes, it’s over. I couldn’t imagine the bedroom antics with you. Non-stop fireworks, I bet.”
Preston. “Like I said, my sleeping is rampant. I’m always tired. I’m always tired because I’m never sleeping deeply like the typical guy, or gal, in your case. But besides that, I’m a relatively normal guy. I swear! I’m alert, see?” He picks up her glass of water and blows bubbles into it, voraciously.
Carys. “Why on earth are you doing that?! And in my glass, no less?”
Preston. “Well, to show you I’m… normal.”
Carys rolls her eyes. “So if it’s so controlled, why are you falling asleep all the time then? And what’s with that travel pillow?”
Preston. “Ahh, you noticed. Yes, people use these for napping on planes or any travel method. I use it for the same, though I’ve never been on a plane nor have I travelled out of state.”
Carys. “If I was counting the times you blew my mind tonight but in a miniature dollhouse kind of world, it would be a decent number.”
Preston, clearly talking to himself. “Do I take that as a compliment? Uh, yes, thank you very much, kind lady.” Preston smiles at Carys to which her glance is deadpan unamused.
Carys. “Answer my question.”
Preston. “What question?”
Carys. “Ok, I’m two seconds away from asking for the cheque.”
Preston. “But, you said there is no cheque. Oh.”
Preston. “About controlling it? Well, if I feel it coming on, I can brace for it.”
Preston, touching the pillow. “Ya, like prepare to sleep. Unless I can’t, like if I’m driving.”
Carys. “Then what do you do?”
Preston. “Usually eat candy. Or pull over and sleep. If I can.”
Carys. “Is this legal? You could potentially kill people on a daily or possibly minutely basis.”
Preston. “I suppose but I don’t look at it like that.”
Carys. “Well, how then do you look at it.”
Preston. “Let’s save something for date two, ok?”
Their food arrives. Carys immediately asks for the cheque.