The sun comes up but guess who doesn’t? I’ll give you sixteen guesses. No, I won’t. It’s The Sleep Apnea Guy, also known plainly as Preston. A dry piece of toast has more flavor. The name does garner a slight buttering of rich garlic but that’s as tasty as it gets, for now, anyway.
The stupidest (and loudest) alarm possible is ringing on its loop as it does out of his obsolete cellular devices teeny speaker and Preston finally cracks an eye. He raises a fist to the sky, as if to curse God himself for making him hold a day job, while muttering, “Why God? Why?”
Meanwhile, Beelzebubs step-nephew Nathan is sitting in the corner, levitating in a yoga sit. He raises a finger and opens his mouth but Preston knows better. “Not today, Nathan. I will not sell my soul for sleep, though as tempting as the offer might be. See you tomorrow.” Nathan poofs off, muttering his own line of frustrated ancient dialect.
Preston’s immunity to caffeine disallows the pleasures of a hot cup of java to ease his waking and readying for the work day. He’s on his own and that is not a good thing. On the throne, pre-shower, his heavy eyes clamp shut, dozing off for a microsecond.
Seven and a quarter minutes later, a mini shower is all there is time for and before anybody knows it, our undecided hero is behind the wheel and off to work, also involving him behind a wheel basically all day, enroute and making deliveries. Picture this…for every four or so minutes of driving, eleven mini dozes, fifty five micro blinks and three sensations of falling have taken place. Yet twenty six minutes later, he miraculously arrives at work. Unscathed.
Pleasantries dispensed amongst co-workers and management alike, Preston hops into his loaded water truck and heads out to face the road…and conquer the highways and biways of the roadways, as it were. Multiple head bobs, stinging face slaps and $8 worth of hard candy later, he arrives at his first stop. Times thirty more stops over the next painful-to-remain-alert seven hours. The punishment never ends. Considering himself to the likes of Houdini or heck, even Criss Angel, Preston manages to avoid sleep, accidents and the grave for another day.
As soon as he hops into his own jalopy, its power nap time, y’all. I’m talking mouth wide open, choking on nothing but air every one or two breaths. This is not the way of the warrior. This gurgling, convulsing, repulsing act of anything but true rest is the way of The Sleep Apnea Guy. Never knowing a real nap or a genuine nights rest. Functioning on unfunctionable rebound time from day to day. Oxygen levels dangerously low, and blood pressure and hemoglobin levels through the roof, there is a war inside but he can’t see the damage so on life goes.
Traffic is thick and the terror reappears and rears its cerebral and slimy head. “I must get home, I must ge…zzzzz”. The mantra remains nothing more than a gimmick of survival. It never works but he holds it dear to his heart. Nearing home and swerving in and out of lanes with no memory of doing so, he somehow ends up inside his garage and with an ear to ear grin, testifying that miracles actually do happen. All is well in the universe.
Call it a second wind or classify it simply as an enthusiasm to be home, Preston vanishes inside of his domain, like the king of some castle. His cats, virile and unsympathetic to anything going on in their owners life (“Current owner…”) as he often reminds them, don’t bat an eye for they do not have the dreaded apnea and its as though they rub it in Preston’s face daily.
He drops himself down on the couch, readying his eyelids for a small nap before he starts dinner. Sinking into the couch as though it were the sunken place, he rests his weary head on the arm, uncomfortably but nothing stands in the way of a mans sleep with apnea in his arsenal. Even standing doesn’t stand in the way. Like a slow motion segway, lids closing in 5, 4, 3, 2… Preston’s phone goes off. It’s a bloody text from his latino brother-in-law Emiliano. It reads “Don’t forget to come early. The kids are bouncing off the walls. Need help with set up.”
What in the… oh, snap, it’s his nephews’ birthday party tonight and Preston promised he’d be there. He bolts up, never wider awake or for the moment anyway. He grabs their presents, already conveniently wrapped and readied up in his closet between his tennis racket and his extra pillows.
Preston flies out the driveway and gets onto the turnpike. It’s a thirty two minute drive but if he can do is under fifteen then all will be well. He’s tapping on the wheel to the Metallica coming out of the speakers. Remarkably alert, he cranks up the volume a bit more.
Within seconds, his head is hung in a deep sleep, as deep as he can get. His vehicle holds it course for another couple seconds then quickly veers left, now crossing the middle line and into oncoming traffic at speeds over a hundred. The loud throbbing music soothes his soul and keeps his body limber, and in a peaceful state of unconsciousness. This is the sleep he needed last night, safely tucked in his bed.
Multiple horns blast and brakes squeal, causing Preston to slowly open his eyes ever so sleepily, to see two sets of headlights right up close and personal as they came in flush contact with the passenger side. Preston, still out of it but quickly coming to, and his vehicle are sent hurtling through the air as though shot out of a friggin cannon, sailing towards a ditch and a wall of forest…