Naptime, p.1
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       Naptime, p.1

           Rick Sheppard
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  By Rick Sheppard

  Copyright 2013 Rick Sheppard

  Table of Content



  About the Author


  By Rick Sheppard

  “Winston, wake up,” said my boss as he rapped his knuckles on my desk. My head popped up off of the desk as I awoke from my stupor. “You’re drooling on the report that you’re supposed to be reading,” he said.

  I looked down and sure enough, there was a large dollop of slobber in the middle of the page. At least the drool had the decency to be in one spot and not still attached to my mouth.

  “Sorry, sir,” I said. “Just been under too much stress.”

  I grabbed a napkin from my top drawer and tried to clean up the mess, but to no avail. It was just too large of a puddle. Instead, I threw the whole mess away into the little trashcan beside my desk.

  “You know, Winston, this is the third time this week.”

  He wasn’t angry with me, as he was well aware of my medical condition. It was mostly a statement of fact, to bring to light that my condition had been getting worse. He knew of my narcolepsy when he hired me and had made considerations toward me to help deal with it.

  “I’m sorry, sir,” I replied. “Though to be honest it’s the fifth time this week.”

  “I tell you what, Winston. Why don’t you take the rest of the day off and work from home tomorrow? I’ll send you the reports to be reviewed and edited and I’ll see you back here on Friday for the big meeting with headquarters.”

  “Is that okay, sir? I know how important this meeting is for the firm and I don’t want to hinder our preparations.”

  “Look, I know you’ll get all of your work done at home, so no worries. Besides, it’s better than making a scene here.”

  I looked around the office and saw quite a few heads peeking over their cubicles in our direction. One thing about the boss, he wasn’t the quiet type.

  “Okay, sir. I’ll take you up on that offer. It should let me de-stress and I’ll be fresh on Friday.”

  “Good, good. Now off with you.”

  He stepped away from my cubicle and I packed up my laptop and briefcase for the day. Once in my car, I set the alarm on my watch to wake me in twenty minutes and leaned my head back to sleep. This was just an easy way to perk me up for the drive home. The last thing I needed was to have a car wreck.

  Within minutes of falling asleep I began to dream. I’ve had this dream before and I don’t like this dream. It was a dancing baby, similar to that silly image that was popular several years ago. It paraded its diaper wearing self before my eyes. I’ve trained myself in lucid dreaming, so I tried to make it go away, but it’s a meme and it’s stuck in my subconscious. The baby opened its mouth while dancing and emitted a beep at me. Then the baby turned into my watch and I’m awake again.

  I drove home just fine and pulled out my laptop to resume my work tasks. It wasn’t much really and my boss had been right to send me home with the issues I’ve been having. I was the guy who reviewed all of the upcoming documentation that was to be handed out during the next meeting. I edited it for grammar, spelling, and content, plus I made sure that the message being conveyed was apparent to even the least knowledgeable executive.

  I went into my bedroom where I kept my desk—I liked to keep my bed and desk close by just in case I had an episode—and finished setting things up to work. I had six reports left. I started on the one that I had last fallen asleep on, the Profit and Loss or PNL report. Even diehard accountants get tired after a few minutes of analyzing this one. So it was no surprise that my eyes became heavy as I finished it up. I crawled into bed before I passed out.

  The same dream happened once more. It was my girlfriend’s fault; if she hadn’t stopped taking the pill then I wouldn’t be seeing the dancing baby. It danced before me once more, twisting and turning itself. I can’t even tell if it’s a girl or a boy. I heard traffic outside my window and used that noise to overcome the dancing baby. The backfire of a car and sirens brought to my dream a chase scene that overshadowed the gyrating infant. Then the outside noise quieted down and the baby was back, but it was having trouble breathing and fell down.

  I woke up gasping for air. My chest was riddled with pain. I touched my chest and pulled a crimson stained hand away from me. My shirt was stuck to me. Panic rose as I limped into the bathroom and saw the damage in the mirror. I’d been wounded. Thinking back to my dream, I remembered hearing backfire and sirens. I glanced into my bedroom and saw that my window was broken. It wasn’t backfire that I heard.

  I struggled to breathe as the awareness that I’d been shot took hold and I hyperventilated. I needed to calm down and I needed medical attention. I leaned against the countertop and took several deep breaths, each more difficult than the last. Once I had calmed down, I picked up my cell phone and dialed 911. It rang several times before a recorded message answered.

  “We’d like to assist your call, however all current operators are busy. If this is an emergency, please hang up and dial again. If it is not—“

  I hung the phone up and dialed again and received the same message. Two more tries and I had the same result: no operators were available. I called my girlfriend instead, but it went straight to voice mail.

  “Honey, it’s me,” I said, trying not to break down, “I’ve been injured and I’m going to try and drive myself to the hospital. It’s bad. I’ve got to go. I love you.”

  I didn’t want to drive myself and kept calling 911 as I made my way to my car. I didn’t worry about the bloodstains that I was making on my cloth seat as my mind was occupied by my own survival, though a part of me was still thinking about what my girlfriend had told me. I was feeling extremely stressed and that wasn’t good because that always triggered my narcolepsy.

  I pulled out of my drive without taking my precautionary nap and hoped I could make it to the hospital in time. My bleeding was getting worse. I drove faster than I normally would, all in the hope of gaining the attention of the police, but I didn’t see a one. Then it happened again, I fell asleep at the wheel.

  I didn’t even realize I was sleeping until I saw the dancing baby again. This time it was hugging the right side of my vision. I heard scraping and a shredding sound and watched as the baby pirouetted at a funny angle. Then the baby was thrown up into my face and I felt as if it was smothering me. I wanted to push the baby away but couldn’t.

  I awoke and felt my head leaning up against the steering wheel; the airbag had gone off and was lying in my lap. I tried to push myself back up, but my hands slipped. I could see black spots floating through my vision. I used my forearms as leverage against the steering wheel and sat upright. I felt spent, out of breath, dizzy, and my head ached, but instead of a dancing baby I saw the hospital spinning in my vision.

  After a few moments, I stepped out of my car. The passenger side was a wreck from where I had ran into the jersey wall. I left my key inside with the engine still running and took the first tentative step towards the Emergency Room. My vision faded and I couldn’t see out of my right eye any longer, but that was okay, having just one eye lessened the vertigo.

  I put one foot in front of the other and steadied myself as I limped to the doorway. My limited vision swam before me and my steps felt drunk as I staggered on. At the sidewalk I was happy to see a ramp up, as I’m not sure I could have stepped over the curb. It didn’t matter, though, as I fell anyway, landing on the no-slip mat.

  I reached out and triggered the magic eye, but watched as the door closed back up while my vision faded. I passed out again, though I couldn’t tell if it was from my narcolepsy or blood loss. Ultimately it didn’t matter, as the former would lead to the latter shortly. As a condolence, I didn’t see a
ny dancing babies; I just blacked out.

  “Doctor, he’s coming around.”

  I opened my eyes and saw a nurse and a doctor hovering over me. I could see again and they looked beautiful to me.

  “Just rest son,” the doctor said. “You’ve been shot and we’ve just finished the operation. You’re going to be okay now.”

  “Thank you,” I managed to say and meant every word of it.

  “No talking right now, Mr. Winston,” the nurse chided me. “Your lung was pierced by the bullet and we can’t have you straining things.”

  I took the nurse’s advice and just leaned back and relaxed. I looked at myself for the first time and saw that I was in a hospital gown and had two different IVs attached to my left arm, one with blood and the other was just a clear fluid.

  “We have you on a sedative for the pain,” the doctor said as he followed my gaze, “You’ve lost quite a bit of blood as well, so you can’t return to work until things are healing properly. The bullet broke a couple of your ribs, but they will heal with time.”

  I smiled my thanks to him and the doctor excused himself to continue his rounds. The nurse went over a few things with me and let me know that an officer needed to speak to me about what had happened when I was ready. As she left, the nurse admitted my girlfriend.

  “Oh, sleepyhead, it’s so good to see that you’re going to be okay,” she said. “Your message scared the life out of me and I rushed over as soon as I could.”

  She clutched my right hand in both of hers and held it to her abdomen. Her stomach had already started to swell with new life, the life that was inspiring all of my dreams. I looked at her and smiled and wanted to tell her that everything was going to be okay. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t stop thinking that when I passed out and didn’t see the dancing baby, I was happy. I wasn’t ready for fatherhood and didn’t know when I might be.

  About the Author

  Rick Sheppard is currently working on a Creative Writing degree at Full Sail University, where he's been awarded two Course Directors Awards. In the long term, he's developing several novels and screenplays.

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