Waking Up is Hard to Do #WOW555

“To sleep, perchance to dream…” Ever felt like you could sleep for a hundred years? What about 200? This week’s #WOW555 contest prompt was “For this week, write a story in which sleep plays a specific role.” Enjoy!

Bjorg began to wake. He took a long time. The first signs that the experiment had succeeded were the small breaths that he began to take. Imperceptible at first, soon his chest began to rise and fall with regularity. The Carbon Dioxide monitors alerted the Oxygen unit to begin pumping and before long, the canister was filled with a natural mixture. The creators, if they had woken first, would have celebrated the success of their invention.

But they weren’t awake and now Bjorg’s eyes began to flutter open. He still couldn’t move, but his eyes began to open in the dark chamber. The retinal scanner caught the eyes opening and slowly lit the chamber. While never bright, it allowed Bjorg to see straight ahead in the chamber.

As the oxygen flowed and the lights came up, Bjorg’s consciousness returned. When he couldn’t move his hands or his feet, he began to panic. He willed his body to move, but it wouldn’t respond. He struggled, trying to move his arms and then he heard his first sounds. The sound began as soft, soothing music. Then, a beautiful female voice called to him. “Bjorg. Call my name. Call my name and you will be released.” The soft music and the familiar voice calmed Bjorg; he tried to call out the name of his love. His throat, dry from 200 years of sleep, made no noise.

A soft mist squirted into his face. He reached with his tongue grasping for the moisture. It rolled down his mouth, moistening the path until his throat began to feel the delicious wetness. He lapped hungrily. He began to feel the bonds but his panic lessened as his memory came back. He remembered his love, and why he was there. He kept trying to call her name without success. His throat loosened and he was able to squeak. There was no intelligible sound, but his throat was beginning to work. At last, he finally made an intelligible squeak that the monitor recognized: “Torid.”

The straps holding down his arms and legs began to loosen – a little at a time. He began to look forward to leaving his cocoon, knowing that Torid and the others would be waiting to create this new world; well, re-create the old world. He was the protector. He would be the captain of the army to ward of human and non-human dangers, should any remain. He slowly rubbed his arms to restore circulation and body heat. As the straps fell away he sat up, being careful not to bang his head, and rubbed his legs. He called out his own name, “Bjorg,” and waited for his chamber to open. He stood carefully, grabbing the rails along the side. He put on the cloak that was waiting and he stepped out ready to meet the others.

Their chambers were still intact. Only he had awakened. He was puzzled until he heard the faint warning sounds farther back in the incubation hall. Bjorg strained to make sense of the sound. When he did, he understood. They were under attack. The others would soon wake up. The computer had woken him to protect them. “Well, at least there’s a lot of back pay coming,” he said as he shouldered his axe and went out to protect his people.

 

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Trading Places #WOW555

The theme for this week, fittingly, is oppression. Authors would be given brownie points and a better ranking if they included a reference to The Reverend Dr. King. This week, my alternative history issues kicked in. What if…just what if, instead of white people oppressing black people in the 60’s, black people were the majority ethnic group and they were oppressing white people. How would historical figures, including The Reverend Dr. King, react in such a situation. I have taken one liberty with the actual historical timeline, reversing the ages of the two characters in the story. I also had Rev. King change professions. That being said, it’s fiction and I think it helped make my point, so I did it! So, here’s this week’s entry in the #WOW555 contest at Wendy’s place.

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“Havin’ fun in there, honkie?”

In years past, those would have been fighting words. But fighting didn’t do any good. In fact, I had stopped the rebellion thing and was trying hard to stay out of trouble. Still white kids were always getting into trouble. “No sir,” I replied respectfully, keeping my eyes down. The jailers didn’t like it when you looked them in the eye.

Many who knew me were surprised that I had given in to the oppression. I hadn’t really given in, though, I just chose my battles more carefully. I knew that I wasn’t here for jaywalking, nor for “resisting arrest.”

“Hey boy!” the jailer called.

“Yes sir?” I answered trying to appear deferential. They had beaten Mikey up last week when he sounded a bit sarcastic in response to the jailers.

“Your lawyer’s here.”

“I don’t want no lawyer,” I said. I turned back towards the wall. I couldn’t afford to pay no lawyer. Seems like you just paid white lawyers to lose, anyways.

“Mr. Connor, I’m here to represent you. You can tell me ‘no,’ of course, but give me a chance.”

I stopped. That was no honky speaking. I turned and saw a black man in a suit holding out his hand. He sensed my hesitation. “Go ahead. This isn’t a trap.”

I shook it, then, I looked around nervously waiting for the worst.

The lawyer laughed as he realized my discomfiture. “You’re safe with me, Mr. Connor.”

There he went again. If the jailers heard this lawyer call me “Mr.” I might have even more trouble.

“And why are you here?” I asked trying hard to sound deferential.

“I’m here to represent you, sir.” He said .

“But why? Why me?”

“Your story made it to Atlanta. It seems that this sheriff doesn’t like you because you’re white and he’s spent a lot of time going after you.”

I laughed. “You could say that.”

“I’ve studied the records and I can’t see why? You’re in jail for crimes that should be fines. Do you have any ideas why the sheriff hates you so?”

I tried my innocent look first. “No idea, sir.” Then I shrugged. “Unless the sheriff doesn’t like the idea of me holding hands with his daughter.”

The lawyer laughed. “You have guts, son, no doubt about that. If only the sheriff would judge you by the content of your character and not the color of your skin.”

Those words rang true to me. Still, I argued. “Content of my character? I’m just an uppity honky.”

The lawyer laughed again. “Perhaps, but injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Can I represent you?”

Something about this man elevated me. I could almost begin to believe that I was equal to any other man just being in his presence. “If you’re crazy enough to have me as a client, I guess I’d be crazy not to accept your help. It’s a deal Mr. … I don’t even know your name.”

“Mr. King. My friends call me Martin,” he said elevating me with his words.

I smiled, for the first time ever in this jail. “Well, my friends call me Bull”

It’s a bit edgier story line than I would normally do. I’ll be interested in seeing the reactions.

The Sub

There is nothing worse for a teacher than having to take a sick day when you’re really sick. I still have to get special lesson plans done. I have to call in a sub, never knowing who I’ll get. Then…there are the notes. I’m mentioning this because, like I tell my kids, I never call in a sub unless I’m below 50% health wise.

Yep, you guessed it. I was out yesterday. The fever was over 100. I was coughing, sneezing and losing anything I ate one way or the other. I had chills from the fever and I was so dizzy I couldn’t see straight when I woke up. I was a mess!

I knew that I wouldn’t get better in an hour. I called the sub line and asked for a sub. I sure hoped that I had one – we’re so short on subs these days. I typoed some plans for the sub – hoping that the poor sub could make out the plans and emailed them to my Assistant Principal. I called her to make sure she knew not to expect me. Then, I went back to bed and slept without even worrying about whether a not a sub would be assigned.

I emerged from my death bed a couple of times to try and pour some soup down my throat; I soon realized that it wouldn’t help. My wife came home and checked on me a couple of times, but I’m not the “Oh baby come and pamper me” kind of sickie; I’m the “Go away and leave me alone!” kind of sickie. The sleep did it’s job, though, and by 8:00 that night, I realized this flu might not be terminal. By 10:00, I was able to crawl out of bed, take my night time medicines and crawl back into bed.

The next morning, the fever was gone. I was hungry! I ate a little bit and kept it down. I could make it back to school. I dreaded the note, but knew I could face it. Kids have an innate ability to know when I’m feeling bad, and for some reason they behave better on those days, so I wasn’t worried about that. It’s just how they behaved for the sub that worried me.

I pulled into the lot and was met by a couple of my students. “The sub was good, sir.” they took pains to inform me. That worried me. What did this sub let them get away with? I walked down the hall and got to the door. I breathed a quick silent prayer, and braced myself to see what the sub said as I opened the door.

I didn’t even need to read the note. I looked around the room and staggered a bit. I headed for the desk and plopped down in my chair. I couldn’t believe it. The sub had cleaned everything. My beautiful, workable mess was gone. It would take me days to recover. Two months of paper piles were now stacked neatly. No longer could I reach into a pile and pull out the papers I needed. I had a very short time to re-mess up the room to get ready for the day. I hate having to use subs….

Revolution – #WOW555

This week’s challenge, interestingly enough, dealt with New Year’s Resolutions.

“It’s that time of year again, when we look at where we’ve been, where we are, and where we want to be. That’s the whole idea behind resolutions, right?

For this week’s prompt, let’s explore that idea a bit. You can choose the direction of the story, but you must include the word Resolution in your story and there should be a balloon somewhere (because you were so successful in your uplifting stories I want to celebrate!). Love them, bash them, do what you like with them but resolutions are a fact of life at this time of year.”

I think I fulfilled those requirements, albeit in quite a different way….

Sales and life on the road had drained the life out of Frank. He had endured missed birthdays, family holidays, weddings and all kinds of special events all to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. Now he was sitting on the bed in another sterile hotel room, looking at the blank TV, getting ready to “celebrate” New Year’s and wondering why.

He stared at the check in his hand. This pittance, and the cliched, “Thanks for everything but we no longer want you” letter was all that was left of his miserable career. He longed for a cigarette. He hadn`t smoked for almost a year to honor his little girl’s request, but now, what did it matter? There were two problems. First, his hotel, like practically all hotels these days were non-smoking. That had made it easier to honor his princess’s request. The second reason was that he didn’t even have that emergency pack he used to keep in case he had a day like today. He wasn’t getting out in this bitter cold weather for anything.

Thoughts of how his family would be better off without him flitted through his mind. Then he laughed at the irony when he realized that he had let his life insurance lapse. He took a deep breath as he realized what he would have to do. He wiped away the tears that had formed in thecornersr of his eyes and pulled out his phone. He stared at it as if willing it to ring so that he wouldn’t have to make the call.

The ring startled him. He let it ring a couple of times so he could compose himself. Minnie always let Beth talk to him first and 8 year old girls shouldn’t have to hear a depressed daddy. “Hey babe!” he said hiding his feelings. “Are you being good for mommy?”

“Yes daddy. And I want you to make a revolution.”

Frank smiled for the first time since his meeting. Beth always said revolution instead of resolution. “What is it this year, honey?”

“I want you to stay home.”

Frank gulped. “I’ll do my best, hon. Let me tak to mommy.”

“Oh Frank, I know it’s a lot to ask, but could you please quit your job. The results cameback from daddy’s balloon cath came back today. He really needs you to run the shop.” He heard a sniff at the other end of the line. “And I need your support.”

Frank looked to the heavens and thanked God. I’ll be home tomorrow, hon. We’ll talk about why I’ll finally say yes.”