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Short Stories: Bruce’s Jabberwocky

bucky katt talking in his sleep
Get Fuzzy, Drawn by Darby Conley

It is 6:00 AM and the woman’s husband of forty-three years, somewhere between deep sleep and awake, turns his weary body towards her. What is about happen next has happened many times before. He is oblivious to such happenings, but his wife could write a book about his early morning sermons, arguments, pronouncements, and verbal nonsense. She is used to his babbling and knows not to take it personally. Decades ago, the love of her life not only talked in his sleep, but he also roamed the floors of their home in dreamland, often providing that day’s entertainment. Nearing sixty-five years of age and frail in body, the man no longer sleepwalks, and even his somniloquy is not as frequent as it once was.

Awakened by her husband’s restlessness, the woman hears him talking, carrying on a conversation she has heard hundreds of times before.

Fuck the pressure.

Who is messing with the heat?

Her husband extends his right arm and with his index finger pokes the woman in the back. He has something he wants to tell her, and despite the early hour, it is important that she hears every word, even if he will not remember it later.

Why are you fucking with the heat?

The man gathers up the blanket and pulls it away from his wife. However sleepy she might have been, she is awake now.

Whose messing around with me?

And just like that, her husband’s jabberwocky ceases.  She smiles, thinking, wait until I tell him this one.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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      My husband sometimes talks in his sleep. One time he said, “Happy Halloween!” My grandfather used to walk in his sleep to the fridge and eat.

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    That’s cute. I actually did a short sleepwalking stint a couple months ago. I woke up already up, standing near the window in our bedroom, although my dream said it was the door. I finally opened my eyes and then was able to figure out at least, that I was NOT near the door.

    Sounds like Polly gets to hear a lot! 😉

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    Davie from Glasgow

    I once raided the fridge in my sleep after being convinced to try a zolpidem for insomnia. There was a bite out of nearly everything in there come the morning and I couldn’t understand it at all at first. It was definitely me though. And although I’d never heard of such a thing before, apparently that’s not all that uncommon as a side effect from those meds.
    When we were kids my little brother used to sleep walk quite regularly – particularly if we had relatives staying and he’d had to give up his usual bed. He even managed to sleep walk into my freestanding goldfish tank one time, knock it over, and kill my 11-year-old goldfish (called Pogle). Still haven’t quite got over / forgiven that one – despite the intervening 35 years or more!

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Bruce Gerencser