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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Early to Bed, Inflated to Rise

My parents are coming to visit this weekend. We have a guest room in the condo, but it can get pretty warm — especially in the bathing-in-solar-flares weather we’ve been having lately. So I was only mildly surprised when a package arrived this weekend and my wife informed me it contained an air mattress.

Aw, that was sweet of you,‘ I said. ‘But do you think they’ll be comfortable on it?

Oh, it’s not for them.

Poop. Stupid solar flares.

So we unpacked it and had a gander at what might be our sleeping balloon for a few days this weekend. If push comes to sweat, we’ll give the ‘rents our mostly-cool room, and the missus and I will camp out under the stars. By which I mean the industrial-strength ceiling fan in the living room. I hope there’s s’mores. Or at least good Archer episodes.

Meanwhile, we had to decipher how this big zeppelin pillow worked. It came with an air pump — and thank goodness, because while I’m obviously full of nonsense, I usually keep my damned fool mouth shut about it. And I don’t know how long it would take to type four thousand cubic inches of hot air, but I know I don’t want to find out. I’ll leave that exercise to the political bloggers.

“I made the requisite ‘double nozzle’-related jokes, and an hour and a half later, we proceeded to try inflating the thing.”

So we rolled out the mattress and had a look. There were two places for the pump to attach, and two attachments on the pump that seemed to fit. I made the requisite ‘double nozzle’-related jokes, and an hour and a half later, we proceeded to try inflating the thing. The filling went just fine. I’m sure the neighbors wondered what we were doing running a lawnmower in our TV room at ten thirty at night — because that pump is loud — but otherwise, we were soon treated to a bouncy, puffy fully-blown mattress equivalent. We hopped on for a quick test-lie.

Now, you might think this is the place where the mattress sprung an explosive leak, dumping us to the ground and maybe shooting the pump off the end and through a window, or deflating like a kid’s balloon, sending us flapping through the room like a drunken flying carpet. But those things didn’t happen, of course. Real life isn’t quite so predictable.

(Plus, the thing is waiting until we need it for that shit. My money’s on Saturday morning, at about three o’clock. I can feel it scheming, as we speak.)

Instead, we scrambled on, lay our heads to rest, looked at each other and said:

Gah, this thing stinks.

And it does. In very much a ‘you are what you’re made of’ kind of way, it reeks of rubber or plastic or whatever petroleum-firing byproduct was used to construct it. It’s not a strong smell — until you put your face on it, as though you were, oh I don’t know, sleeping. Then it smells like you’re lying on a new garden hose. Or an enormous condom.

(Which makes me very happy we decided not to get one that was pre-owned. Rationally, I could tell myself that I’m not trying to get shuteye on top of someone else’s used Trojan. Instinctively, I think I’d wind up sleeping in the bathtub.

At least I know what’s gone on in there.)

To be fair, the box didn’t make any claims that it would be ‘like sleeping on a cloud’. But it didn’t have a huge warning sticker saying it was ‘like sleeping on a Whoopie cushion’, either. Where are the FDA regulations when you really need them, eh?

We’re hopeful that the odor will subside by the time we actually need to sleep on this thing. Putting sheets on it will help. Bathing it in Febreze is another option. As is sleeping with oversized binder clips on our noses. Mostly, I’m praying for rain and a cold air front, so we can stash this smelly thing in the basement and sleep on a box spring and mattress propped above the floor — the way that our lord and savior Joe Sealy-Posturpedic intended.

But I’m keeping the pump, and putting it in our own bed. Loud double-nozzled hot-air action in the bedroom is gold, Jerry! Gold!

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