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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!

The Bed of Damocles

I’m sleeping on a time bomb. Literally. Sort of.

Literally, in the sense that what I’m talking about is my bed, which is indeed where I sleep. When I’m not napping at my desk. Or under my desk. Or near my desk, in case I need to pretend I’m doing something important.

But not literally, in the sense that I don’t actually have a time bomb in my bed. That’s ridiculous.

(Actually, my bed is more like an atomic bomb. Spend some time in there, and you’ll feel the ‘fallout’ for days.

Oh, yeah. I went there.

On the other hand, you might also lose your hair and get nauseated by prolonged exposure. Sometimes an analogy is just a little too good, you know?)

Anyway, the thing is this: a couple of weeks ago, I moseyed into the bedroom after taking a morning shower, slipped into my skivvies and — as is was my custom — flopped rather ungently onto the bed for a quick after-shower rest.

“All that lathering up and scrubbing off and opera singing in the shower really takes it out of me. Sometimes I need a few minutes to regroup.”

(Hey, I’m an old man over here. All that lathering up and scrubbing off and opera singing in the shower really takes it out of me. Sometimes I need a few minutes to regroup.

Especially if I’m doing Carmen. The soprano parts are a real bitch first thing in the morning.)

Usually, the bed cushions me in its pillowy goodness, and I’m soon up and refreshed and ready for a full day’s napping in and under and near my desk. But this day — this day was different. This time, when my freshly-buffed self flopped onto the bed, the mattress decided to join in. And flopped down on one side, all the way to the floor.

I nearly rolled off onto my nightstand. Which would have been a very awkward situation, if I’d landed on top of my alarm clock.

(She’s a married appliance. And the last thing I need is a toaster oven out for vengeance who knows where I sleep.)

I stumbled to my feet and assessed the problem. It seems there are three slats running side-to-side under the mattress, holding it off the ground. And my wanton floppage had apparently hit above the head-most board just right, ripping it past the screw and letting the corner of the mattress plummet to the ground. It was not encouraging.

But I sucked it up and repaired the frame, to the best of my ability. Which meant throwing the mattress and box springs off into the floor, gingerly replacing the screw back in the wrecked hole and setting the frayed board ever-so-precariously back on top. Not so much a ‘repair’, really, as a delicate and dangerous game of bedroom Jenga. I replaced the mattress and sheets, and no one was the wiser.

(Well, I was a little wiser, myself. For starters, after all that futzing around I needed another quick lie down. And this time, I chose the couch. And I didn’t flop.

Instead, I sort of oooozed onto the surface. So at least I learned something. Namely, to fear the destructive power of my own freshly-laundered ass.

I could put that a different way, I suppose. But would it make things any better, really?)

I went on my merry way and completely forgot about the ordeal — until that night, when it was time to jammie up and crawl under the covers. I didn’t want a repeat of the collapse. So I slipped as daintily as I could into bed, like a princess sleeping on a pea. Or a princess who needed to pee, maybe. I haven’t done a lot of detailed princess behavioral study. But they seem pretty dainty overall. I can do that. I’m forty percent daint, in fact. On my mother’s side, mostly.

Thankfully, I made it through the night without bringing the bed down again. And every night when I’ve crawled into bed since then, I’ve been double-super-extra-special careful not to rock the board, which was barely hanging by a screw thread when I put it back together.Much less after some lumbering hairbag like me slept on it for a few nights.

Clearly, the bed is going to blow one of these nights. Where by ‘blow’, I mean crash to the floor on my side, dumping me unceremoniously into the floor — or into the waiting harlot arms of the alarm clock. I’ll probably be awake at the time — and flopping, because I’ve forgotten my predicament — so at least I’ll be able to catch myself.

My wife, on the other hand, usually goes to bed earlier than I do. She’ll be asleep, and depending on the severity of the fatal flop, quite possibly launched off the lurching mattress toward the wall opposite. If she’s lucky, my chest of drawers will stop her.

If she’s unlucky, the window will be open. And she’ll wake up outside, asking what the hell she’s doing on the sidewalk in the middle of the night with skinned knees and barely any clothes on. And then I’ll be in trouble.

(Probably. My only saving grace is that those are not questions that you generally find yourself asking your husband or wife. I’m not entirely sure you’d want your spouse to have those answers. Or to know that you need them, actually.)

So I’m just waiting for that fateful, forgetful night when I throw caution — and my ass — the wind and plop heavily into the sack, breaking bedsprings and boards and possibly marital bonds along the way. Could be tonight. Could be next week. Maybe I last until fall; it’s hard to say.

All I know for sure is, that bed’s going to fall. Again. And I’m very probably going to be the one to make it happen. And from what I know about Newtonian physics, memory-foam mattresses and our customary bedtimes, there’s a very good chance that my wife will be sent briefly airborne when it does.

Come to think of it, I’d really rather have that time bomb under my bed at this point. Literally. Amybody sleeping on a time-release explosive out there who wants to switch?

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