A Dream of Café Delirium
(Author’s note: This particular story is actually based on a real-life event.)
A quick push of the “Info” button on the remote let me know the time. It was late; time for bed. God, I'd felt like crap all day, and then
shutting off the TV and sitting in silence for a moment let me know just how crummy I was still feeling. This cold or flu, or whatever, was kicking
my backside. I had tried to sleep earlier, but all I did was toss and turn. Then I’d resorted to the TV to bludgeon me into the land of nod
without much success. This time I’m gonna’ hammer this crud with a double shot of Nyquil. Then I’ll sleep alright!!
The first shot went down okay, but the second shot of that blue elixir of the Gods went down pretty rough. I even gagged a little bit, but soon
enough life in la-la land would be pure bliss! I’d resigned myself to calling out sick in the morning, and I was kind of relieved as I laid down in
the bed for my forthcoming Nyquil-coma. Didn’t even have to worry about being late for work in the morning.
The next morning I awoke feeling refreshed. I went through my morning rituals and got dressed. I hadn’t eaten hardly anything the entire day
before and, boy, was I hungry. Not really feeling like making breakfast myself, a McDonald’s egg McMuffin sounded real good, so I headed out. I
wasn’t in McDonald’s 2 minutes before someone tapped me on the shoulder. Dammit, It was her! That hateful, condescending, Karen from the
pharmacy last night and she wanted to pick up right where we’d left off, hurling insults at each other. I restrained myself, got my sandwich and
left to get a seat, now angry there were such hateful people in the world.
The Christmas lights sure weren’t going to put themselves up, and seeing as how I was feeling better I figured it might be a nice surprise for my
wife to come home to at least some of the lights (it’s a big job, competing with the neighbor). I usually saved the lights on the second floor for
last because they were the most tricky to get up, but I thought why not get those out of the way first this year. Off I went, to go get the big
I was really pleased the hooks I’d put up on the eave last year were still there. They made an already dangerous job a little easier. I paused for
a minute to look around. The view of the other houses was pretty good from up here. Then I looked down and thought to myself that falling right at
this spot would likely have a fatal outcome. I finished the first string and reached over for the second string. It all happened so fast. I heard
the ladder slide on the edge of the gutter, then it suddenly twisted and then my foot caught in the ladder as I clutched and grabbed at air. That
electrifying shock of fear hit me as I plummeted straight down nearly headfirst.
Just before I hit the ground, I violently jerked… and sat straight up. What the…? I looked around. Whew!!! THANK GOD!!…it was only a bad
dream! A real doozy of a nightmare, that one was! Adrenaline was still shooting through my body and it took a minute to come to my senses.
As my eyes adjusted to the light, my heart was still pounding. A colleague at work had fallen to his death just a year before hanging Christmas
lights for his daughter, and the dream must have been some weird reconstruction of that. He’d lost his wife, and his daughter's mother, the year
before to cancer. God, what a horrible, horrible, dream! As my consciousness returned I realized this wasn’t my bedroom.
I looked down at my hands and a wave of fear shot over me. My hands and arms were completely covered in blood. As I looked around the room, even
though it was full of people, there was complete silence. All the faces stared at me in complete horror and astonishment. On the floor nearby lay
the body of that wretched, hateful, insulting Pharmacy girl from the night before. The same one who had tapped me on the shoulder at McDonald’s
wanting to resume her insults. Wait! This was McDonald’s, and I must have passed out. Those faces staring at me in horror were the other patrons,
some had screamed and ran, others were on their cell phones. My God, what had happened? What had I done? Had I really done anything?
I remember hearing the sirens outside drawing near. It wouldn’t be long now before I was surely taken into custody. I remember thinking how I’d
really done it this time; there would be no more merry Christmases inside the confines of my prison cell. How could I have been so stupid?? How
could I have done this, I’d thrown it all away; my lovely wife, my happy life, all of it, just gone. Not two hours ago I had just awoken from a
terrible nightmare, and now I was living one in real life!
I felt something gently tugging on my big toe, and then gently stroking my right calf… "Honey, it’s almost eleven o’clock, and it’s a
beautiful day outside! You should probably get up and have something to eat. How are ya’ feeling?? Here, I brought you a nice glass of fresh
squeezed orange juice as a 'waker-upper'!”
I said, “Please tell me this is real, and not some kind of a twisted nightmare wrapped up inside of another
She could see the abject fear in my face, and I could see the utter confusion in hers. I had heard about Café Delirium before,
but I never expected I would actually go there in person! I realized my shirt was completely soaked in sweat; my fever must have broken. I guess
that’ll teach me not to take a double shot of Nyquil on an empty stomach, flu or no flu, anytime soon!
- THE END -
edit on 7/14/2021 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)