Mans Best End

Bedtime was 10 pm. It had always been 10 pm. Like manu, i am a creature of habit, at 9 pm I would slip into my pajamas, let my dog Shadow out, make a p b and j sandwich and lay in bed listening to podcasts until i drifted off. Until last night when something strange happened. I had gotten a new job, working 7 a m till 4 p m driving forklift at the warehouse a couple blocks over. My body was adjusting to my new schedule and I accidentally fell asleep on the couch around 6 watching a movie. I woke up disoriented and noticed the clock red 12:07 a m. I quickly realized i hadn’t let shadow out and figured he likely was patiently waiting for his nightly backyard jaunt. But I couldn’t find him. I spent the next half hour so anxious searching the house for my canine companion, but he was nowhere to be found. I glanced at the digital clock on my stove and watched 1:10 turn to 1:11 as I frantically tried to figure out where shadow could be. But he was on my lap. Was i half asleep and somehow didn’t notice him this whole time? Shadown rolled onto his back, seated comfortably on my lap and began to yawn, his mouth opened wide and mid yawn, in a deep voice he said “sleep”. I woke up in my bed confused at 6:30 in the morning, shadow beside me. What a strange lifelike dream, i thought to myself as i dressed for work and left.

The weekend had arrived and i grabbed a case of beer and a gram of cocaine from a coworker on the way home. My favorite ball team was playing on the west coast which meant that they would be playing the late game. Phelps was pitching and he was dominating but we couldn’t score and the game was tied nothing nothing after 9 inning. “We got extras shadow, you think we can pull it off” i asked my pup as i scratched…..nothing. I felt like a fool, here i was with a pillow on my lap, thinking it was my dog. It was right around 1 in the morning, but i was about a half gram deep and wide awake. “Shadow buddy wanna go outside??” I yelled. I heard the roar of the crowd through the surround sound, Jansen was up and he had been red hot all month, it was must see t v. He had a hell of an at bat, fouled off about a dozen pitches. Finally he barreled up an inside fastball and launched it into the seats. What a fuckin finish, i glanced at the clock and it read 1:11 and shadow sneezed on my lap. “Shadow! Jeepers buddy where the heck did you come from?” Shadow crawled out of his skin and barked a deafening bark which made my vision turn white and my limbs go numb. “You’re not here”.

I woke up at work sitting on the toilet. Was i dreaming? I left the stall and went to the mirror to splash some water on my face, i felt sick. My reflection shocked me. “Return to reality” the words were carved into my head. I fainted. I awoke on my apartment floor for a moment and watched the sun crash into the earth and fell into yet another slumber. Suddenly i was in a white room staring at a pendulum ticking back and forth. Above it a clock reading 1 am. I began counting in an attempt to distract my mind from whatever nightmare i had found myself in. I counted to 300 then opened my eyes. The clock still read 1 am. I counted even harder, all the way to a thousand. Still 1 am. Suddenly i heard a voice, but not with my ears, a voice speaking directly into my being. “Good boy” shadow stood before me. Hundreds of feet tall.

My eyes opened as jansen stepped into the box. 10th inning. Cold sweat dripped down my face. Jansen turned on an inside fastball and barelled it up. Shadow leapt up, plucked the ball off the television and brought it to me, dropping it at my feet. Suddenly blood erupted from my eyes. I held them shut terrified for what felt like hours. When i finally summoned the courage to open them i was yet again seated in the bathroom stall at work. I hopped up to my feet and sprinted towards the door but the floor crumbled under my feet as the sound of a thousand bells deafened me.

I awoke to my mother and father seated in front of me. “What’s wrong buddy? You look scared?” They asked. I barked. I howled. I ran on all fours but didn’t move. “Good boy”

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