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by Rick Brown

There was a short period of time in my life where I walked in my sleep. I’ll call it that for lack of a better explanation. I was in my mid to late 30’s I believe ... a regular runner and generally obsessive exerciser. Whether that had anything to do with it I can’t say. But it was the late 80’s ... the end of the Reagan years ... and I approached narcissism just like most of the other people around me. Although I would like to think I kept a little humility back then. Not that we were as bad as the late 70’s disco thing. But that’s a story for a different day.

Actually I didn’t really walk in my sleep so much as wake up doing irrational things. (Perhaps it was the bourbon I was fond of drinking back then.) Like trying to climb out the bedroom window. Or walking into my wife’s closet at 4 am, knocking clothes off their hangers and waking her up. Then there was the time I waltzed into the bathroom and lifted the top of the clothes hamper thinking it was the toilet seat. Yvonne is a very sound sleeper. Yet she has this “take care of my stupid husband” radar that is impeccably psychic and accurate. I could write volumes about her saving my ass in the nick of time. But hey ... that’s for our 50th wedding anniversary and/or my funeral. Suffice it to say she managed that night to keep the dirty clothes from getting any dirtier.

Speaking of anniversaries ... one time ... I forget the year ... we got ourselves a room downtown in a very nice hotel to celebrate such a calendar event. The two of us went out for a wonderful dinner where we ate and drank lots of wine and laughed and loved each other’s company. Then we went back to our room where we drank lots of champagne and laughed and reveled in marital bliss and talked and drank more champagne. And laughed. And drank even more champagne. We eventually retired to the giant king sized bed and dozed off together ... both au natural of course.

Sometime in the wee hours of the darkness ... as is my customary nightly routine ... I got out of bed to relieve myself. I didn’t need to go badly ... just enough to kick the sleepwalking thing into action. While my head was still euphoric from the champagne, I was barely conscious of my activity. I mean ... I knew I was up but wasn’t cognizant of where ... what time it was ... what day it was ... what year it was ... where I was. This is not an unpleasant feeling. Now that I have retired it is a daily occurrence ... albeit a more conscious state of being.

Soon I walked through what I either did or didn’t believe to be the bathroom door. It slammed behind me. I turned left and began trekking down a long, long well lit hallway. There were doors to my right and left identical to the one that just slammed behind me. And somehow I didn’t find this at all curious. I continued to walk down the hallway ... zombie like ... until I got to a small lobby. There were elevators on either side of the room. And like most hotel floor elevator lobbies there was a table in between with a phone on it and a very large mirror above.

It was at this point in time reality started seeping back into my brain. I looked and saw my reflection in the mirror. My nude reflection. I was without a stitch of clothing ... naked as ... as ... naked as a sunfish!! This didn’t particularly strike me. In fact I thought, “All this running and working out has got me looking pretty good!” Yet I figured I had better hot foot it back to the room before I ran into some other sleepwalker. I glanced at the phone and thought, “I should call the room really. Tell Yvonne where I am. She might be worried.” (I’m a good husband about such things ... even when I am naked.)

But what room? What was the room number? What was that number again? I decided to head in the right direction hoping the sight of the correct number might bring it all back to me. 714? 785? I strolled for what seemed an eternity ... 774? ... worrying about the number not coming to me when ... all of a sudden ... a door opened slightly. An arm thrust itself out and pulled me inside. It was Yvonne and her radar again.

Then we had this discussion ... or something very close to it.

“What were you doing out there?”

“I thought I was going to the bathroom.”

“In the hallway? You unlocked the door and walked down the hallway? You thought you were going to the bathroom?”

“Well ... yeah ... I guess.”

“Did anyone see you?”

“I gotta pee.”

Some marriages do not survive exploits such as these. No one did see me ... not that in my state of mind I would have cared. But the hotel dick could have arrested me I suppose ... dragged me down to the main lobby naked. But that didn’t happen. And once again ... Yvonne’s radar saved the day ... er ... night.

Election Haiku
by Ted Kane

At last Ohio
has voted, no more must we
hear of Huckabee

tfd part one million and 1
by jessy kendall

the fluid dream gets nearer, snaking
out of donnie darko's chest, bulges the dance floor
with super calm eyes. iconic pages ripped when flipped,
the dream glows about them through hand sparks
from all time.

the dream like blackbirds in their thousands storming above me,
making my eyes cross; a fluttering trail into the darkening sky
i can't see the end of.


Complied by Dan Eley

On Light Pollution

by Patrick O'Malley

Issue 7 - October 2002

Place Your Head on this Pillow
C. Mehrl Bennett

by Sue Lense

Click Here

Loose Beasts
Morris Jackson

Silent Majority
Sheryl Owens

Mind Child
by Elisa Philips

In the time that I sleep
my mind child in dreams so sweet steeps
out come the thoughts buried so deep

Ideas and images disjointed
Thoughts often pointed
in unconsciousness piling together the unrelated

The wakeful mind full
The night a recess; time enough to mull
The ideas bubble up, some the Sandman will cull

Sometimes the images are dark
or the outlook honest and stark
Other times the fires of creativity spark

Come on the ideas whisper, "Let's play!"
I am hidden away all day
Let me lead you where I may

My Muse, My Muse
during the day, reality can so confuse
but the night, my blocks, my control - I lose

Free to run about
the mind child is out
Sweet freedom she shouts

Until dawn comes upon me.
Free in my dreams, she can be.
For my mind's eyes alone to see.

Tabloid: the Musical

Easton Town Center
Columbus, Ohio
* * * * 1/2

by Rick Brown

Click Here

by Rick Brown

I enjoy a good baseball game ... the summer weather ... the cold beer ... the crack of the bat. And I’ve always wanted to catch a foul ball ... or a home run. But considering my career as a ballplayer when I was a boy, my more realistic goal is merely to get a baseball ... pick it up off the floor ... out of a seat ... after it has eluded everyone else in the near vicinity.

I played (and I use the verb very loosely) in what was known as Summer League in my hometown. Unlike the official Little League, no one was cut. Every boy had to play the field two full innings and bat at least once to constitute a fair, authentic game. Fair – yes. Equitable – hardly. I might have had a happier childhood had I been cut from the team ... or merely sat on the bench the entire nine innings. My first season I went all summer without a hit ... or a catch for that matter. 0 for 1000 perhaps. The pitchers were so bad too. I struck out, walked, or got hit with the ball. When a kindly coach had the brilliant plan to develop me into a left handed hitter due to my bad left eye, I got hit in the head with enough fastballs that I begged him to let me strike out from the right side of the plate where I was comfortable at sucking.

I was no better in the field. Bad players were put at second base with the intention of the shortstop hogging grounders hit anywhere near second base. Really bad players were banished to right field and everyone on the team ... including myself ... prayed to God Almighty no one would hit it out there. This is when I began doubting the existence of God ... the first time a screaming line drive was hit at me. My well intentioned coach tried his hardest to get me to conquer my fear. “What’s uh matter Brownie? You ‘fraid the ball is gonna hit you in the face or sumthin’?”

“Why yes ... yes I am sir.”

I fared a little better in football ... at least on defense. But when the starting quarterback came up to me and said, “Brown, you run great patterns. Better than anybody on the team. But you never catch the goddamned ball!!” I decided my artistic ability was probably going to be my mainstay after that comment and promptly quit the team ... which regardless of what a lot of men will tell you ... is quite a liberating experience.

So finding a baseball has always been my goal. Trouble is this can be a vicious scene. I’ve witnessed young boys knock down a gimpy old man, racing to get a ball bouncing around the empty seats of old Cleveland Municipal Stadium. I’ve watched my buddy Karl turn into a crazed orangutan, leap in front of me, and gobble up a foul ball as if his life depended on it. The closest I have ever come was in a smaller minor league park when a ball jettisoned back towards me and hit the pole to my immediate right. So almost getting killed by a line drive foul is my nearest accomplishment.

My wife’s company has season tickets for the Columbus Blue Jackets (what a ridiculous name for a hockey team) and the other night four of us were treated to the seats. Now these are not your ordinary sporting event seats. These are right down on the glass where it’s so cold you keep your (blue) jacket on. They are aisle seats. Sitting this close one gets to see a lot of smooshed hockey player faces as they smash each other relentlessly into the Plexiglas. It’s really cool ... even if ... like myself ... you couldn’t give a rat’s ass about hockey.

Sometime in the third period I catch a disturbance to my immediate left ... like a mini-riot or something. These incredibly large (I’m being nice here) men dressed in hockey jerseys (which do not have any slimming effect at all) are trying desperately to rise out of their seats, to bend over, to reach out. And they are grunting and caterwauling. Suddenly ... to my amazement ... I see a small black circular thing pop out from under the fray and begin to roll ... ever so gingerly ... but with seemingly purposeful intent ... across the aisle step towards me. Like Shakepseare’s muse this Puck did glide in my direction as the crowd on my left groaned and grunted in their cramped immobility. With a nonchalant confidence I have rarely known, my left hand reached down, snatched the cold black treasure from its exhilarated escape and thrust it in the air for all to see! Like a trophy from the gods I held it high! I then bit Puck..as if it made from solid gold ... just to make sure the moment had actually occurred. Because, as you see, this was the very first ... and possibly the final ... athletic play I had ever made. In an effort to salve the pain of the large, yet mere mortals to my left, I tried in vain to contain my pride.

And although it is not a baseball ... this Puck ... my Puck ... makes for one hell of a paperweight.

by Rick Brown

I glance at the clock. 3:45 a.m. At my side is my wife ... snoring serenely in her delicious slumber, as if serenading her co-hibernating husband. I envy her inert unawareness.

Soon my mind is swimming ... almost drowning in thoughts. Like popping kernels of cerebellum they explode into my consciousness ... as if my head was the office microwave. Salted into these sometimes creative ideas are always the petty worthless worries. What time is it now? How many hours will I get if I fall asleep right now? Dinner tomorrow? The front door? The back door? The waitress? The car? The washing machine’s newest noise?

Oh sure ... I’ve tried all the relaxation exercises people talk about ... the Zen of falling asleep from sleeplessness. Count sheep. Concentrate on your breathing. In ... out ... in ... out. Iiiiiiin ... ooooout. POP! Didn’t I just do this with the dog all evening? In ... out? And the green light of calm ... beginning at the toes ... slowly climbing my body ... mellowing myself in intentional increments. Still ... as usual ... by mid-shin ... approaching the creaky knees ... the green goes POP!!! In my brain. Idea alert!!! Write this down! Others experience this right?!! No ... wait ... sleep ... morning ... won’t I forget? I will ... no ... I won’t.

Plan two ... the new position. Right side. Left side. Back. Pillow fluff. My poor little dog accommodates my tossing/turning ballet with devoted assimilation. Curl up close ... followed by two poochie snorts and a doggie sigh. On the last maneuver he patiently adjusts ... does his routine ... then rolls on his back in submission ... passing what small alpha he can muster in the middle of the night to me with an implied, “Please. No more."

And finally I feel drowsiness returning. My eyelids relent. The popping thoughts slow. With my family surrounding me I have one final muse.

Life is good.


Man ... am I gonna be tired tomorrow.


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Issue 1 - January 2002