john bennett | sleeping on it

Sleeping on It

They suspected he was lying about all of it, about the sleeping pills, about his resolve to turn over a new leaf, about his escape from Ecuador on a balsa-wood raft with a leopard-skin sail, and about his conversion to Catholicism.

“Why Catholicism?” the interrogator asked.

“What would you do in the middle of the ocean on a raft made of coconuts tied together with knitting yawn?”

“Coconuts is it now!” said the interrogator. “You can’t keep your story straight. You’re in way over your head.”

“Way over my head,” he said. “Forty fathoms of ocean under me, surrounded by icebergs. Polar bears everywhere. The voice of God screaming in my ear…”

“Listen to what you’re saying!” the interrogator said. “Can you hear yourself?”

“I can’t help how my life’s played out,” he said. “I can’t do anything about happenstance. I follow my bliss, but what have I ever done to you? Did I disparage your integrity? Sleep with your daughter?”

The interrogator was not distracted. “How many sleeping pills did you take?” he asked.

“Nary a one!”

“We have evidence to the contrary,” said the interrogator.

“Oh, that. Who gave you permission to pump my stomach anyway?”

“You were out like a light,” the interrogator said, “bobbing around Lake Merritt in Oakland on a rubber raft, stark naked with a spider monkey on your back!”

“So?” he said. “If I was out like a light you probably snatched me off an iceberg and planted me there! Can I call my lawyer now?”

***
The lawyer said he should plea bargain. If he owned up to the sleeping pills, they’d let the rest slide–the polar bears, the icebergs, the monkey and the discrepancies around how the raft was put together. Even the voice of God screaming in his ear and his sudden embrace of Catholicism, which they saw as a way to get the Pope involved.

“The pharmaceutical industry’s behind this,” he said. “And the medical profession. Sleeping pills are over-the-counter and they want someone to write a script for something more expensive with a little more kick that will wipe out my dreams. They don’t want me having the dreams! They’re nervous I might create icebergs off the coast of Ecuador. They’re afraid I’ll sabotage the global economy and sink oil tankers and fishing boats. They want to render me dreamless!”

“It’s either that or you vanish,” the lawyer said. “There’s not a court in the land that wouldn’t uphold their contention that you never existed.”

“Then I’ll demand a jury trial,” he said. “A jury of my peers.”

“Get real,” said the lawyer. “Just swear off the sleeping pills and sign a confession. Go back to Ecuador and lead a simple life. Marry a native.”

“And the monkey?”

“I think I can get them to let you keep the monkey,” said the lawyer.

“Can I think it over?”

They want an answer by morning.”

“Okay then,” he said. “I’ll sleep on it.”

click the Hcolom Press logo to visit the web page...HCOLOM PRESS is the heir to Vagabond Press, which began as a main player in the Mimeo Revolution of the Sixties and continued publishing right into the jaws of the new millennium. HCOLOM PRESS embodies the spirit of Vagabond Press, retooled for the times we live in.

Hcolom is Moloch spelled backwards. Moloch is an Old Testament deity to which children were sacrificed, a practice society still engages in with increased enthusiasm. Consumerism is the new Moloch, manifesting itself like cancer in war, politics, the arts and religion, in every nook and cranny of human endeavor, draining the intrinsic beauty out of life and mutilating the innocence and magic of childhood with its commercial meat hook. HCOLOM PRESS intends to publish books that by their nature repudiate this pernicious force–novels, poetry, children’s books and books that transcend genre.

Our launch book, in June of 2006, was John Bennett’s novel, Tire Grabbers, a fable of sorts, a reality book rooted in the fantasy of our times, the story of the coming of Moloch and the children who rise up in rebellion against it.

Books of kindred spirit will follow close on its heels. Go for it by clicking here… or hit the Hcolom logo above…

Leave a Reply