LAST NIGHT I WOKE UP WITH A START. At the foot of my bed was a large, sinister, phantasmagorical creature–a banshee I think–dressed in a dark grey robe that covered his form almost completely. As my eyes drew into focus I could see that he was extending his hand towards me, and fiery red stars exploded from his fingertips, illuminating the room, with a sickly, carmine glow.
"Tonight," he said in a dark, almost inconceivably low register, "tonight is the night that you will DIE!"I shivered beneath my fleecy, warm, ecru-colored duvet. I was frightened almost to death right there! But then I remembered that I had promised Janet that we would go roller skating the next morning, as long as it was sunny, because the roller skating rink was outdoors and when the weather was nice it was fun to skate there and there were refreshments served at the snack bar, including ice cream and all sorts of hot dogs and popsicles and creamsicles.
"Wait," I said. "I need my rest tonight. I promised a friend that I would go roller skating tomorrow."
"TOMORROW!" The Banshee hissed. "Do you really think that you will still be...uhh...that you will be...that you..."
The Banshee paused for a moment. His grey hood slipped backwards just enough that I could see his colorless forehead as he wrinkled his brow, which was also colorless, and of course a little pale looking but not in an attractive way.
"Roller skating?" the Banshee asked.
"Uh huh. Roller skating."
"You mean with real roller skates? The old fashioned kind?"
"Not roller blades?"
"Little wooden wheels?"
"Do they play music while you skate?"
"All kinds of music. Lots of oldies. Like 'Snoopy and the Red Baron' for instance. And they sell creamsicles and hot dogs and stuff."
"You going with a girl?"
"That sounds nice," the Banshee sighed. "Real nice. Roller skating and music. Snoopy," he said quietly to himself. "Creamsicles," he said, in almost a whisper. "A girl."
For a moment that Banshee sat down on the foot of the bed and said nothing. I thought maybe he was waiting for me to die, but then I realized that he wasn’t really noticing if I was dead or not and he didn't seem very interested in dying. I was about to ask him if he could move a little bit so that I could move my feet because they were starting to get tingly and they were about to go asleep when suddenly he said
"Enough’s enough! Basta! I’ve had it! Like this I need! God!" the Banshee shouted to no one in particular, "Just forget it. I don’t care anymore."
And then, without a word, the disheartened creature wrapped his grey coat around him, said "Creamsicles" once more, burped quietly, said "Excuse me" laid down on the floor, said, "A girl" and then "Jesus" and then died.
The Banshee and the robe dissolved in a wisp of smoke, but you could smell that burpy smell for a while longer–I could still smell it when I finally went to sleep.
The next morning I woke up and the burpy smell was gone. I went downstairs and had a nice, hearty breakfast. It was a beautifully sunny day, and Janet and I rode our bicycles to the roller rink and went roller skating. We must have been there for hours! We ate three creamsicles a piece, and we hooted and hollered and laughed so hard that we almost cried. We fell down constantly, and held hands during the 'Couples Round.' By the end, we had eaten so many hot dogs and creamsicles that we practically threw up. It was so much fun! Later that night, I was so tuckered out that I pulled my duvet up around my chin, wrapped up real snuggly, and fell asleep like a baby.
Bio: Ricky Garni is a graphic designer living in
Motivation: A tiny salute to the wonderful moment between life and sleep at night where the two seem to confuse each other with each other and thoughts turn to childhood, glory, and of course gory, too, and spectres of death and such.
Photo: Juliet James
Photo: Juliet James