My Second Fever Dream

24 December 2005. My fever tops 103F. Throat raw. Swallowing razorblades. I roll into dreamland…

flocked treeMy head’s on the chopping block. The cook from my freshman year dorm’s pinned my arms behind my back, laughing at me, preparing to make me into a crumb-topped cassoulet. I shiver. I shake. The bed melts around me. I’m sinking into a great fondue of sheets. My gramma appears over the edge of the bed with a two-pronged fork, bread bits skewered, priming to dip into the steaming cheesy goo. She leers at me over a gin and tonic. ’Fondue!!’ I think of the book Stop This Man! by Peter Rabe, acutely aware that Erskine Caldwell, author of God’s Little Acre, ’couldn’t put this book down!’ I wonder what Dave Hart’s Christmas is like. Did he come down the chimney and deliver gifts to Chip and the gang? Did he get any window-painting gigs for extra cash? I’ve got his Christmas CD. Why on earth haven’t I called him? I wonder of Fancy Dancer. My father would look good on rollerblades. I think of Victor, Ron, Frederick Chest, DeMarco. What does a DeMarco do for Christmas, do you suppose? Anything he wants. The cook is sharpening his butcher’s knife now, slathering and slimmering all over the industrial kitchen. Six guys from my hall are filling their trays, getting iced tea, paying me no mind behind the counter. There’s Sweany. There’s Davis. Guys, over here. Cook’s laughing. His apron is bloodied. He tap dances to Andy Williams. I can’t shake the image of a Lego® TIE Fighter in shimmery gold paper. IPods, DVDs, novellas, divinity fudge, rum-spiked eggnog, sausage balls, cheese balls, cheese logs, sausage logs, logs and balls devoid of sausage and cheese entirely. I think of firewood. My fever breaks. I wake in a pool of blood, sweat and tears. The bedside alarm plays a song by earth, wind and fire. I yearn for Andy Williams. I awake on Christmas morn and immediately call for vitamin C, sudafed, throat lozenges, coffee, kleenex. 2005 is winding down, but it’s not over yet.

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