Everyone has an internal clock, that small piece of equipment inserted by God at birth, by which your own mother was made helpless to be anything but be a servant of your caterwauling, indignant alien species. Throughout your life, which occasionally you have called into question, every attempt has been made to curb and correct this flaw of being, to conform it to the demands of a rigid schedule, first to the fitful blast of the school bell, and then to the silent but deadly throb of the bloated workday.
You’ve been expected to honor the demands of some never named third party, whom you suspect is slyly and secretly in synch with chaos. You can smell a strange animal tang on the wind, a reminder that someone is jogging at five am, able to retire before sunset has brutally choked the air into a shocking pink and orange, the one thing nature has done to provide a little pleasure during the cocktail hour. This elusive phantom, the destroyer of organic destiny, threatens to sully the one moment of the day when it proves possible to knock off the puritan rag-tag, and pump a little magic into a game of Parcheesi, paint your toenails a bilious shade of blue, or sacrifice a fiver to the poker gods.
But your evanescent rising spirit, eternally alert at the influx of mouse hole dark, bursting with wanton vivacity under the chattering chariot of stars and meteors, shatters the cosmic doldrums and comes alive. Though you might have been yawning at six o’clock supper, you are now entertaining a high voltage electrical energy, and it’s tunneling through your veins like a diamond miner or one of those roughnecks chasing after an oil strike. Your body has come into its rock steady own. Your intellect has sharpened, and with it your tongue. Your laughter has wormed its way up from your toes, and now residing in your belly, waits to be invited out into the open, where it will warm your hackles with well being.
Your spouse is once again turning to jelly, crumpling from the center, an increasingly frightened expression overtaking his evening placidity. Knowing that a ravening transformation is once again taking hold of you from the inside, a pitiless, hard-charging tide, connected to the moon and piercing through the heavens, your spouse is becoming visibly despondent. Dismay is kneading his roots into a slimy eye-puffing paste. You recognize the signs of grief, knowing they will be followed by a child’s nap-deprived petulance, that soon your every question will be answered with no, that there will be a stumbling flop onto the mattress and that then, like a fish out of water, yearning to be swept upstream to the Land of Nod, you will watch the torpid flesh writhe and twist and flop about, until at last it has achieved a motionless torpor.
Then, between you and the gods of the night, will flourish the rubbery rasp of his snoring, the elfin heckle of the distant shapes and voices upon the television screen, the howling of the neighbor’s annoying Beagle/ Doberman cross. There will also be your reluctant vision of the morning to come, when your spouse will rise, spouting cheerful, tiresome sound bites of throttling wisdom, while you, maintaining both eyes in the closed position will bat them in secret attempting to stimulate some lubrication that will enable you to open them. You will drag yourself into a sitting position and stagger into the bathroom, return mumbling “tea.” Every question that is raised will receive from you that same answer. “I haven’t had my tea yet.” And onward your life will go, into the great potato sack race of time.