A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Friday, September 28, 2012


The "Daily Doodle" concept is intended to warm up my creative engines, and is essentially free writing, poetry or prose, usually accomplished in under an hour with a minimum of corrections. From time to time, I will post the results here.

In some cases, the piece will also be a special commission, prompted by a particular buyer. Readers can still custom order their own quick short-short stories: details here.

Today I used a Japanese proverb and a 1950s fashion photograph, both found on Tumblr, and tried to link them together.


"A Japanese legend says that if you can't sleep at night it's because you're awake in someone else's dream."

Jake was not surprised to see the clock read 3:17. He had gone to bed around half-past midnight, and this sleepless night had been one where every minute was felt, every second clutching the pillow and turning this way and that was agony. He had read right up until the point he turned out the lights, hoping that the activity would help him find slumber. His eyes had gone blurry, his head had grown heavy. Maybe if he had a clapper to turn off the bedroom lights without having to get up, it might have made a difference. Is it possible the two-foot journey from bed to light switch was enough to undo all that effort?

Other nights he'd lose time. Two, three hours would pass, but he wouldn't be surprised to see the clock had advances so far, he'd have to wonder if he had really been awake so long. The best he could figure was he actually had fallen asleep and it just didn't feel like it. When he'd think hard enough, he'd realize that he had dreamt during those blackouts, and those dreams were bad, they didn't help. One night every time he went to sleep for just a minute, he'd go into a place where he was trying to hang himself, only to get interrupted having to empty a cat's litter box that would never not be full. Neither task was desirable, but at least the hanging had a final outcome.

When Jake heard some noise outside his bedroom window, it almost felt as if someone had given him a gift. He had an excuse to get up, to no longer force himself to lie there and try to summon the blackness. Jake went to the window and parted the curtains and looked outside. There, on one of the plastic picnic tables in his apartment building courtyard, a woman with a netted half-veil over her eyes and diamond earrings was holding a high-heeled shoe upholstered in light pink felt. She was rubbing her chin over the velvety surface, the way a feline does to mark objects as its own.

Jake pondered who this woman was and what she was doing there. He knew his neighbors, and she was not among their number. She must have sensed his staring, as she turned her head slowly to see who he was in kind. The woman rose from the table and walked toward him, wearing only one shoe, a pink pump to match the one in her hand. Her steps were off-rhythm. One-up, one-down.

When she got to the glass, the woman leaned real close. Had the window not been there, their noses would have touched. "Could you not sleep either?" she asked.

"No," he said. "I don't think so. What are you doing here?"

"That's what I'd like to ask you," she said. "Why are you peeking into my apartment?"

"I'm not. I'm peeking out of mine."

"Is that so?"

The woman raised the shoe above her head, holding it like a hammer, and then swung, plunging the heel into the glass. It pierced the pane perfectly, causing a zigzagged spider web to grow in a circle around the point of impact. Jake jumped back, but it felt like he jerked forward. His head landed on the pillow. He was still awake. The clock said 3:21. Had he really been up that long?

Current Soundtrack: Soulsavers, "Longest Day;" Black Radio, "Always Shine (feat. Lupe Fiasco & Bilal)

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All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich

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