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The Making of an Insomniac

red. When plugged into the outlet next to my bed, that nightlight so peculiarly illuminated my own skin that anytime my arm twitched I succeeded in scaring myself. When the contraption was plugged into the electrical outlet near the foot of the bed, I faced a wall of hooligan shadows. After my parents lost patience with me and my brigade ofboogeymen, I confided in cousin Linda (the pincher)-a strategy bred of desperation, but a smart one nonetheless. Once victimized by her own shadow posse, Linda not only understood the dilemma, she'd already discovered and pre-tested a solution. Beset by creepy shadows? Name them: Betty, Arnold, Sassafras and Clyde. Lights out, summon forth those demons for a chat. ID them before they have chance to leap out and terrify you. Excellent, excellent advice. THAT PARKER DoRM NIGHT NOISE DESCRIPTION. Some fleshing out required, I now realize. My roommate, a journalism major, was a scholar, an activist, and a major player on campus. She excelled in the classroom and outside of it she volunteered, organized and led what needed leading, soon distinguishing herself from her trifling, lackluster, so-called peers. A campus honor society for women, The Valkyries-very prestigious as well as very mysterious-took note of Brenda's accomplishments and voted her into their ranks. Given the high-drama spookiness of the induction ceremony, it would have been nice, kind, or just plain commonsensical to alert Brenda's roommate about the pending event, but in keeping with the organization's hush-hush traditions, both the inductee and I turned in for the night none the wiser. Before I woke sufficiently to hear and identify the actual gong, I dreamed that unsettling noise coming closer, honing in. Much worse: the real gong replicated my dream gong, beat for ominous beat. I claim I would have appreciated advance warning but no warning in words could have prepared me for five strangers in hooded black robes swooping into my night room brandishing lit candles. As a cluster they moved toward Brenda's bed, then fanned out around it on two sides, forming a semi-circle with Brenda trapped inside. The gonging ceased; the murmuring began; the candles steadily flickered. I can scarcely believe even now that she, I or the two of us in tandem refrained from serially screaming. Bolt upright, sheets to our necks, backs plastered against headboards, we didn't move another inch until one of us was instructed to do so. Wearing pjs, hair nesty, Brenda, as bidden, followed that dark entourage out the door and into the night to the sound of revived gonging. In the wake of her chaperoned departure, I didn't turn on a light, didn't get up, didn't go Summer - Fall 2006

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Profile for University of Idaho Library

Fugue 31 - Summer/Fall 2006 (No. 31)  

The Literary Digest of the University of Idaho

Fugue 31 - Summer/Fall 2006 (No. 31)  

The Literary Digest of the University of Idaho