A new fiction serial with weekly installments to come, by Creative Writing junior Daniel Chance Seeder.

Before they even went to sleep they knew they were in for a late start. The Xanax they ingested wasn’t for anxiety, quite the opposite, it was for leisure. They weren’t addicts but they weren’t exactly in control either. The days and nights when the two roommates would allow their minds and bodies to melt away like butter sliding over freshly made pancakes were what they looked forward to most.

In this instance, they were going camping, but not before their minds melted a little bit, hence the late start. Xanax shared the same compounds and chemicals that are found in various forms of sleeping pills, so the effort of getting up was troubled by the deep sleep which the little pills produced for them. Their train was scheduled to depart for the wholly unfamiliar and southernmost part of the state just a quarter after ten, and it was already nearing the change to that very hour.

Alarms buzzed and squawked but their rest went undisturbed. Luckily, the morning sun and placement of Don’s window complimented each other in a way that, no matter how late he tried to sleep, his pillows and face would heat up to the uncomfortable temperature where sleep was no longer an option. His instincts drove him to the corner of his bed, hugging the eternally cold brick wall to avoid the morning light. As an extra measure, Don grabbed his beloved Tempur-Pedic pillow, flipped it over to the much desired cold side, and sandwiched his face between it and the brick wall. Still kind of high on Xanax, it was night once more.

Philip, his roommate, burst into his room.

“Don! Train! Fifteen minutes! Camping!”

In his liminal state of consciousness, Don let out a groan and swept off his covers. All hunchbacked and groggy with sleep practically dripping off his face, he met his roommate’s alarmed expression with that of apathetic, zombified husk.

“You know, I could have been naked.”

Philip ignored the comment and somehow simultaneously opened all the necessary drawers to produce the day’s wears for Don, throwing it on his person.

“Clothes.”

If the two hadn’t organized themselves the night before, they surely would have been fucked. The process was a slow one, and the two carefully planned to time their Xanax to take effect in the midst of double, triple, and quadruple checking their supply list. One half of the organization process was to be done clear-headed and utterly sober, while the other was to be done in a state of half-incapacitation. They knew they were rolling the dice and after that morning, the roommates knew to never give any more credit to their defunct biological clocks.

Slipping on the rest of his clothes, Don forgot about hygiene altogether, and would do so for the next week. He forgot both his toothbrush and deodorant, so any semblance of cleanliness now forfeited itself to nature. Philip was waiting by the open door as Don lugged his 40 lbs. newly acquired (internal frame) hiking pack onto the trunk of his being. Almost forgetting to lock the door behind them, Don turned back and secured the possessions inside their tiny two bedroom apartment.

It was an abnormally warm day for the time of year. The sky was cloudless and already the sun began to beat down on the hazy travelers. Philip was at least two lengths ahead of Don as Don feigned worry.

“I sure hope we make it. Wouldn’t that blow if we did all this planning, bought all this stuff, only to miss the train?”

Don began to wiggle his torso like some kind of strange mating dance to shake the contents of his bag, producing loud jittering and clunking noises from the various metal utilities within.

“Stop that. It would only set us back a day anyway, but it would be the ultimate blue balling.”

“Have you ever been blue balled before?”

“Of course, that shit straight hurts.”

“Funny, that’s what I told your mother last night.”

Philip half turned around to give his roommate the evil eye as heard the distant train bells begin to ding.

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