The Sleeper


As usual, Justine woke as the second hand of the alarm clock rounded its final lap. Its actuators engaged and the bells rang loud from the hold of a rusted blue van in a diner parking lot across the city. The clock’s new owner was inside eating burnt toast and eggs. Justine flipped through the pile of plastic cases littering the credenza. Nick Drake — gone, P. J. Harvey — gone. She assessed the survivors: Brian Setzer Orchestra, Big Head Todd & The Monsters, Gwen Stefani — all her worst CDs, her lapses in judgment. They had perfect taste, she mused, slightly jealous. Justine dialed the police, who said they’d be over in the afternoon, then her ex-boyfriend, who said no, he was not the perpetrator. She’d hoped he was. She called her mother, who said if papa were alive he’d know what to do, then the office, telling the receptionist she’d been held at pistol-point but thank god no not raped. She climbed back to bed, eased into the covers, then daydreamed of insurance claims and new things replacing old.

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