long after things started improving i began to wonder if the witches had put a spell on me. in retrospect, i knew it all started with the first drag from that mentholated cigarette. i realized something, whatever it was, had changed when i listened to mingus' "let my children hear music" three times without knowing it was on repeat. i also became aware that i couldn't stop moving my feet back and forth, back and forth. i'd noticed that much earlier, actually, but attributed it to the mugwort which i am no longer accustomed to. when i finally turned off the music i listened to the ticking of the clock, which would occasionally mute itself, as if Time were taking dramatic pauses through the vast, spaceless night.

it seemed as though i hadn't slept so when i awoke i asked myself what it was i'd dreamt and my answer was "the theme of the dream was pink" and, whether or not this image was in my dream, i've attached to that sentence the image of a framed pure pink on a white wall. i only mention this dream at all as a kind of validated parking; to show i slept at all. i felt achy and weak. my girlfriend was there, looming above me and sorting through her work clothes. i've told her about dreams before but usually they are more interesting than that.

i must have fallen back to sleep because when i woke again she was gone. i had a lot of stuff i wanted to do with my day, primarily finish painting my bedroom. i'd left the job unfinished the previous afternoon, before vanessa came over and took me to visit the witches and the transvestite, (friends of hers). the main witch had filled the house with paintings of naked female vampire creatures with third-eyes in their vaginas. i spent most of the evening playing with the cat, zora, who was also transgender, or was a female with testicles. vanessa helped the witches cook pasta and the transvestite mostly stayed in her bedroom, probably studying victorian literature, which she had a masters degree in. after dinner we all watched a movie in someone's bed. before the movie we smoked a cigarette to help digest the meal - i don't usually smoke cigarettes. the transvestite did not watch the movie with us, she took over the kitchen after we evacuated it.

the longer i laid in bed the more difficult it became to get up. i couldn't fall asleep either, things just got strange. existence turned into a series of half dreams in a half sleep. i was like an exhausted treasure hunter, hunting aimlessly for sleep without a map; contorting myself as if i were a key and sleep were a door i could unlock. the sun would go down and the darkness was preferable, not because it was easier on my eyes but because maybe i would not notice myself when i got back from work. somewhere in the course of things i'd become a hologram. inevitably, the real gus was going to come in and either A) be terrified when he saw me or B) climb into bed and take up all the space. in darkness, even the moonlight through my window would burn my eyelids. i was obsessed with sleep. the clock ticking along beside me, the hissing radiator with its steam sounds, and my feet flapping crazily off the edge of the bed, doing some kind of satanic dance. time passed, perhaps days went by.

i went into the kitchen and my roommate was there with her nephew. they were picturesque, sitting in chairs, drinking wine and talking to two ancient looking mongolian women via skype. they smiled up at me as i came in and i waved silently at the mongolian women in the computer. the four of them were speaking in mongolian while i looked for my box of blackberries in the refrigerator. they were talking about me, concerned about me.

"hi gus, i didn't know you were home?"

"yes, i've been in bed. i heard you listening to that cee-lo song. first in the explicit version and then in the radio version. i heard you making love with your boyfriend, and i'm glad the burns on his hands are improving."

her nephew laughed and said hello. we shook hands. i knew him because he lived with us for a while. i liked him. our conversations were mostly about bruce lee, who is currently buried in washington state. my roommate's nephew does not sleep in beds but prefers the floor. i never found my blackberries. perhaps i didn't own any. i returned to my bedroom empty handed as the mongolian women waved goodbye from mongolia.

i asked god how many hairs were on my head and god replied, "what language has the least words?"
"i don't know god, which one?"
"i'm asking you because i do not know," replied god, "but it is the only language in which i can answer your question."

i was accepted into, and then dishonorably discharged from, a street gang. there had been a misunderstanding about my credentials. during that time, my glasses were rendered useless were i not wearing my contact lenses beneath them.

much earlier, it must have been 1998, my mom tricked people into thinking she could teleport by way of a secret passage in the house we lived in. i tried to explore the route on my own but wound up with a colony of stray dogs following me back out of the dishwasher and into the present. there was a nervous rabbit there too, who the dogs were trying to give a heart attack. that was a dream and it was overwhelming -- and so was the one in which a million orbs appeared in front of my eyes and each one was a question i was supposed to answer. explanations, one after another after another, shooting from me like a machine gun -- like my feet, revolving like a tennis ball gun -- hurling questions at me instead of tennis balls.

kevin returned from europe and was sitting at his drum set. my bass guitar was suspended over my chest by strap-locks. it came to pass that i mentioned the sickness that had plagued me. i was surprised that kevin did not remember it, did not remember my physical absence or at least my mental absence. i know now that i got sick and got better within a two week period, because that's how long kevin was in europe. he told me about madrid and i told him about the night i watched blazing saddles with those witches and their strange ceremonial daggers and the job applications i submitted in the throes of a hallucinogenic illness that spoke through my ankles. the whole band was very excited for my job interview. outside, the streets were still covered in snow.