John woke up after yet another night of restless sleep and by now, it annoyed him so much - that he tried camomile tea and a thousand other home remedies, that did not help at all. Restless sleep wasn’t really the proper word for it. It was like a dream but not as pleasant not a nightmare or night terrors though, I guess you could say it was somewhere in the between. It began about a month ago and the whole process starts with a voice. A familiar voice but he couldn’t place it. “John, Johnny boy, John ol bud” it came as an echo at first, forcing its way into his dreams then it became louder. It wasn’t screaming just yet but nonetheless it was effective and John began questioning his sanity.
He thought this was how it starting for those people with the tin foil over their heads claiming to hear voices. The reason for his sudden interest in this voice was that he had heard it during class the day before. Hearing it in his dreams is one thing, no one really knows everything about dreams and the inner workings of the dream world but while he was awake, it seemed he was slowly drifting closer and closer to Cukootown. He looked around to try and see if anyone was around and hoped they were calling out his name but he knew he wouldn’t see anyone. It wasn’t the type of voice you’d hear every day it was a very particular voice. Most nights he would try to ignore the voice not wanting to encourage it but last night he opened his eyes and got out of bed . “Johnny I know you hear me. I’ll get through to you bud don’t worry you and me, we’re old pals we won’t hurt each other. John, Johnny ol bud”. That was new and that is what scared him the most.
It was noon and John thought that if he couldn’t sleep at night maybe he could try a power nap in the morning but his body would not allow it so he got up. Not a cloud in the sky today which in his current condition was just bothersome. Unlike most kids his age, John didn’t appreciate the cloudless and sunny days. His favourites were the thunderstorms, the constant rain and the dark clouds gloomily covering the blue sky. Saturdays were meant for sleeping in but John had been up since the wee hours of the morning, which just added misery to an already unpleasant week. The unpleasant referred to Claire, John’s girlfriend (also longest relationship he’d ever had, four months) broke up with him. He wasn’t too heartbroken. John loved her but he knew it was coming. It was the same with all of them and he could see the signs. First they’d have a talk to try and solve the problem and that wouldn’t work so then on to anger, she would scream at him, pick fights and threaten him. Next was pleading, rationally trying to convince him to change and lastly the ultimatum. Usually it would go “John I’ve been trying really hard but you not putting any effort into this relationship blah blah blah and if you don’t change and try soon we...” they always let the last part drift off not wanting to say “we’ll be over”.
John wasn’t the most sociable person. He’d be the life of the party when he had a nice buzz going or in the mood to be crazy but that didn’t happen too often. This was probably the reason girls thought he was something other than what he told them he was. He wanted to stay home and watch TV, read books, play video games and hang out with his friends. he was up for partying but partying meant something else when you have a girlfriend, no dancing with other girls in fact no looking at them and worst of all moderation in all things. He was always up for the occasional date night or watching romantic comedies but that was about it. He did not spontaneously show up at your house or call you, he didn’t spend time with your friends or even try to feint interest in those friends, he wasn’t the best at expressing emotion and the one thing John hated and definitely never did was parents he never met parents. Relationships were just too complex for him or he was just too complex for relationships whatever the case may be, he wasn’t going to cry over that particular spilt milk. Weekends were precious in this house and John’s mom was already out visiting with friends as being the only breadwinner for her and her son consumed her entire week. Jim came over, they played video games and he expressed his views on John’s problem.
“You always had a crazy imagination man. Your dreams are just really vivid and it might just be running overtime that’s why you heard the voice during the day,” He also had the solution, “Cannabis man that will calm you down and put you to bed easily.”
John occasionally smoked with Jim but he really enjoyed schrooming that was John’s thing. He loved that it could turn something banal into something spectacular, that he didn’t need his crazy imagination to do the work but just calmly lay back and drift away. James Floyd had been John’s best friend since High School where Jim had graduated a year before John would be in his final year. He was different to all of John’s other friends; there is no real way to describe him. He loved psychedelics just as much as John and they loved sharing conspiracy theories among other things. He was different and that’s what attracted John to him. John welcomed his rare indulgence and by the time his head hit his pillow he was as mellow as he ever was which peacefully brought sleep. “Johnny come on bud”. “This is getting old; you gotta help me out here Johnny.” Although the voice had some new lines, it did not seem to go on through the whole night so maybe the weed did help.
“Told you it would work man, You even got some new info” Jim didn’t quite mind the sunny days as much as John so they were lying on their backs near the riverbank watching clouds go by while cars whizzed along on the bridge.
“Yeah and that lovely bit of information just opened up ten new questions. Do you think I should talk back? Maybe it’s a ghost or spirit or something new that we haven’t heard of.”
“Jonathon I say talk my man, both of us agree that it’s good to open your mind to all the unknown possibilities this beautiful world has to offer so go for it.”
“I figured you’d say that . So Jimmy boy how’s work treating you?” John asked smiling which was the permanent expression when these two were together. After Jim finished school, he got a job working at an old bookstore that traded books as well. It was not that popular but the two of them were regulars so it wasn’t that bad a job as far as Jim was concerned.
“Popular as always man. I’ll probably head in a little late tomorrow, doesn’t make much of a difference”.
“Stop complaining,” John replied “You love that job where else can work and get high at the same time?”
Jim laughed lightly “Right you are. The boss man leaves me to my own devices most of the time but you see Johnny that’s all due to me”
“How would you reckon that?” Asked John gleefully
Jim sat up and looked at John: “Because of my excellent work ethic man” and he fell back and joined John in uncontrollable laughter.