Everyone Is Tired Now
By Chad Redden
Art by Jessica Rowe




Everyone is tired now. No one has slept well. The morning coffee drinkers at the gas station miss their cups. The morning coffee drinkers spill coffee on the counter, the floor, their hands. There is cursing and mumbling. The morning coffee drinkers mumble and stare at one another. They stare at the gas station attendants. The gas station attendants stare back. Everyone thinks they have said hello. Everyone thinks they have bought something. It is rooms of low volume and moving lips. Someone bumps into someone else. Everyone falls down. Everyone is burnt a moment by another’s coffee. The lines of people fall asleep in line. Everyone dreams they have paid for gas and coffee and cigarettes. Everyone is so tired now. Everyone dreams about working, that they have arrived at work. This goes on.

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Everyone is tired now, even the police officer knocking on my car window. His eye sockets collected shadows. Everyone has eye sockets like that now. He woke me at the gas station. I saw my car parked at the pump. I saw the pump connected to my car. First, the police officer asked me if I was alive. I said that I thought I was alive. The police officer asked me why I fell asleep at a gas station pump at nine in the morning. I didn’t have an answer for him, except that I was tired. He said he was tired too. He asked me to get out of the car. He asked me to walk a line a particular way. He asked me to stand on one foot a particular way. He asked me to recite the alphabet a particular way.

The wind blew through me. The wind vibrated my bones. The wind made me stumble in front of the police officer. I kept cussing at the wind. The officer told me to cut it out and that today was a wind holiday. I hadn’t bought the wind a card and I told him so. The police officer said he imagined that I had upset the wind. The police officer said he imagined that was what this was all about.

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I wasn’t sure I was asleep. I went to work at the warehouse. In the parking lot, I saw a puddle and wanted to jump into it. As uncomfortable as it would feel, I wanted my socks wet. I spent the day taping boxes. I needed over a hundred boxes. There were many and I couldn’t keep count. A fire alarm went off. There was no fire. The firemen arrived and said there was no fire. I stood outside in the cold wind with my coworkers. Someone said they hoped a secret fire was inside. An invisible but fast fire, the coworker explained, invisible so the firemen would think the fire wasn’t real so they would leave. Also a fast fire so it would burn down the warehouse before we returned inside. The other coworkers nodded their heads but didn’t really understand. I nodded my head and hoped for a secret fire inside of the warehouse too.

When I returned to work I kept my hands away from the walls, the boxes, the chains that hung above. Then time passed and I forgot about the firemen and the invisible fires. There was a break. There was a lunch. There was moving of boxes to other parts of the warehouse to make room for incoming boxes. There was a break. There was a drive home. There was a bed. There was the feeling of forgetting something important.

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Everyone is tired now and this makes it easy to create new holidays. I made cards for “Face Kissing Day” and placed them in the greeting card racks between the “Thank You” and “Thinking of You” cards. None of the employees at the grocery store noticed me place the cards. I wait to see a tired man or a tired woman browse through the greeting card section. I wait to see that tired man or tired woman to notice the “Face Kissing Day” cards and panic because they think they have forgotten “Face Kissing Day.” They will buy the cards. They will give the cards. Everyone is tired now and will accept a new holiday. A day where many faces are kissed. In truth, I created the holiday because I want a stranger to kiss me on the face. Someone I have never met who would hand me a “Face Kissing Day” card and ask to kiss my face. I would let them kiss my face and then surprise I would then pull out a “Face Kissing Day” card and kiss them on the face. I wait for someone to buy my cards. I wait and make my face noticeable.

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I wasn’t sure I was awake. She came to my bed. It had been so long. I asked about her husband. She said we didn’t need to talk about him, because we were inside my dream. She said we could have sex again. Then, the sun cut through the window at an angle and I knew it was time to leave for work. I placed her under my bed. Folded her into as neat of a square as I could. I drove to work at the mall and thought about her waiting for me under the bed and hoped she was occupied. She wore yellow panties again. I often think about the first time I undressed her and discovered them.

Now, a yellow Mustang speeds past on the interstate and it reminds me of her yellow panties. Now, many yellow Mustangs pass me on the interstate. Now, they rush in a wave. Now, they rush in a flood. I can’t find the mall. I can’t find my job.

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Everyone is tired now, even the gas station attendant. A woman spills fresh coffee on the counter, the floor, her hands. I paid for gas and returned to my car. Placed the pump in my car. The wind was a bone wind. It blew through and vibrated my bones in a painful way. I sat in my car. I thought about how easy it would be to create new holidays by creating fake greeting cards to place in the racks at stores. If there was a new kind of card for a new holiday in a variety of stores then people who buy cards would buy cards for my new holiday. I couldn’t think of a new holiday though. I thought about the traditions of the fall holidays. How they arrived through biological needs. It was a way for mates to meet. It was a way for mates to drink and celebrate, then later undress and breed.







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Chad Redden lives in Indianapolis, IN
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http://lablablabs.net/
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Jessica Rowe lives in Baltimore, MD
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http://www.jessica-rowe.com/
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