I had the strangest dream.

In my dream I lived in a house with people who were my closest friends, but complete strangers. And each morning my peaceful sleep was interrupted by the most irritating and annoying ringing sound imaginable. I then proceeded to play a game with the emanator of that horrible sound.

"Just five more minutes," I muttered, and pressed the snooze button. And then the five minutes passed and I was subjected to that sound again.

Finally, I climbed out of the warm bed into the shivering, completely black, cold room. Trying my best not to make any noise and wake anyone else up, I stubbed my toe against the bed, tripped over a pile of clothes, and proceeded to the bathroom.

Staring at the bloodshot eyes that stared back at me in the mirror, I pulled out a razor. Several nicks and cuts later, and after I had applied tufts of white toilet paper on the cuts over half my face, I wiped my hand over my cheek and felt how smooth it was. However, the face that stared back at me in the mirror was completely bearded, and he shook his head unbelievingly at me. "How could you compromise yourself so?" the bearded me snorted. "What happened to all your dreams and aspirations, your desire to change the world and make it a better place for everyone. Now you're a paper-pusher! What happened to you?"

I certainly didn't have time for that. I hopped into the shower and "ahhed" and "oohed" in the steaming water just long enough so that I knew if I didn't get out right that second I was going to be later than I already inevitably was.

Back in the dark room, I pulled on the clothes I had set aside the night before. The polyester pants and starched shirt went on OK, but the tie had to be done in the bathroom in front of the mirror. I swallowed and buttoned the top button and proceeded to put the noose around my neck. 131 tries later, I finally succeeded in getting the little end the right length, and when I looked in the mirror the bearded man rolled his eyes and sighed in pity.

Dashing to the kitchen, I noticed there wasn't any time for breakfast...again. I grabbed my briefcase, and shot out the door into the still, black, morning street.

A stream of people whooshed by, pulling me along in the darkness toward the bus stop. The sun was just starting to come up, and I glanced sideways at the suits that looked just like my own, and the blank faces that stared as they stepped, stepped -- each person out of step with all the rest. Then the bus stop. The bus arrived at the exact moment it did every morning, and the crowd crammed me inside, where we stood barely able to breathe, wall-to-wall blank faces.

My stop arrived, and I excused my way out the door and into the cold, towering building. The crowd whooshed me into an elevator, and the twenty people that accompanied me up looked off into twenty different directions, and each began counting the seconds until the day would be finished.

I got off at my floor, and found my desk the way it had been the day before, only there was a slightly higher pile of paper in the "DEFINITELY HAVE TO GET DONE" pile than the last time I had shuffled them around.

I pushed a pencil over some of the pages, rearranged others, sent some to other people's desks, dumped a truck load into the paper shredder that fed into the overflowing recycling bin beside my desk, and listened to the seconds ticking away on the giant clock across the room.

Reaching for my thirty-second cup of coffee, I noticed the hands of the clock had moved to that magical spot where the room starts bustling with anticipation, and I quickly neatened the new stacks of pages that had grown that day, closed my briefcase on my tie, grabbed my coat, and rushed out the door with the hundred or so others who also wanted to beat the rush and get out first.

Then I crammed into the elevator, and the crowd carried me out of the building, down the street, and into the bus. All the while, my feet never even touched the ground, and before I knew it, I was home, sitting before a blinking blue box that slowly drained all thoughts from my mind and made me so tired that I dragged myself off to bed to wake up to yet another day exactly like the last.

Closing my eyes, I tried to dream about the weekend, and even further still, of the time when my ship would come in, and I'd finally be doing what I longed to do, whatever that was. It would all be perfect then. Everything would have fall into place. I'd be happy and content. I'd get along with everyone and they'd all get along with me and each other. And everything would work out for me and for everybody everywhere. And there would be peace on earth and ....

The alarm clock jolted me out of my reverie and I tried with all my might to drag myself out of bed and psych myself up to face another day exactly like the last.

The days flew by until the long awaited weekend came, and before I even knew what had happened, it was Sunday night, and I was lying down looking back at another wasted weekend of not enough time to do what you want, so you don't do anything, and I tried my best not to think of tomorrow -- the dreaded MONDAY.

The 9 to 5 Nightmare
( Chapter 8- MP3 song demo by Lyndon DeRobertis)



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