The Ivory Tower Suite

read the suite in order

by Hildie S. Block

#3 That Sleep of Death

 “Never mind, she sleeps like the dead.”

“You’re horrible”

“OK, you totally should have come last night!”

My eyes opened enough to notice that daylight was leaking through the cracks where the curtains swayed over the air conditioner.

Sleep threatened to pull me under again.  Not before I noticed at least one warm body sitting on the side of my dorm bed.

“OMG! I totally should have!”

“I mean red lights flashing, sirens blaring!”

“EVERYONE STARED.”

“But she was all right?”

“Look at her.  Sleeps through anything.”

The door opened with a creak and another one came in.  And sat on my feet.

“So wait, you guys never showed up right?”  On my feet, did I mention that?

“Oh my god, you have to hear what happened.  They went to NV!”

“Wait, you guys never came to the party at Steve’s because you got into NV?”

“No.  Well, sorta–”

“Before the police and all that –“

“Ok, so we went out – you know just Maddie, Gwen, Victoria, Iliza, Grace and you know who.”

I’m you-know-who.

“Right.  But you were supposed to get to Steve’s by 12, I was like, you know, waiting and stuff.”

“I know, but that wasn’t going to happen until late — so around 10 took a Uber.”

“OMG!  It was so funny, we were freakin’ clowns getting out of that thing! “

“But the driver was sooo nice.”

“I’m not sure we gave him enough money, but he was cool.”

“Anyway – so like we get out and there’s clubs all over and she’s like–”

“Let’s go to NV.”

“No way!”

“Way!”

“So we stood in line for-like-ever–”

“And then this guy came up”

“Not a guy, a GOD”

“And he talked to her.(me again)

“He like KNEW HER.(he is my second cousin, Johnny)

“The next thing we know, we are going in a side door”

“WITH HIM!”

“Like serious VIPs or something.”

“OH. MY. GOD.”

“That’s what I’m saying!”

“So was it awesome?”

“Of course.”

“There was a band playing in one room and the other room was like a total disco from like, the 70s or something.”

“And the drinks all glowed!

“It was just the black light.”

“I don’t care – they glowed!”

“But the police?  What happened?”

“OMG.”

“You won’t believe it.”

“Seriously.”

“What happened?  Celebrity skirmish? Congressman with a woman-not-his-wife?”

“Better.”

“So there’s like this death band in one room, this disco and all these lights and loud music in the other room, even the back bar had loud music playing, right?”

“OK.”

“and SOMEONE, wanted to leave and go to Steve’s.”

“OK.”

“But we didn’t want to go, not yet.”

“I was dancing with this guy, OMG was so hot.”

“I still had a drink left.”

“We had just like gotten there.  That’s what it felt like, and who knows when we’d get in again.”

Me.  I knew.  My mom’s cousins owned NV.  I can always get in.  Can’t drink in there.  But I can get in.

“So she wants to leave but we don’t.”

“Right. “

“So she is sitting in the back bar – Music totally blaring from everywhere, right?”

“My ears are still ringing, I swear.”

“You should have worn ear plugs”

“I know, I know, but still”

“Anyway, so what happens?”

SHE FALLS ASLEEP–”

“SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE HOTTEST CLUB IN THE LIKE WORLD!”

She’s completely out.”

 “She’s in the back bar – which is packed.”

“But people start noticing–”

“And no one thinks, OH MAYBE SHE JUST FELL ASLEEP”

“And who falls asleep at a club on a SATURDAY NIGHT?”

Me, when I’m bored.  That’s who.

“So they like think she’s OD-ed, so the next thing we know there’s all like sirens and lights–”

A Stretcher!

“So the guy I’m dancing with, he’s like, let’s go see what’s happening–”

“So we get to the back bar–”

“I pushed to the front to see what was going on and they are loading her onto a stretcher, and THAT’s when she wakes up.”

I’m not going to deny it because it’s all true.  But here’s what they didn’t get.  I hadn’t slept in who knows how long.

OK.  Me, I know how long it was.

Nine days.

I dozed in class and once at the library face down in my Econ book. But not in bed at night.

It’s not what you are thinking.  Nothing happened in the room.

It was worse.

There’d been this party – we’d gone together – freshmen girls travel in packs.

Alex, the funny cute one from class? We went for a walk.  We kissed and he told me about his girlfriend back home.  Present tense.  And somehow we ended back in his room.  But, I really didn’t want to be that girl. 

Things were complicated.

Leaving got ugly.

I walked back across campus and crawled into my bed.

The next thing I knew, hours later, there were a bunch of people in the room, all chattering.  I squinted at my phone – 4:11 am.

SO I asked, politely.  As politely as could be expected considering the circumstances.

“GET THE FUCK OUT!”

Which is when they seemed to notice me and all the pieces slid into place.

“Wait, have you been sleeping?”

I seriously need to transfer.

“How long have you been here?”

“Weren’t you outside?”

Were they talking in code?

Which is when I noticed the red flashing lights reflecting on the back wall.

“Didn’t you go outside for the fire alarm?”

“Aren’t the Resident Advisor’s supposed to make sure everyone is out?”

“If she couldn’t hear the blaring alarm, you think she heard a knock?”

“I think I told the R.A. you were still out with Alex – – you left the party with him, right?”

I guess I could say, “At least there wasn’t REALLY a fire.”

But there could have been.

And that thought didn’t help me fall asleep.







back to the 2020 FLASH SUITE Contest
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