Joseph Pravda
'Got up, got out of bed, dragged a coma across my head..........'

Welcome to a thought experiment, one in which you are asked to "picture yourself in a" road or a river....only your name's not Lucy, and the sky is outside, with diamond-like stars, if only you could see them; no, you're ensconced in a home equipped with wall to wall screens, much like the interactive wall screens the world was warned about in Bradbury's, then Truffaut's "Fahrenheit 451", an upside down world in which firemen combust literature.  You met Ray years ago, at that library thing, and lied about reading the book as a girl; that French orphan with the bad childhood was there, too, you remember not telling him the film wasn't his best work.

You examine your surroundings.  There's that flat screen you're hoping to replace with the newer, bigger HD features, you just saw it on that screen, the pause, not to smile at the irony of an appliance actually seeking its own obsolescence but, rather, to wonder if you have enough sky miles to flip over to your bank's cross-marketing deal with the big box outlet it owns.  Besides, it's always on, talk about maximum return on investment, only you use the abbreviated 'R.O.I.' you heard on the financial channels.  The 'Daddy's Little Princess' neurons belly flop into your streaming consciousness, instructing your lips to purse, then pucker as some plucky dendrite axon makes you aware of how that sounds like a royal entitlement.

You're distracted by that commercial, the one it seems is played alot, and on every channel, it seems.  You decide to ask your doctor about it, and those other drugs your friend told you about, the ones with the animated story boards where everyone smiles, emerging from holes in the lawn or localized rainy clouds that hover over just them.  You wonder if your vet can help your pet, too; you audibly say 'huh' from smirking chapped lips, remembering that many of those animated drug ads have happy dogs in them.  You're glad you smirked, reminds you to grab some of that beeswax stuff for your lips, it's all natural, which reminds you, aren't bees dying, you saw something between those drug commercials, what was that about the bees, maybe it was about Africanized bees, can't recall...better ask your doc about it first, though, you saw on one of your screens..something about how a hippie recluse dude made the stuff---and he just died, hmmm.

Your smartphone rings with that retro ringtone you downloaded because it reminded you of a simpler time.

It's your friend telling you she's just seen something on TV about an app that you can get to keep you up to date on getting the latest apps to make your life more focused and organized.

You're grateful because you need to get organized, life is just so busy.  That word, 'busy', makes you daydream about bees, how you've always thought of them when you hear about being busy, and sometimes beavers, too.  You recall a show about beavers, how they degrade the environment to serve their needs and, maybe, you saw beavers in that drug commercial.

Your friend asks if you're alright. You reply in the affirmative, now distracted by the screen to your right, the one you can see through the mirror; they're talking about business profits.  'Business', you think, 'isn't that from the root word 'busy'?'  Your smartphone reminds you you've got a doctor's appointment soon, she's got the results in on your kid's acting all schizzy.  You excuse yourself, and jump in the shower, thinking about how dangerous it would be to actually jump in the shower; your mind does that alot lately.  Maybe it's a side effect, better ask your doctor.  You engage the in-shower music player, it's John Lennon, singing "A Day in the Life", you love that song.  He says persuasively that he'd love to turn you on........your stockbroker, she said she'd love to turn you on, too, to a great investment opportunity.  You step out of the shower, remembering to call your broker---you can't resist what you indolently allow as an attention deficit's version of literate alliteration: on that inner screen of yours you project a catty image of her makeup, reminiscent of  Jack's're permitted that first name privilege, as he's practically your neighbor--what's a couple of hills?

You ask her about that opportunity, and she says it's in Russian real estate, right next to Lenin's tomb, and the Kremlin.  You smile when she comments on you as an eager beaver.  You hum 'Imagine...', that Lennon song, as you stand there, nude, wet and trembling... mostly at how you imagine you must look naked, the way you fall short of how your personal trainer says you simply must.  You still blame Yoko, your other almost neighbor to that overpriced sublet pied-a-terre your broker said you wanted.

You've got another call---'Ciao, got another call' you blurb to your broker; you click on your avatar for 'Kid's High School': 'Lockdown?!' you scream using your gut's reaction.   Jump behind the wheel of your flex-fueled SUV...that always reminds you of that show, 'Law & Order, SVU', that episode about the gun in a school, you remember watching it, multi-tasking, what else, during it, cancelling that LiveStrong bike helmet for your kid.......'why do I use that word, that's a baby goat, gotta use 'child'......Focus!' you yell out loud.  Blue lights flash; you think of that blue blazer you can't wear, 'too tight, no more Frappucinos....'

"Sorry, road's blocked, please turn around" someone with S.W.A.T. in yellow calmly commands, swatting aside your automatic question starting with 'What the Hell?!'You think of that well-dressed fellow at the door when you were on the phone with your broker, white shirt......'Jesus, why can't my whites turn out like that', the Stones song 'Satisfaction' pops into your head, maybe beaming back from that Voyager thingy, out there, in deep space, nooo, too far...'.

That guy, in the shirt and tie, he asked: 'Have you met Him?'  How many times have you used His name, times like this, yes.......George Carlin reminds you that 'He's all-powerful, loves you, and your children, just can't handle money!'

That's why you swatted the acne-infested young-seeming boy's question away, ', ha, like I'm some kinda sucker--why does his 'He' allow acne?  Marx, must've been the fifth Marx Brother, what with that gag about 'opiate of the masses.'  Like opium could cure even one boy's acne......he didn't seem much older than your he on those drugs, too?!  Ask your doctor, right, Jesus...

Your Sirius XM equipped flex SUV announces the lockdown, 'no further details available at this time.'It tries to comfort you, '....police say it's just a precaution'.  'Yeah, right.'Your peripheral vision, so useful at home and work while multi-tasking, spies a billboard: "Choose Life".A paid ad on your commercial-free Sirius radio seriously...ha, ha, you always liked that pun....grabs your ear.  "Remember, your 2nd Amendment Rights are the best home security system......a public service announcement by the New America Foundation."  An officer approaches: "It's a false alarm, lockdown's over, just some parent with a concealed weapon set off the metal detector, had a permit" he drones, but you sense frustration.Your forehead hits the plush steering wheel you customized your SUV with.  Sirius......'seriously'....channels into your relieved head: "....the purple pill....."

You pick up your....child; 'classes are cancelled, rest of the day' your child smirks.  'You ok, hun?' He pulls the earbuds and you can still hear the song it's so loud.......'White Rabbit', Jefferson Airplane.  You muse: 'Thomas J., founder of......less government interference, nice irony'; you are pleased with your recall of history, and the paradoxes called irony.  Gotta get my child into a good college' you reassure that part of your brain.

You get back, get back, Jo loved The Beatles in college, but wonder why that Stones song 'Satisfaction' just popped into your cabeza again....two years of Spanish paid off, huh......."'I can't get no.....'", wow, maybe it's beaming in from that Voyager thingy, who knows, maybe Sirius can pick it up, yeah, by satellite, very cool, tech-know-ledge-e.' Still smiling, self-amused.  You swat away a lingering teardrop.

'Wanna synch up your playlist?'  he nods, you push a shiny chrome button.

"One pill makes you taller, one pill makes you small......" Your child smiles, mumbling 'ask Alice...'  You bluetooth your broker, hands free happier. 'Hey, what's the best stock play in home security?  Oh, yeah, got that doctor appointment, so, just call me later with that data, and, um, find out who makes that......purple pill......ciao.'As you pull away your peripheral sight is instructed by a bumper sticker on the S.W.A.T. car: "Report Suspicious Behavior....Have a Nice Safe Day".

Your day's daze finally over, your head greets the cool pillow with the guaranteed 'never hot' thingy built in.  Like Lennon promised, you went upstairs, had a smoke, and fell into a dream, the kind that the Bard you try so hard to understand says rounds our little lives, or's even got a title:

A Mad-at-Summers Night's Dream or Rub(b)in the Lamp for a Green Span to the 21st Century

You're the proverbial fly on the wall............of the inside of that famous skull, whose owner used to use your pied-a-terre.  It's around midnight, and he's growing drowsy but not yet ready for sleep; former President Bill Clinton's in your upscale pied-a-terre, so convenient, allowing him to stay busy, so much to do, rebuilding that bridge well into the, then, near future to that century which was looking so very promising. Besides, the commute to sedate Westchester county's such drudgery, and Hilly's in town.  'Pillow's real cool' his racing mind reports, ' a nice scent, new maid's touch, ah guess, kinda like........perfume.' It's too late for any more phone calls, business or friendship.  His huge mental rolodex pulls up two recent calls. 'Mah two treasured........boys----come ta think of it, Summers and Rubin never did call me back' his newfound focus lasers, decompressing that famed compartmentalized brain pan. 'Yep, both of 'em turned out ta be a couple a cold bastards, like their predecessor, old Alexander Hamilton---all damn bankers at heart, skewin their advice in that direction' his candid regret-driven neurons fire away.

'Ta think that misogynistic Larry teamed up with Bob and Greenspan to beat up that gal Brooksley for darin ta call attention ta those damned mortgage de-rivatives....and usin my mantra---- "the American financial system takes a major step forward towards the 21st century"----huh!'  Bill now sits up, punching his now warmer plump scented pillows, one for Larry, the other for Bob.  The extra pillow to his right he leaves untouched, owing to Alan's wearing glasses.  'Right, the 21st century, if ya call it a derailed train, like that old one, The 20th Century, the one my momma took me on headin up ta New Haven and Yale' Bill's mouth now in reflexive pout, his upper lip eclipsing his lower in that trademark limbic display.12:07a is the readout on the LED clock he now stares at, while his well-traveled mind time treks, the former President, cum philanthropist now seeing '6:00a' on a decidedly low-tech clock face.  He's that other Bill, Mr. Murray, without the happy ending.  He sinks back down to a supine posture, and flips the pillows----'that's better' he consoles himself.  But that Mitch Ryder tune from 1979 replaces the dull reportage about some furry creature's peeking out from its dark sleeping place, becoming a soundtrack to the indie horror nearing post-production by the former President's production company, 'Country Rhodes Prods.'  It grows louder: "....wearin her perfume, Chanel No. 5, got to be the finest girl alive, not too skinny, not too fat, she's a real humdinger, and I like it like that."  A pillow now sits atop his face, his large over-manicured chubby hands slightly depressing it, as if to muffle that soundtrack, maybe for good? His overly bright mind keeps seeing 'blue' as 'blew'.  'No! Gotta world ta save' the take-charge neural net in charge of muting, if necessary and opportune, the blubbery limbic system it has learned to use for effect, responsible for that signature 'feel your pain' construct his lips dutifully portray on cue. ' It's about sax, not sex' his Elvis-ometer country boy compartment chimes in, counseling his frontal lobes and, suddenly, Bill is back.  His eyes now close, peripherally spying 12:10a on the, now, high tech clock face Bill muses: 'Gotta lay a new foundation for that 21st century bridge, yeah, call it 'infrastructure's bridge to somewhere, a somewhere where there ain't no crazy Summers, where Rubes ain't "in", somewhere over that Green Span'.  His red-faced ardor, now, begins to subside, his limbic system counseling him to relax.  Bill flips the pillow once more----'cool, very cool, nice scent, too, kinda like.........Chanel No. 5'.

You're awake, you think; your clock's red eyes matching yours, it's 12:10am;  you click on the flat screen, Channel 5.  You forgot, it's Groundhog Day.

A genuine smile, nothing to do with botox, as you drift off, thanking two Bills and one John, determined to reset your programmed whirled to....'imagine'.  You might even forgive Yoko.