by Joe Buonfiglio

So my teenage son on summer break from school comes into my bedroom at two in the afternoon and announces, “Dad?  Dad!  Are you gonna wake up sometime today or what?  God, you’re such a slacker!”

My teenager having to get me out of bed in that manner is not just a surreal juxtaposition best left in some warped alternate dimension; that’s out-n-out fucked up.

I’d like to blame my hopeless inability to maintain any sort of reasonable day-schedule on my insomnia or “The Writer’s Curse” (aka “I only chose this profession, because I’m a night person and it was either be a writer or work the late-night shift as a New Jersey Turnpike toll collector.”); but these would only be half-truths.  The real reason I’m the walking dead during daylight hours is due to it being the…


Now, in all deference to the great George Romero and his cult-classic horror film, I do mean Living “Dad,” not Living “Dead.”  This is because I personally suffer from terror dreams that are so severe they obliterate any chance of experiencing the life-replenishing peace induced by normal slumber that most of you unforgiving day-walkers enjoy.

Why do I describe Day “Normies” as “unforgiving”?

It’s a lot like back pain.  I have found that if you do not know what it is like to writhe in anguish from the sharp blade-thrust of agony that is the torment of back pain; if you have not experienced shoving painkillers down your throat as if they were mere Tic Tacs and you were stranded on an island with nothing but a crate of the candy-esque breath-mints having washed ashore to offer your only sustenance; you tend to be a heartless prick looking down upon the back-pain sufferer as a feeble-minded weenie unworthy of your sympathy, let alone your time to assist the afflicted in their efforts just to find a way to make it to the damn toilet before they crap themselves.

And yes, while some of you in the Literary Police may find that to be an inexcusable run-on sentence and have already left this blog-post to head for the greener pastures of whatever literary review is on your nightstand that renders the feeling of academic superiority you so crave; I consider it more of a crime of passion that aptly describes the woes of they who endure the dreadful misery of severe and frequent back pain.

Okay, admittedly, I just repeated my grammatical misstep with that little pseudo-mea culpa.  So sue me.

Look, my point is that people — such as me — who suffer from night terrors get very little sympathy from those of you able to get your eight hours and function well at your day job.  As with back pain, if you haven’t experienced it — lived though it firsthand — you just don’t get it.  If you did, you’d be like “Shit. What are you doing up?  Are you sure you don’t want to sneak in a couple more hours of shuteye?  How about if I wake you when the sun goes down?”

How does one describe living with terror dreams?  I’ve had them for so long — since I was a kid, really — that it is hard to imagine life without them.  Terror dreams are like—  Terror dreams are like—

Terror dreams are like having the dentist overdose you on gas, exposing your genitalia and smearing said naughty bits with a melted Snickers bar, and then having a pack of starving sewer-rats set upon you while it’s all being filmed for TMZ’s YouTube Channel.

THAT’S what terror dreams are like.

My night terrors are dreams that infect my sleep over and over and over again with vivid, full-color horror that makes the most graphic slasher film look like a Disney cartoon for preschoolers.  So for all of you “I dream in black and white of gently rolling surf on a beautiful morning at the beach” Day Normies: Fuck you.  Fuck you and your “Normal” Rockwell lives with your happy-happy sleeping patterns.  Try waking up every forty minutes drenched in sweat and screaming for your life, because your alternate night-universe just saw you being eviscerated with an oversized runcible spoon by a two-headed cockroach trying to get to the cheese you just ate at juuuuuuuuuuuust the right amount of digestive time to make it “fondue ready.”

I wish I could say you can’t really blame me for the state of my tortured mind.  I’d like to be able to point to all the madness in the world today and say, “See?  It’s not my fault my brain is so fucked up.  Look at all the crazy shit engulfing the planet.”  Conquest, War, Famine, Death and devastation…  I’m an Agnostic and even I can pretty clearly see the Four Horsemen’s ride in all this.  I mean, if they’re not already using the Earth for their own, personal Hell-steed steeplechase, it seems more than fucking evident that they’re at least pulling the bad-boy ponies out of the stable.

The state of the world and mankind’s role in all this ceaseless evil is enough to give ANYONE night terrors.  But, I’ve had these horror-show midnight viewings in my Cerebral Cinema since I was a young enough to first start appreciating pornography.  And while my Theatre of the Absurd blood-and-gore extravaganzas of the grey matter have definitely increased in both frequency and severity as I’ve gotten older, any sort of impending Apocalypse can’t be blamed for my moonlit madness.

It’s just bad wiring.  That’s all it is.

Okay, maybe my addiction to eating leftover Mexican food right before bedtime might be contributing to the problem, but that’s never been proven in a court of law…. Oh, they tried.  They tried.

And so, my son, the Night of the Living Dad will not be your problem much longer.  School will be back in session soon.  So, never fear.

Unless this is all genetic.

Then you’re fucked.


© 2014 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

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