The list that laughed

I jump out of bed like a startled chimp escaping the horrors of a vivisection clinic. During sleep, tortured dreams were experimenting on my peace of mind. Hundreds of last-minute actions, from a huge leavinmg-London to do list, pierced the calm like syringes jabbing skin. When I awoke, it was fright or flight – stay asleep and risk yet more anguish, or pulse into action and start getting this goddamn massive, life-changing trip on the move.

Christ, there are three weekends to go, and how many things are there to do? I stare at the list, it’s huge, like a list of life. Sorting the flat – and everything that goes with it – alone should take two months, not one. Then there’s the health side – sorting those dirty, jangly ape teeth of mine out, getting jabbed by preventative cures to prevent premature jungle death. Just as, when you have a crisis confidence in a pool match, and the table pockets seem to grow smaller, and the balls bigger, so the list seemed to grow, and the available time to get through it contract.

And as I stare at it, a small hole opens up in the middle of the paper, then grows into a yawning gape, and each side at the top of the maw curls into an open, smiling mouth, and the list bellows out a Bryan Blessed laugh, it laughs at me, it laughs at me.

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