I wake from a dream about a dead parrot, try to remember the details and then wake up again. I spin around and round writing short stories about dead parrots on anything I can find, a whirlwind mini-industry of dead parrot literature with dedicated shelves in all the high street bookstores. I write down so many stories that I have all the possible permutations of my dead parrot dream covered. I wake up again, frustrated that my stories are lost forever. I think about writing them all again and then decide I can’t be bothered, which is fortunate because seconds later I wake up again anyway. I get out of bed and make myself a drink. In the kitchen I find a dead parrot on the floor and decide to start a collection. I use a hole punch to make two small holes in one of its wings and snap it into a ring binder along with a whole load of short stories that I find lying around. I wake up again, clutching my dead parrot ring binder. Then I wake up without it. I wake up again and find it under a pile of other stuff. This is getting ridiculous. I try to sort through the layers of sleep so that I can put an end to this nonsense once and for all. They hang in front of me like pieces of translucent plastic sheeting. I push through them, waking up and waking up and waking up again and again, dead parrots falling all around me, dead parrots in my hair and in my mouth. Finally I wake up properly. The world seems so real and familiar, a thousand times more lifelike than in my dream wakings. I can hardly believe how easily I was fooled. Later: “Is this a story about dead parrots?” a friend asks, reading my work over my shoulder. “No,” I say, “it’s about waking up.” I print it out and clip it into a ring binder along with a translucent sheet of plastic.