Dead Parrot Sketch

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.

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