RUDE AWAKENING • by Wayne Scheer

The thumping bass jarred me out of a deep, post-coital sleep. Squinting at the alarm clock, I saw it glow 2:45 AM.

I clicked on the lamp and Cindy turned towards me. “It’s those damn kids,” I said.

I expected her to agree and show annoyance. Instead, she looked surprised. With the sleep fog lifting, I realized I had just called the guys down the hall ‘kids.’ They were college students, as was Cindy. I had graduated only a year earlier and just landed a job as an art designer for an advertising firm.

“I have a meeting first thing in the morning.”

She shrugged. “Since we’re up, why don’t we — ” Her voice trailed off as her hand slid between my legs.

I tried to ignore the music and focus on Cindy. Her tongue was flicking its way down my chest, approaching my belly. I had no doubt as to its destination. We had been dating six months and the sex was terrific. But the pounding music enraged me and I directed that anger towards her.

“Don’t you have an early class tomorrow?”

“Mmm.” She looked up, licking her lips. “I may skip it.” She resumed her downward movement.

“No,” I said, amazing myself and surprising her once again. She had always looked beautiful to me with her curly red hair and freckled face. Now she just looked young. Too young.

I rolled away from her. “You need to go to class in the morning and I need to get some sleep.”

“You’re starting to sound like my father.”

Her father? I considered what she had been doing. Worse, I knew I had been sounding like my own father.

The music continued ripping into my head. I could feel its pulsating rhythm. I should be tearing away the blanket and fucking Cindy to that primordial beat. Instead, I jumped out of bed and grabbed a pair of jeans.

“Where are you going?”

“To make those jerks turn down their damn music.”

Cindy shook her head and I felt old for the first time. I knew as I opened the door and crossed the threshold into the world of jobs and alarm clocks, there would be no turning back.

I took a final look at Cindy, sighed, and crossed over to the other side.

After teaching writing and literature in college for twenty-five years, Wayne Scheer retired to follow his own advice and write. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Net. Some of his work has appeared in Notre Dame Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, Flashquake, Flash Me Magazine, The Internet Review of Books, Eclectica and Skive Magazine. Wayne lives in Atlanta with his wife and can be contacted at

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