The Dog Sicced The Cops On Us.

I'm not sure how most people go from sleep to waking. Judging by Brigitte, who's the only person I've seen waking up since I can remember, it's kind of a gradual thing. I see her waking up, slowly, and I envy her. I can lean over and run my fingers from the base of her neck, along her lovely bare back down the whole spine, barely touching her, and finish up just above the crack of her butt, resting my index finger lightly just at the spot where the cheek begin to separate, and watch her slowly wake up.

First there's a little shiver she gives. I feel her skin get all goose-bumpy.

Then she murmurs. Something, usually, like Ohmmm.

Then her butt tenses up and I feel her fleshy cheeks rub against my fingertip.

She murmurs again.

Then she wiggles and I know she's almost back. She wiggles just a little and I press into her.

Then she rolls over and presses her lips against mine.

I don't wake up like that.

I've watched her do that all six times I've watched her wake up. That's how I've woken her up each of the six times I've woken before her, twice on naps and four times in the morning. I hope I can watch her wake up at least 29,200 more times and count them all and have them all be more or less like that and more or less like they've always been, feeling her smooth skin and the sunlight coming in through the window of the apartment over the restaurant where she worked, dust motes twirling in the sky, the sheets soft and smelling like sweat and us as they twist around our legs. The soft sounds of silverware and plates drifting up from below.

I wish I woke up like that. I usually, though, wake up more suddenly. Like this time. I woke up suddenly, to feel the rush of wind around me, hearing police sirens below, and feeling the wind get knocked out of me as the soul of the man that was clinging to me in the waterspout flopped onto me, all stinking and wet and shrieking louder even than the police sirens I could hear.

I couldn't breath as that guy flopped on me and kept trying to grab at me. All I could see was his wild eyes and all I could feel was his dead, stinking wet weight and all I could smell was his damned breath and fetid odor like rotten cottage cheese and almost all I could hear was his shrieking which would not stop. But on top of that I could hear Brigitte say "What is that?" but she didn't sound scared, she's so great. And I heard Doc make kind of an alarmed series of beeps. And I heard those sirens.

I was back. I struggled to get Mr. Damned Soul off of me and pushed at him. I saw Doc float down near me and hold up a tentacle, maybe to zap him, but Brigitte said "No, he's touching her, it'll hurt her, too," and Doc floated back, and then Brigitte reached down and I saw her face and her hands and she was grabbing at Mr. Damned Soul and pulled him off me. Together, we shoved him into the corner of this little cubicle we were in and then Doc did his zapping thing and the guy stopped and went down.

I looked around. No Ivanka, no horse. I felt my head. The hair was not pulled out. I did not feel acid-burned like I had a moment before. I was in a little sort of wooden box with slats and seats and could feel the wind rushing. There were the police sirens.

"You're awake," said Brigitte, cradling my head against her cheek.

"What happened?" I asked. I was trying to catch my breath and didn't want to. Mr. Damned Soul really stunk. I wondered if he was an actual corpse.

"You were just lying there and suddenly you opened your eyes and that guy appeared out of nowhere and flopped onto you."

"Where are we?"

"Daddy's dirigible. We got you loaded on it and took off. Rex wouldn't stop going crazy."

"What's the sirens?"

Brigitte pointed. I looked out one of the slats, which I realized served as windows on the gondola below the dirigible. There was a police dirigible, about a half-mile back.

"Rex called the police on us," Brigitte said.

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