So there I was last night, curled up in bed in a loose fetal position, surrounded by pillows, Ben wedged against the backs of my thighs, drifting slowly beyond the wall of sleep.

And then it happened.

On the other side of wall, music began.

Not popular music, not hip-hop or jazz or folk or rock. Nope. It was a simple, constantly repeated tune, catchy but without variation.

It was a video game theme. At two AM. Loudly.

“Ohdeargod,” I muttered into the pillow, remembering the last neighbor and his Super Mario whatsit at midnight. Was this going to be a recurring trend of my existence, like botflies?

The music continued. I couldn’t identify the game. Ben made an aggrieved noise and shoved his head into the back of my knee.

“What kind of degenerate plays video games at 2 AM?” I demanded, with all the righteous wrath of someone who was up until four a couple nights ago beating Rule of Rose.

The upstairs neighbors woke up–it was VERY loud music–and began discussing the matter. One of them got up and stomped to the bathroom.

The music stopped. I was just allowing my knotted shoulder muscles to slowly relax when it started up again, a slightly different tune, faster, darker, and with less variation. Boss fight, said my hindbrain. Nyerrrrggh… said my forebrain.

The upstairs neighbors decided that since they were up anyway, they might as well have sex.

“Earplugs…” I muttered. “I know I have earplugs. I bought earplugs when I was at Deb’s. Where did I put them?” I unwrapped myself from the pillows, blanket and irritable cat. This last proved difficult, and I was engaged in an awkward contortion when I felt the familiar twangle in my shoulder of something getting wrenched. Son of a bitch.

The boss fight ended badly. A moment later, the original music started up again. Went back to an earlier save point, said my hindbrain. Goddamnsonofabitchkillkillkill said my forebrain.

I dug under the sink, rubbing at my shoulder with one hand. No earplugs. Where the hell would I have put earplugs? I’m pretty well organized, but earplugs are one of those things that defy easy categorization. There is no earplug drawer. I exhausted the underside of the sink and began rummaging through the containers on my bookcase.

The upstairs neighbors finished off. The other one got up and went to the bathroom. Ben took advantage of my absence to ooze across two-thirds of the bed.

At last, I yanked open the last fabric box and found the earplugs. I wrenched the box open, lifted my head and realized…silence.

The music had stopped.

I waited.


3:04 read the alarm clock.

“Typical,” I muttered, and went back to bed, tossing the earplugs on the dresser. Ben endured my clumsy efforts to re-integrate myself in the bed, then decided that since I was up ANYWAY it’d be a great time for an early breakfast.

Such is life.

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