February, 2000

The wave of acid washed over him, bringing with it the same nagging sensation both physical and mental. The dull pain of heartburn and the strain of trying to recall...2...2...12?  The very numbers seemed to have some mystical, other-worldly significance to him, somehow. What did they mean? Where had he seen them before? He tossed and turned, sweating and gnashing his teeth, whimpering softly to himself as he struggled to grasp the meaning of those numbers, which lurked and hovered tantalizingly
just...beyond....his....grasp. He belched, loudly, and awoke with a start--which was odd, because he hadn't gone to sleep with a start. How had a start gotten into his bed? He was frightened...

He sat up, burping acid, and groped around on his night table. His hand touched something moist. What the hell was this? He snapped on the bedside lamp. There was a half-eaten bowl of cereal, some chicken wings, a few Snickers bars, a bowl of raisins, a bag of Hershey's Kisses, a plate of ribs and a bowl of popcorn. Did someone break in and have a picnic while he was sleeping? Where were his cigarettes? Opening  the drawer of the night table, he discovered a neatly arranged  assortment of cold cuts, hard candies, cashews, chewing gum, deviled eggs and pastries. What the hell was going on?

 He felt the pocket of his pajamas--yes! His Marlboros! No! A tin box full of... Altoids?  Whaaaaat? He rolled over--which seemed to take a long time and considerable effort. This was partly due to the melted cheese which caused the sleeves of his pajamas to stick to the pillow case. Something was pushing against his gravy-stained pajama shirt, and he reached to remove it, only to realize it was his own distended belly! He seemed oddly cramped and confined in the bed, as though something were pressing him against the mattress. He sat up, and reached around behind himself, where he dislodged a 2 liter bottle of Yoo Hoo, a pizza box and, using both hands, now.... "Oh, God! Is that...no...it can't be....IS THAT MY ASS!?!" He shrieked and scrambled from the bed as fast as his newfound bulk would allow. It wasn't very fast, and it sure as hell wasn't very pretty...

Now it came back to him, as he stood, surveying the empty carry out containers, candy wrappers and soda bottles that lay in drifted heaps around the room. He weakly grasped the bedpost for support. He hadn't smoked for a while now. He'd given it up. He didn't smoke cigarettes because they were bad, very bad for him. He... he ate, instead. He ate and ate and ate. It'd been a very confusing night, his rational thought processes lost in a high caloric fog, and his inhibitions submerged beneath a tide of cholesterol.
"Oh, Jesus...no more steak tartare just before bed," he vowed to himself. Then he remembered the homemade fudge he'd stashed under the mattress, for emergencies....

(Twilight Zone theme music up...and fade...)

"Submitted for your approval: A shaken man, who has changed his ways. Jef. Hyde, ex-smoker,cramming anything he can get his hands on into his mouth in an attempt to remain smoke-free. A man who awoke from a disturbing dream, with a start--- only to find he was in the middle of a quit, in the Twilight Zone......"

(Jef. quit smoking 2 months, 2 weeks, 12 hours ago.)

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