An essay by Macy Jones, as provided by Jacqueline Bridges
Art provided by Scarlett O’Hairdye
No one dies in their sleep anymore. It seems we gave it up, along with pesticides and artificial sugars. Sleep is now a four-letter-word, even though it’s five. Do you ever ask yourself, how’d we get here? Not when did sleep become something we could trade or store up, but when did we start paying for it? If I had to guess, I’d say it was around the time we started paying for water.
Now we trade currency for sleep, and sleep is getting expensive, really expensive. Government employees know that best. For years, they’ve received a cost of sleep raise as part of their benefits package, banking one hour for every year of service; however, with rising health care costs, that only equates to 20 minutes. Hardly a raise at all. The sleep market is spiraling out of control, and someone’s making a killing. Literally. Gone are the days of wasting away in an old folks’ home. We’ve relegated our final years to sleep pods, and it bothers no one, except for my grandpa. People like him, forever old, achy, and still kicking, refuse to pay for something they can get for free. For everyone else, we induce comas as they pass from one world to the next.
My grandpa is always going on about how the world has changed, how he doesn’t recognize it. He’s not dying, but he’s not the epitome of health, so I don’t argue much. Besides, he knows what I do for a living.
I’m a sleep dealer. And I have a secret.
To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Summer 2016 collection.
Macy works as a sleep dealer for an undisclosed sleep bank. She sleeps sixteen hours a day. When she’s not working (i.e., sleeping), you can usually find her running. Next month, Macy will compete in her sixteenth marathon.
Jacqueline Bridges works as a guidance counselor to junior high students, where she puts her Masters degree to work, and then some. She is new to flash fiction and reads it daily (even in the counseling office). Her students join her weekly for a writing club, where they impress her with stories about fairies, dragons, and golden retrievers. She has four publications to-date, with Touch Poetry, The Fable Online, 365 Tomorrows, and Short Fiction Break. She’s currently working on a young adult science-fiction novel, mostly void of fairies, dragons, and golden retrievers.
Scarlett O’Hairdye is a burlesque performer, producer and artist. To learn more, visit her site at www.scarlettohairdye.com.
“Stop Paying for Artificial Zzzzzzs, Dum-Dums” is © 2016 Jacqueline Bridges.
Art accompanying story is © 2016 Scarlett O’Hairdye.