To suggest it was anything else would be a simple untruth. I cannot fly. I do not swim with jellyfish clouds in a velvet sky. I sit in diners and drink under-brewed coffee and sometimes chat with the server who calls me “Honey.”

And I don’t know if it is a term of endearment or a reference to the fact that I like to pour honey into my under-brewed joe while the deep hums of fluorescence linger in the air above me in the space just below the jellyfish clouds which now appear as dancing silhouettes against an orange sky.

It’s nearing sunset, I suppose.

And the nearer to sleep that I am. 

I can sit here in the diner and sip my coffee while the honey coagulates at the bottom of the ceramic mug. The mug features a base coating of eggshell white and has a squared print at its center that is the color of a deep, soothing blue. Etched into the soothing blue square are the words, “OPEN 24 HOURS.” It’s not the best for mixing—the honey—but it helps my allergies, and the last few sips at the bottom are a symphony of sweet.

And so long as I am here and not in bed. 

The diner is almost hexagonal. The bar sits at the diner’s center, surrounded by booths placed adjacent to giant, reaching windows that extend from the floor and break concavely at the top of the wall: continuing a quarter of the way up the ceiling. 

This is not practical.

Next to the expansive windows, the diners sitting in the booths appear Lilliputian. And as the sun sets further below the horizon, the outside disappears, and the tiny diners in the booths begin to manifest as giant specters reflected in the glass. I can’t work out the physics of it.

I am not asleep, just as I am not awake.

So I grab a napkin and ask the server for a pen. She’s paid to be accommodating, but I think she likes me just the same.

“Sure, Honey.”

And I use the pen to determine the slant of the light hitting the mirrors, and I begin to think about the small diners and their large, reflected selves. And that their images are hitting against the windows like a bouncing rubber ball boings from the tile in the far-left corner and returns to the hand of a young child. With each bounce of the ball, I see the diner’s lights glow in his eyes, fading in and out as the ball goes up and down. Earlier, he had stood at the toy dispenser, begging his grandmother for a quarter. 

Do they look at their larger, mirrored selves and wonder the same as I? 

A woman and her husband rise from their booth and walk toward the register at the bar. I watch their twin images in the window and see that they are not moving— but becoming smaller—shrinking and fading into distance. I turn my head back to my mug, look over my shoulder and see them standing at the register, but the server does not see them. She does not see them because they are as small as ants and how ridiculous would it be if she could see ants from where she stood behind the register?

The little boy loses grip of his bouncing ball, and the ball boings its way toward the register. I watch in fear as the ant-sized husband and wife stand in harm’s way. The ball is an ombre of orange and red and spins on its axis like a planet in orbit before plunging back to the stained tile. The ball speeds closer to the myrmetic couple, and I cover my eyes in anxious anticipation of something terrible. 

When my eyes open, the boy is kneeling, thanking the husband who holds the ball over his head as if he were Atlas himself. The server comes from around the counter and bends to the couple. The husband manifests a twenty-dollar bill that is twice his size and holds it up to her. She grabs the bill, and its relative size appears to dwarf her as well, as its giant silhouette covers her face while she holds it to the light to ensure its legitimacy. The face of Andrew Jackson looms above her. 

Above me. 

Then the face falters from her hand down to the register, tucked away tightly next to other Jackson’s, but also across and adjacent to the myriad faces of Misters Washington, Lincoln, Hamilton, Grant, and Franklin. Perhaps the face of Jefferson lurks in there as well. Yet even from that grave, they loom larger than us. Their countenances of cotton and linen.

The server rings the register and sends the couple on their way. They walk toward the exit, and in the reflected view of the two glass doors, they continue to grow until they become giants that are split in half. They vanish into night as the doors return to a close.

I rub my eyes. 

The server closes the register while her eyes watch me: “You look tired, Honey.”

“I am.”

“Why don’t you think about getting some sleep?”

“I’m always thinking about sleep.”


“I think that I don’t want to.”

She comes by with the pot of freshly under-brewed coffee. 

“Thanks,” I say.

As she pours the coffee into my eggshell mug with soothing blue print and “OPEN 24 HOURS,” I notice a puddle of honey stuck at the bottom. The glistening bit of sweet amber guzzles the black liquid and begins to grow into the mug as the coffee disappears behind its golden wall. 

No bitter, just sweet—like a dream. Like a dream that isn’t worth questioning. I don’t want to sleep. I want to dream.

So I will stay here, and I will think about sleep without want for it. And I will think about how sleep implies awake and how awake implies sleep just like night implies day and day implies night. And I think if I do not want night, then I do not want day; and if I do not want sleep, then I do not want awake. 

And I think a dream without wake or sleep is one that lasts forever.

Chase Correll

Chase likes to write about the dissociative and alienating effects of life under capitalism. This theme often manifests in a dream-like form or state. If there’s a word in his writing that you don’t understand, he probably made it up. His partner, Alyssa, is always his first reader.
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