My alarm’s ringing, and it’s dark outside.

I couldn’t be this drunk, could I? I pull my blankets in close and bang on my alarm. Damn, it’s fragmented now. My head sinks into the pillow. There goes another forty dollars into the perpetual drain.

Bruno’s running around the house. I shout at him to keep quiet, and he’s still running. A dog does not listen to you.

“Hmmm,” I stir. “Bruno, shut up.”

He’s barking substantially. Almost like coughing. There goes another forty dollars for the vet. That’s eighty in total.

“Bruno, are you sick?”

“Bow-wow. Cough cough.”

“Okay, you are.”

I’m calling in sick today. I don’t really care if Megan takes my case. I hate my job anyway, and me getting fired may give me time to consider better jobs rather than sitting, crunching numbers on sugar packets.

“Bruno… hmm… eat your breakfast, boy.”

He’s quiet. Breakfast numbs his throat, especially when it’s his favorite food.

I’m still in bed. I’m feeling too good to let the feeling of ultimate enlightenment of deep sleep pass.

Oh, man. Bruno’s licking me all over. I can’t open my eyes, I’m too somnolent to perform that kind of feat.

Bruno’s licking me over and over. My face is wet with puppy saliva.

As I finally jolt to life from languid death but am yet to open my eyes, it strikes me.

I don’t like to sleep in late.
I don’t have an alarm clock.
I didn’t get drunk yesterday.
I don’t crunch numbers on sugar packets for a job.
And I don’t have a dog.

My eyes open with a jolt. My face is still wet, and I can hear barking and coughing, and a little, cold whisper.
My alarm’s ringing, and it’s dark outside.


About The Author


Neha Varadharajan lives in Pune, India. Her work has appeared in The Secret Stories and Sweek Microfiction journal. In 2019, her story “Happy Ending” was shortlisted for the Sweek Microfiction Prize.

A two-time winner of a journalism award from the Times of India, she aspires to be the next JK Rowling someday.

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