At 11:33, shaking and exhausted, he finally went to bed. His habit was to end the day no later than 9:00. All right. 9:15 if a particularly good book had his attention. 9:30 at the very latest. But this evening a veritable parade of distractions kept him up long past a decent hour. Stopped-up toilet begging to be plunged. Phone call from sister. Neighbor and neighbor’s wife carrying on a drunken argument on their front lawn. Forget 9:15. Forget 9:30. 10:00 came and went, then 11:00. 11:10. 11:20. Only at 11:27 was he able to brush his teeth, drag on pajamas and collapse into bed.
Find a comfortable position under the blanket.
Reach out with one hand and snap off the lamp on the night table.
The clock by the lamp wearily blinked an unhappy message.
11:32. . .
11:33 saw the onset of unconsciousness. 2 hours and 33 minutes late. Blame the toilet. Blame the sister and the neighbors. 2 hours and 33 minutes behind schedule. Was there anything he hated more than being behind schedule?
Little comfort that a cool and dim-lit day would dawn when he could catch up on this lost bit of sleep, forever.