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The first time it happened, I was in complete and defensive denial.  The second time, I still claimed innocence but now had recurring, vague recollections of the incident.  The third time, I realized that I was able to claim some control over my actions, but I nevertheless remained in a vague trancelike state of existence during these nightly activities.  After the fourth time, I read up on the medication and discovered that the drug had been used as a truth serum by the Soviets, back in the day.  And I can see that, I really can; I could play Truth or Dare all night on this stuff.  But I became quite proficient with the sleepwalking part, except for that suspected incident with the two Mormons upstairs.  As far as my participation in that fuzzy drama, I would like to claim full and total amnesia. I would like to.

The sagging, empty Doritos bag, carelessly flung on the kitchen counter was the first clue to my nocturnal conductions.  The bag had been full when I went to bed.  Well, at least when I went to bed the first time.  When I was asked about the bag, I flatly denied eating any of its contents.  Still, I felt a twinge of something in my memory.  Doritos are awfully good with picante sauce.  And what was that under my fingernails?  Picante sauce, or somebody else’s DNA?

There are warnings about side effects of medications, but who reads those except attorneys?  When the list of possible side effects is unfolded from the package, it resembles a scroll.  Who has time to read everything a manufacturer’s legal team has put together to cover their respective asses?

Here are my warnings about sleeping pills, much more concise and far easier to read:

Stay away from phones.  Do not text. This is easy to check on the next day.  If your bedtime is normally 7:00 p.m., anything done after that time is suspect.

Stay away from the computer.  Frivolous online spending, angry emails to relatives, ambitious airline reservations, and/or things that are just plain wrong have been reported.

Did you know that if you search the personal ads on Craigslist, the next time that Craigslist is pulled up, your activities will be highlighted?  Why?

In general, do not search for things on the Internet that in a lucid state, would stun you into silence.  There is a pull-down tab that can enumerate your sins like a trip to visit the priest in his confessional, only you won’t receive any absolution, only long, drawn-out penance without end.

Waking up only to find yourself outside, peering down into the slippery void of the trash chute, is very unsettling.  Just so you know.

Don’t let the dogs talk you into giving them people food.  You could empty out the refrigerator, the freezer, the pantry, and the cookie jar; they would still never be satisfied.  Like horses, they would gorge themselves until their toenails/hooves turn up and they become permanently crippled and sick.  And your carpet and also your walls will have alarming stains.  So don’t listen to them. They will promise you anything to get what they want.

Clothes stay on.  There is no reason to take them off.

Stay indoors.  This solves some problems.  Unless you live in a condo.  More about that later.

Leave LinkedIn alone, leave your personal website alone, don’t write anything and for sure don’t click “Publish Now.”

I am an old hippie; my body processes these pills and says, “No problem,” or as the Hawaiians say, “No worries!”  My body thinks oh boy, party time!  I can walk, I can talk, and seem almost normal.  I can remember to stop and check to make sure I am presentable after using the bathroom/restroom.  I acquired that kind of experience and concentration in the 60s and 70s.

No.  If you take sleeping pills, go to bed and stay there.  Just remember to examine your feet in the morning to see if you may have indeed gone on a walkabout.

If I could only erase that partial memory of going upstairs in my pajamas and knocking on the Mormons’ door.  Why do they laugh hysterically whenever they see me?  Did I go into their kitchen and eat their Doritos?

What was that under my fingernails?



Sally Stratso (USA)

Sally Stratso is a character actress, standup comedienne, and writer. Her work has appeared in Grit Magazine, Equus Magazine, Indie Slate, and Lemons Publications. She used to live in Honolulu, Hawai'i and has now relocated to Corpus Christi, Texas.

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