To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what I think of our narrator. Is he the good guy? The bad? If I met him on the street would I cross to the other side just to avoid him?
Well, one thing I am certain of: I find him rather amusing.
When one considers the plethora of ways one might take the exit ramp from Sleep Highway in order to arrive upon Awake Avenue, getting punched in the face must surely be listed among the least pleasant. Top ten, without question. I dare say I would place it in my top five.
Now I will be the first to admit that there are several factors to be considered in this scenario. The first that comes to mind, and I should think the most important one, is how deserving the sleeper is of this nocturnal assault. If, for instance, Sleeping Beauty is instead a Sleeping Beast, one who has raped, abused a child or two, murdered an innocent or three, or is a spreader of hateful, racist beliefs, I must say he shall garner no sympathy from me.
In fact I would actively hope that the initial fist was merely the beginning of a prolonged, very thorough beating.
On the other hand, if our theoretical victim is merely mean-spirited, a bit of a jerk, too loud whilst in quiet settings, talks on his cell phone in all manner of confined public places, tailgates needlessly, or is prone to bouts of sexism, perhaps a punch is a bit too far. I reckon more of a solid slap would be called for.
Though I shall hasten to add that in the case of the sexist, the force of the blow should be quite dependent on the depths of the behavior. If a man watches a pretty lady long enough to make her uncomfortable, makes inappropriate comments to his fellow misogynists without braying them for the entire world to hear, or has cheated on every single female he has ever dated, then I would suggest a lighter (but still firm!) slap would be appropriate.
However if a man denies a woman a promotion at work because she refuses to satisfy his sexual "needs", divorces his wife for not being able to provide him with a male heir, or is directly responsible for a woman's descent into anorexia, bulimia, or any sort of self-harm really, then by all means, go to town! Knock some of that bastard's teeth out, at minimum. Indeed, a solid strike to the genitals would not be out of place. Hell, make use of some sharp, pointy objects and get stabby with it!
Though I suppose we'd then be straying from our punching motif...
Another thought to keep in mind when thinking about this sleep disruptor is the person at the other end of the fist. The puncher, let us call him or her, rather than the punchee. Just how strong is this character? Is it a young child, not fully cognizant of what they're doing, or a roided up gym junkie? And how much anger and hatred is behind the blow? The added impact brought about by unbridled rage can be quite impressive.
But enough of this what if, maybe this, maybe that, speculative nonsense. Let us discuss a real, actual case: my own.
Did I deserve it? I think it is safe to say my attacker was absolutely convinced that I did. I am of the opinion, however, that he was tragically misinformed, if not maliciously mislead. I will get to who, precisely, I think did that misleading a little farther down this twisting, treacherous road that has been my life. Let me begin instead with a few additional notes about the man whose hairy knuckles were responsible for my fifth broken nose.
Edwin Wagner was not much more than a hired goon who was never likely to rise above his station. He had just enough wits to be dangerous, both to others and himself. He left high school without bothering to graduate (much to the relief of both his teachers and fellow students) and he was intimately familiar with the interiors of every police station within a two hundred mile radius of his rat-infested apartment. Yet he served precisely zero days behind bars.
I believe I know who was responsible for that.
And yes, that same person is my top candidate for the position of Edwin's Misleader.
If you've been paying close attention, and I certainly hope you have, you'll have noticed that I speak of dear Edwin only in the past tense. I would be perfectly happy to speak of him in the present tense, only I don't particularly care to spend my time contemplating unmarked graves and rotting corpses.
What's that? Well of bloody course I killed him! What did you expect? That I'd allow a man who woke me in such a manner to just walk away after a polite request to pretty pretty please not do it again? Maybe with a nice little cherry on top?
Ah, I've seen that look before. Many, many times, I assure you. There's a curiosity in your eyes, a slight curl of your trembling lips as you battle the temptation to inquire after myself. My background. My story.
Don't fret! You have nothing to fear from dear, sweet me. Unless, of course, you choose to wake me as Edwin did. Then all bets are off.
All will be revealed, I promise you. I have, as they say, a gift with words, and I do so love sharing my tales with such captive audiences. In due time you will come to know me. I expect that some of you might even come to admire and respect me. Appreciate what I do, possibly.
That would be nice. There are some nights that I grow truly weary of labouring in anonymity. A little recognition would surely do me a world of good.
But for now let us focus on the events which occurred in the early hours of Sunday, September the 18th, in the rather forgettable (in my terribly humble opinion) year of 2012.
No, pardon me. I am rushing ahead already! I am more eager than I realized. It would make far more sense, I think you'll agree, to commence with the goings-on of the day before. A miserable, rainy, grey Saturday, filled with poor choices and regrets.
So there shall I begin.