'Ten Minutes Late for Reality' by Lou Morris (c) 1988, 1989, 1991, 2002, 2015. Twenty-four:


   "Corbin...?  Are you all right?"

                                 - Corbin's mother--slightly

   Lou woke up feeling that the world was a wonderful place,
like nothing could be wrong anywhere--like the feeling you
get after getting laid.
   He rolled over and gave the pillow next to him a big
kiss.  "Laurie?"  He sat up, looking about; "Laurie?"  She
wasn't there.
   Where is she? Lou thought as he got up out of bed.  He
slipped on a pair of white pants and a striped pink dress
shirt.  "Laurie?" he called again.  It wasn't a dream... was
it?  Aaaa!
   He yanked open the third drawer from the bottom of his
dresser--his sock drawer.  It was empty save for a pair of
pink wigwams.  What the hell happened to all my socks? Lou
asked himself.  "Whatever..." he mumbled, slipping on the
pair of pink socks.  "At least they match..."
   He flopped back into bed, totally depressed at the
moment.  It never occurred to him that Laurie, like most
ghosts, might not want to inhabit the daylight hours... Then
again, she just might have went shopping.
   What?  Lou woke up from his ten second long nap.  Who?
   He got up and looked out his bedroom window.  "I'll be
there in a second!" he called to the two Cassville policemen
standing at his front door.
   He quickly brushed his bird's nest head of curly hair,
found that to be utterly futile, and walked out of his room,
down the hall, and to the front door.  He opened it.
   "Err, hi," he mumbled, squinting at the both of them.
   "Yes," one of the cops said, "Are you the owner of a 1971
Buick Riviera?"  He bit into his powdered doughnut.
   Lou nodded rapidly.
   "Licence plate numbers... AGX-14M?" the other officer
asked, munching on a frosted cruller.
   Lou nodded again.
   "Gold with a brown door?" the first cop added, sipping
his coffee.
   "Did you find my car?" Lou asked excitedly.
   Both cops nodded.  "We found it on the side of the
Pennsylvania parkway--"
   "Is it okay?" Lou blurted.
   The second cop blanched.  "Well, it's whole.  Covered
with dents, though."
   "Great!  Then it's okay!"
   "It ran out of gas.  The thief just left it were it
   Lou smiled.  His car was fine!  My car!  My Rivvie!  
"Where is it?" he asked.
   "The tow truck will be here in a second," the first cop
   A second later, a flatbed tow truck backed up into Lou's
driveway with the Riviera sitting in the back.
   "My Rivvie!" Lou exclaimed.  He ran over to greet it.
   Like a dump truck, the rear section of the flatbed slowly
lifted up.
   "My car!  Oh, I love you!  I'm sorry I called you a piece
of junk!  I'll wax you and wash every spot of paint; I'll
even wax the chrome--twice!  I'll fix your seats!  I'll--"
   "Okay...  Lower it down," the greasy driver said to his
greasy assistant.
   The dirty assistant flipped a big lever near the end of
the truck.  The Rivvie slowly rolled down the truck bed.
   "Don't hurt it!  Don't hurt my baby!" Lou pleaded.
   That was Lou's digital watch, chiming the hour--noon.
   That was reality saying "bye-bye."
   That was a small earthquake opening a rift beneath the
lowering Riviera.
   That was the chain, holding the Rivvie up, breaking.
   That was Lou screaming.
   That was the Rivvie rolling down the bed and into the big
hole in the ground, disappearing into the earth.
   That was Lou screaming again.
   That was the ground closing up again, leaving no trace of
the Riviera left to be seen.
   That was Lou screaming, yet again, and fainting to the
ground, hitting his head rather hard on the paved driveway.

   It wasn't his day at all.
   And, as if to reinforce that fact, a plastic Mickey Moose
children's guitar fell from the sky and struck Lou in the
head, furthering his concussion.