WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?
Vera had been ok with looking at people from a certain range and she had thought that considerable enough, but as she knew humans by nature craved attention she could never have been expected to enjoy the silence when she was so close to a walking advertisement. She did not speak a word at all, in fact, and as she was a petty adult she hogged her own considerations to herself, as she had always done when she could not bring herself to care for the person or the topic in question. If she had been a child she would beyond a shadow of a doubt have been very charmed, practically bouncing up and down, at being chosen for whatever it was the woman was talking about, but she was a bit too jaded now, and as she had always been wary of the deceitful appearances of people, she supposed she would always be dealing with some of the venomous snakes in the darkest pit called life. She grew up with plenty of them, dressed in every color and just as beautiful.
She understood that the preppy woman was not going to stop talking. She had missed every social cue under the sun, even the infamous nose twitch. Vera did not want to stay. The dark-haired associate was intolerably energetic and it seemed as though she had rehearsed this pitch for nearly every waking moment of her life and she wouldn’t let anyone in her vicinity go until her goals were met. Vera could be just as inflexible and found her voice so disagreeable that after she tried to walk away the woman followed her like she was the last soda pop in the desert. By now she had put on some shades which gave some the impression of her being there and listening, the nodding of the head quite convincing and pleasant. How terrible of her that she should find peace in sleep. All this and still standing, too.
“We do host bridal show alternatives wrapped up with an emotional vow renewal ceremony, plenty of food for everyone to enjoy, and a dance-party reception that’ll blow your mind. You’ll be swept away, too, if you would just give us a moment of your time. An hour or two could just be the magical start of forever!” the excitable brunette pleaded, surprised that no one seemed remotely interested in a test wedding until now. It was practically Valentine’s Day!
For a moment Vera looked thoughtful, and then her head began to drift to the left until it touched her shoulder. The posture alone, with just a look, would give anyone a stiff neck for days. She was nodding in her eyes. Vera muttered food and with a horrid gaping mouth, her head rolled back. It was a natural tilt but it still raised eyebrows. Was she at all there? Helen was the woman’s name, made the mistake of assuming her consent and cheerfully clapped for the small crowd. “Thank you for helping us put together our first trial wedding service. Your willingness to do whatever it takes to ensure our future success made it happen. By the way, we might have a complimentary cake for you to try. Without you, kids, we never would have gotten this far.”
Helen was starting to think Vera was not listening because she was not following her as the others had begun to. She was dreaming of the good dream, but in it, she was feeding carrots to a certain magical unicorn and rewarding him for passing strawberry-scented gas in the direction of that desperate girl from the chocolate factory. There were pastures of green and a very complacent horse with a horn coming out of its forehead. .She wrapped her arms around Chester’s neck, or at least tried to, and rubbed her cheek against his wild mane. Vera Jayne felt as if she were in heaven, tears of folly streaming down her roseate complexion. “I know you won’t ghost on us like that portable toilet dweller.” Vera cooed, the statement of her dream bubbles now hearable to the company she surrounded herself with.
“How sweet,” Helen stated briskly, uncomfortably watching the purple-haired woman’s public display of affection. “I just love it. Excuse me, ma’am, I think you’ve dropped your sunglasses.” but Vera clung to the person beside her like a leaf-nibbling koala and mindlessly stepped on the fallen object, the cracking sound loud enough to startle Walden out of her slumber. She was cuddled up with the victim of her platonic advances, and she came out of her sleep to the fact that the friendly beast of myth looked a little too much like Dela. She was a trifle surprised and gave an involuntary jump. She blushed. Hard. Everyone saw this, and as she knew of Blondie’s attraction toward Cillian she pulled away with more awareness and stepped on her shades once more. They were beyond repair. This was one way of getting Vera to talk, at any rate. She had spoken sparingly to the twins and Dela, but her wrath was reserved for Cillian. She hadn’t spoken to him at all since a monster named Krampus rolled into town teaching his naughty kids a lesson.
Perhaps she was privately confused by her obvious embarrassment for her foolishness. Then, cooperative in a manner that was very left field to be regarded as normal, Vera dismissed her loss and followed Helen into what looked like the banquet hall. “Your free samples should be here any minute. Feel free to provide feedback. Your suggestions are important to us. If you can’t remember my name, just say ‘Miss’ and I’ll turn around. The children will have a field day after they’ve had their slices, I bet. We’re the same people behind Rose Garden’s astounding Chocolate Factory.” If only Helen could stop talking, that would give Vera a reason not to give the world a major stink eye.
“Free samples?” inquired adventurous Vera and just as abruptly as she had begun to be willingly enticed for the cake she began to ponder what any of them did to deserve sweets.