Rod still refuses to believe that what happened to him that day was his fault, even though his sleeping in class had hit epidemic proportions. The teachers often asked us to keep him awake, but because he played video games until the early hours of the morning, no amount of poking and prodding would keep his eyelids open.
One time he even fell asleep in P.E. We had been running laps, and leaned against the wall for only a two minute rest, and boom, he was asleep. As we took the next lap, there he stayed, leaning against the wall snoozing away.
He was usually quiet when he slept, but once in a while he would snore. When he did and everyone stared at him, we who sat by him were even more embarrassed. But when he was sound asleep and not making noise, it was much more interesting. We waited until everyone had their attention on the teacher, and then we would have a little fun at Rod’s expense.
Sometimes he would slide way down in his chair and rest his head on the desk behind him. It was at this point that we would see how many things we could stack on his forehead before he woke up. We got quite proficient at it, being able to stack up as many as six novels.
He also often liked to sleep with his mouth open. This gave us an opportunity to see how many pencils his mouth would hold. We didn’t want him to choke on them, so we would carefully lay them crosswise in his mouth. When his mouth was really wide open, we could usually get in a dozen or more. The problem was that when his mouth was that wide, he was more likely to snore, and we would attract unwanted attention to our endeavors.
We sometimes made small wagers for our desserts at lunch on who could get the most pencils in Rod’s mouth without him waking. Lenny ended up getting my desert for most of a week when he managed 15 pencils. He stacked them like a pyramid, and I claimed they weren’t really all inside Rod’s mouth, but Lenny insisted that if they were on the pile, they counted. I wouldn’t have given in, but I decided that it was worth it when Rod sneezed and sent pencils all over the room.
As we were discussing it before class one day, before Rod came in, Lenny came up with a new wager. He said he was sure he could get Rod to talk in his sleep.
We thought that would definitely be worth it, so I, along with three others, wagered our desserts for a week, but with the stipulation that it had to be real talking and not just mumbling. Lenny wanted to get started right away, so he slipped off to the home-ec room and came back with a bowl of cold water. Rod was there by the time Lenny returned, and asked about the water, but Lenny lied and said it was in case he got thirsty. Rod was no sooner asleep than Lenny was dipping Rod’s hand in the water, something he’d heard was a sure fire way to get someone to talk in their sleep. Rod shivered, but said nothing.
Over the next couple of weeks Lenny tried many other things, but nothing seemed to work. But he wasn’t about to give up. Lenny’s round shape gave evidence of his love for dessert, and he wasn’t about to relinquish his for a week times four. He read books about it, an unusual feat for Lenny, and he also asked for ideas from everyone he knew.
Finally, the day came that he hit pay dirt. He brought a feather to class, and as soon as Rod was asleep, he stroked it gently back and forth across Rod’s neck as he whispered. “Oh, Rod, you are so manly.”
Rod giggled and spoke distinctively. “Oh, Tasha, you’re such a fox.”
Instantly the whole class went silent, even the teacher, and all turned to stare at Rod and Lenny. Tasha, who looked like she would die of embarrassment, especially became aware of what was happening. Lenny continued, and in the otherwise absolute silence of the class, Rod spoke amply, even telling Tasha how he had wanted to ask her out for a long time. It was really getting good when Tasha got up and stormed back to where we were.
And still to this day, Rod doesn’t believe us when we tell him it was his fault that Tasha hit him across the face with her history book while he was sound asleep.
(Daris Howard, award-winning, syndicated columnist, playwright, and author, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit his website at http://www.darishoward.com)