I threw the covers off my sweaty body in a fit of discomfort, but I still felt a warm tickle along my skin. It was clear to me now that I wouldn’t sleep tonight.
With care not to wake my girlfriend, I crawled out of bed and grabbed my cigarettes from the nightstand. I cringed at the sound of the door to our room squeaking open. But the gentle breaths of my love assured me that I had not woken her.
I stepped out onto the back porch and flicked my lighter. I got a taste of butane with my first puff, but it went to the back of my mind as a wave of endorphins suffocated my thoughts.
I sat for a moment, enjoying the simple pleasures of a calm night. But was interrupted by the clanging of our garbage cans to the side of the house.
Curiosity got the better of me, and I stamped out my ashes to investigate. My socks were soaked as soon as they glided through the dew touched grass. Each step became slightly more burdensome and muddy.
Rounding the corner, my eyes darted around the trash cans. Wondering what had caused such a racket. But nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
“Hey you!” A high pitch voice squeaked. “Human! Over here!”
I had a hard time placing the source of the words until I looked down.
“Yeah you!” A small man about two inches tall, dressed in a bright yellow toga hailed me with a frantic wave. He had a rotten apple core in his hand like an oversized scepter. “Come closer so I don’t have to yell!”
I overcame my nerves and decided to do as he said. Kneeling with my ear hovering over his tiny body, I awaited his response.
“Good! Good!” The little man seemed pleased, and tossed the apple core over his shoulder. “My name is Grayson, and I’m on a quest! The Tomato Kingdom is sick and it is up to me to find a cure! And to do that I have journeyed to the world of the humans to ask for their help!”
I turned my head to see him smiling at me sheepishly. It took a few moments for me to realize that he was talking about me.
“Oh! Um- What is it you need help with?” I asked.
“My people are in trouble! No matter how hard they try, the people of the Tomato Kingdom can’t sleep on their own! Is there any medicine in the human world for this ailment?”
I laughed to myself. He sure picked the wrong guy to ask.
“Listen Grayson. If I knew the secret to a good night’s sleep, I’d be in my bed right now.”
The little man looked disappointed. He kicked a pebble along the ground and shrugged his shoulders. Grayson picked up the apple core once again and slung it over his shoulder.
“Oh well. I guess I’ll just have to make a few hundred trips for rotten fruit.”
His last statement sparked my curiosity.
“Wait, you need food now?”
“Yeah. We discovered that a cure for insomnia is to eat to the point of bliss. Not that a dumb human like yourself would understand, but- Consuming that much food triggers a serotonin release in our brains. Only problem is that there isn’t that much food left in our reserves. We’re all going to starve unless we can start getting to sleep without eating more food than we can manage. That’s why I was hoping you humans had a drug to help us out.”
I snapped my fingers in a moment of clarity. Of course! I always fell soundly asleep after an afternoon at an all-you-can-eat buffet! Beaming down at the little guy, I scooped him in a cupped hand. He seemed uneasy with being carried.
“I’ll do you one better! We’re going to the Walmart down the road! It’s going to blow your mind. Seriously.”
Grayson seemed confused, but excited at my burst of optimism. He pumped his fist in the air.
“TO WALMART!!” He cried triumphantly.
It crossed my mind as I skipped to the store in my pajamas with a two inch tall man in my palm that I might be dreaming. But I didn’t mind. Either way I would wake up tomorrow morning well rested.