My morning was like any other morning. I was awakened by a coughing fit well before dawn, while the smog still smothered the city. I gradually worked my way to the bathroom, my fourth floor apartment silent except for the buzzing of the cheap fluorescent bulb in my bathroom. The plaster was peeling from my ceiling, and the blinds were dusty with disuse. As I brushed my teeth, I turned my television to the news. As my screen crackled to life, a cheery forecaster predicted mid 60's, with a possible chance of sunshine in the late afternoon, so he recommended I be sure to wear my UV Sunblock 200. I grunted my agreement, then leaned back over my sink to spit.
As I put my pants on, I changed the channel to business news. Soybean prices had risen, while beef prices had fallen again. The Yen was again wavering past the dollar, and IBM had taken a nose-dive to 120 points.
As I buttoned my shirt, I flicked the television off, and booted up Marty, my computer.
My screen slowly resolved to show a sphere, which in turn turned around, as if it was the back of a head, to show Marty's smiling face.
"Hi, Marty," I said, as I plopped into my office chair in front of him. "Got any messages for me today?"
"Oh, yes," he said in his excited way, "Four messages, for a total of 5 minutes, 34 seconds of playing time. Would you like me to play them for you?"
A window slowly zoomed closer from the upper left corner of the screen, to show Sheryl, my girlfriend, bent toward the monitor, waving her finger slowly in and out of my view of her. "Hey Mike, hi ... uhmmm ... you didn't like, return my calls, and I am like wondering are you dead or what, and I am just curious, you know, so like gimme a call, okay? Bye."
The next message showed Sheryl leaning on one elbow toward the monitor and saying in a singsong voice "Mike, Mike ... Wwheerrreee aaarrreee yyyyooouuu???? Wwwwhhhheerreee aaaaarr -"
"Skip it." I said, as I got up to zap some water in the microwave for coffee.
The next message began with a computerized person saying, "Tuberculosis got you down? Tired of waiting for the next antibiotic to get stronger, just to have it fail too? Why not try the better way, with Micro Pore. Yes, Micro Pore, the cheap, easy, effective way to -"
The last message began playing just as my microwave beeped. It was my boss warning me about the Heller file having to be in on time, and how important it was to The Weekly Tribune, and where was I at 1: 00 a.m?
I dumped in the instant coffee, and slowly drank my breakfast as I sat down on the sofa, facing eastward, looking out my window at the first streaks of sunshine as they hit the city.
I swiveled my head toward Marty, my post-sleep feeling still with me.
"A little music, perhaps, sir?"
I smiled and said "Canon," then turned back to watch day reclaim my city of sound and light. ^
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.