CAL: Five hours of sleep.
CAL: Three hours of sleep.
[A cool cat swiffs itself across the linoleum, wiping it clean but leaving a trail of black hairs]
CAL: An hour of sleep.
HERA: I’m changing my major. From philosophy to social justice.
CAL: Social justice is a major?
HERA: What I mean is, I’m dropping out of college to become an activist.
HERA: Because reading Henry James all day isn’t helping address income inequality in this country.
CAL: Neither is writing angry blogposts about income inequality. Or standing on the streetcorner arguing with Republicans about income inequality.
HERA: It’s better than nothing. And also you are cynical. Political change in America is possible. People change their minds.
CAL: No they don’t.
HERA: Be serious.
CAL: I am being serious!
HERA: Well, I have to finish cooking and then I need to do some online banking.
CAL: Can I help?
CAL: OK. Let me know if you need help.
HERA: I will.
CAL: Thanks. OK.
HERA: All right.
CAL: See you soon?
HERA: [Does not answer. Performs several online banking tasks. Cooks an arpeggio of salad. Fantasizes about a field mouse turning on a hot spit. Fantasizes about being Cal’s waitress at a fancy restaurant she also owns and is the head chef for. She hands him the menu, her hair in adorable sweaty strands adorning her face. Cal looks down at the menu and reads, half to himself, “Roasted Field Mouse.” Their eyes meet. This is love. This is scintillation. This is mutual attraction. This is Vermont in the 1980s.]
CAL: [Approaches a donut. Purchases it. Eats it in half-furtive bites from his open jacket pocket. Looks down to see he has paws. Big blue CGI family-friendly bear-paws. He has had five hours of sleep. He is perennially, perpetually “on deadline.” He will tell people he’s “on deadline” even if by that he means he needs to go to the pharmacy by this evening or else he’ll be unable to pick up his prescription without re-ordering it.]
[Cal once helped name a craft beer. It’s called PawPrint Blue Stout. He often orders it when he drinks at the Lathe.]
LATER THAT NIGHT, AT THE LATHE
CAL: [His voice thick with the foamy syrup of a fresh PawPrint Blue Stout]: I got five hours of sleep last night.