The Taste of Tuesday
For as long as anyone could remember, Davis had suffered from an
abnormally severe case of sleepwalking. With clockwork regularity
he’d rise from bed about a half-hour after lying down, and
then off he’d go.
What separated Davis from other sleepwalkers was how productive
he tended to be. Rather than just mindlessly wandering, he often
took up chores like sleep vacuuming, or sleep wall-painting, or
sleep furniture-rearranging, all of which made it hard for him to
keep a roommate. At first they enjoyed the spotless floors and they
oohed and aahed at the way the walls turned from cream to yellow
to midnight blue as if by magic. And there was certainly something
to be said for the surprise of coming downstairs to discover the
couch was now by the window and the table was near the lamp. For
a while it seemed like Christmas every day. But eventually the sound
of Santa doing his manual labor at night wore thin. The vacuuming
at three a.m., or furniture grinding across the floor at four, it
just got to be too much. Sorry, they’d all say, you’re
a nice guy, but they needed their rest, and so off they’d
Davis felt worse each time his affliction drove another roommate
away. And yet each time he had little choice but to go out and find
a new one. As productive as Davis tended to be in his sleep, he
was less so when he was awake. For several years he’d worked
doggedly as a cashier at the grocery store where, despite his best
efforts, he simply couldn’t seem to move fast enough to earn
a coveted promotion to the express line. In truth, his own line
was one of the slowest, and shoppers in the know would avoid it,
even if it was shorter. Occasionally the manager threatened to send
him back to stocking shelves, but somehow he always did just enough
to hang on. Still, the express line and the raise that would come
with it continued to elude him, so to make ends meet Davis was forced
to keep taking on roommate after roommate. And just when it seemed
this parade of faces might never end, Davis discovered Roy.
Roy had a bit of a sleepy look to begin with, but when Davis warned
him about his nighttime activities Roy just shrugged and said, won’t
And at first he was exactly right. Not only did Roy not mention
the sleep vacuuming or sleep furniture-rearranging, he never seemed
to notice the changes. Wherever the couch ended up, he’d simply
take a bowl of cereal and have a seat, as if it had been there all
But as with everyone else, the time came when Roy could not ignore
Davis’ nighttime handiwork. Davis began adding sleep building
to his unconscious agenda, making birdhouses, cabinets, and even
a set of nifty TV trays. The quality of these items was never in
question, but a large part of sleep building centered around sleep
hammering, and that proved too much for even Roy.
But rather than apologize, give up, and move on, Roy did something
ingenious, something none of the others had even thought to do.
He’d grown up around dogs and he knew that when the dogs were
driving you crazy, the best thing to do was just let them out. So
one night when the sound was too much for him, Roy groggily went
downstairs and opened the front door, and sure enough Davis dropped
his hammer and mindlessly wandered right out. Roy happily went back
It worked so well, Roy decided to make the practice standard. He
simply left the front door wide open each night as he went to bed,
and Davis would rise shortly thereafter and walk right out. No more
sleep vacuuming, no more sleep hammering, just the brief patter
of Davis’ feet clomping down the stairs, and then silence
as he disappeared into the night.
But even with the whole city to roam, Davis still seemed unsatisfied
with simply walking in his sleep. So one night, two blocks over
and three houses down, he wandered into an unlocked tool shed, stumbled
upon a set of clubs, and sleep golfing was born.
He’d cross the street to the local course and sleepwalk his
way through eighteen and occasionally thirty-six holes of driving,
chipping, and putting, then return the clubs and head home. All
seemed right with the world.
Mr. Watson, however, found himself troubled by the strange sensation
that his clubs were never exactly where he remembered them being
the day before. A retired detective with a naturally suspicious
eye, he had a habit of turning casual oddities into full-blown cases,
which he then named in order to keep track. There was ‘The
Case of Who Took My Goddamn Car Keys’, or the ‘The Case
of Who Left The Remote In The Refrigerator’, and so on. In
this, which he dubbed ‘The Case of Who Keeps Slightly Moving
My Golf Clubs In An Effort To Drive Me Mad,’ he suspected
his wife, who sometimes played tricks in quiet retaliation for all
the football he insisted on watching. But after grilling her extensively,
he conceded that she was in fact innocent. He decided a stakeout
was in order and made himself three jelly sandwiches and trained
his eyes on the shed.
It was about eleven-thirty when Davis came marching into the backyard
and put the golf bag over his shoulder. Gotcha, said Mr. Watson,
pumping his fist at the idea of another case closed. But rather
than tackle his suspect, or call the police, Mr. Watson sensed another
mystery worthy of investigation, one he titled, ‘The Case
of Why Some Guy Steals My Clubs Every Night And Then Just Puts Them
Away.’ He dropped his jelly sandwich and quietly trailed after
When Davis simply walked to the golf course across the street and
set up shop on the first tee, Mr. Watson was disappointed. Using
golf clubs to play golf wasn’t very mysterious at all. Unsatisfied
and suddenly tired, he was about to yell something like Halt! or
The Jig Is Up!, when Davis hit his shot.
Mr. Watson stopped cold.
In addition to being big on mysteries and football, Mr. Watson
had seen more than enough golf to recognize a good swing when he
saw one. Amazing, he said, as the ball sailed perfectly down the
middle of the fairway and rolled gently toward the moonlit green.
Davis picked up the bag and marched silently after his ball, and
instead of calling out, Mr. Watson quietly followed and witnessed
the best round of golf he’d ever seen with his own two eyes.
As long as the apartment was nice and quiet, it never occurred
to Roy to wonder where Davis went or what he did. Then Mr. Watson
showed up and excitedly explained that Davis had been borrowing
his clubs to play golf every night, and not only that, he was incredibly
Is that so, Roy asked while eating a bowl of cereal. That’s
interesting, he mumbled with a disinterested tone. He closed the
door, then took a seat on the couch, which had stayed by the window
for some time now, and began to think.
It was a few mornings later, as Davis was ironing his apron for
work, that Roy sleepily came in and handed him a small stack of
Here’s your cut.
Your cut of the winnings.
You’ve been golfing in your sleep. Some guy from the neighborhood
and a few of his pals have been following you. I started taking
bets. This is half of what I made.
Sleep golfing? Really?
But I don’t know anything about golf.
But it’s not keeping you up at night?
Doesn’t bother me at all.
Well, okay then.
For the rest of the day as Davis tried and failed to quickly scan
his customer’s items, he found himself thinking about golf.
On his way home he stopped by a driving range and got a bucket of
balls and a club. He was anxious to see this new talent for himself.
But for twenty minutes all he did was miss balls, hit them into
the ground, to the right, the left, even letting go of the club
a few times. It was never straight, it was never long, and after
an errant shot dented the nearby water fountain, the manager asked
him to leave. Davis was thoroughly confused.
Soon the small crowd got tired of simply betting on whether or
not Davis would make a particular shot, and Roy started to arrange
midnight matches with club pros and the like. After Davis soundly
defeated all of them, Roy set his sights a little higher and entered
Davis in a tournament.
I need you to stay up all night tonight, Roy said one Friday evening.
You’re in a golf tournament tomorrow.
Davis considered protesting, but he looked at Roy and that sleepy
smile on his face, and reminded himself how lucky he was to have
found such a tolerant roommate.
Okay, he said, and then stayed up all night drinking coffee and
watching reruns. Davis crawled into bed about a half-hour before
tee time, and then beat the field by fifteen strokes.
Soon, every time he had a weekend off from the grocery store, he
and Roy would head out to a tournament somewhere. As the purses
grew, so did the crowds, and it seemed that everyone just had to
see Davis. Though the galleries swelled, etiquette was usually sufficient
to keep them quiet, but one Saturday in Omaha, Davis made a hole-in-
one from nearly two hundred yards away, and the people erupted.
Davis was a heavy sleeper to be sure, but the sound was enough to
startle him awake.
Where am I, he said to Roy, who was carrying his bag.
Omaha. Golf tournament. Go back to sleep.
I can’t. I’m wide awake now.
Hmm, Roy said as they walked to the next tee.
Not knowing what else to do, he handed Davis a driver and stepped
Davis took aim, swung, and nearly drove it into the crowd. Worried
he might hurt someone, he withdrew from the field. Shocked, the
fans who’d paid good money to see him booed as he and Roy
headed for the car.
But just when Davis’ career seemed ready to come undone,
Dr. Huff stepped in and offered to help. A long-time physician and
part-time inventor, Dr. Huff had been playing golf every Wednesday
and Friday for the last twenty years, and he’d never laid
eyes on anyone who could swing like Davis. So when he heard about
the trouble in Omaha, he took it upon himself to design a special
set of earplugs.
You could sleep through a war with these, he said happily, and
Davis’ career was right back on track.
He quit the grocery store to focus on golf full time. It looked
like the express line was never going to happen, and the tournaments
were earning him more than enough to pay the rent. In fact, Davis
could finally afford the place by himself, but he decided Roy had
been so supportive, he’d let him stay as long as he liked.
Each day he woke to more news of the life he was leading in his
sleep. He’d won another tournament, he’d made the PGA
tour, he was going to be on television. Suddenly he understood what
his roommates must have felt all the times they’d come downstairs
to discover the walls painted green and the loveseat where the bookcase
used to be.
On the course he was unstoppable. Where other golfers would fade
and buckle under pressure, Davis would dreamily swing away. Tournament
after tournament, he crushed his competition by historic margins.
After one of his first victories on the PGA tour, Davis was right
in the middle of sleep autographing when he was approached by a
savvy young agent named Marty. Marty pushed through the crowd of
waiting children, held out a contract, and asked Davis to sign.
Davis mindlessly autographed away and his career entered the next
Soon he was everywhere. TV, magazines, buses, billboards, even
on the front of Roy’s cereal boxes. All the while he continued
to pile up the trophies. He had something no other athlete could
claim. Not just greatness, perfection. Marty turned him into the
most sought after name in advertising. His unbeaten streak stretched
on, his legend grew, and some began to wonder if he might be the
greatest athlete of all time. He’s so good, the headlines
read, he does it in his sleep.
Suddenly Davis was waking up to millions of dollars and mountains
of offers. Every time he’d wander downstairs Roy would greet
him with more fabulous news. You won a major, you’re having
a shoe named after you, you’re dating a supermodel. It seemed
like a dream.
Eventually they moved out of the apartment and into a colossal
mansion overlooking a golf course. Davis knew Roy would never be
able to handle his half of the rent, so he made him the butler and
let him stay for free. And though Roy never really seemed to get
around to any cleaning or straightening, he answered the door if
he heard it, and did his best to make sure Davis was ready for all
Is Davis ready, the supermodel would say when she came to the door.
He’s just lying down, give him about half an hour, Roy would
say. Then he’d get himself another bowl of cereal and retire
to the couch.
As good as it sounded, Davis couldn’t help feeling like he
was missing the fun. Whenever he was awake, everyone just seemed
to be waiting for him to go to sleep. Consequently, despite being
wildly popular and having legions of fans, the only people he ever
really saw were Roy and Marty; his butler and his agent. The rest
of the world was waiting for the lights to go out and the show to
Once, Marty convinced the supermodel to have dinner with Davis
while he was conscious, but it seemed they were incompatible. She
didn’t care for questions, or answers, or talking in general.
She’d grown fond of his brooding silences and was flattered
by his unblinking stare. She seemed so pretty and kind, Davis couldn’t
stand to disappoint her. He promised to sleep through the rest of
Between the tournaments and photo shoots, the dates and endorsements,
Davis had become a very busy man. He had so many things on his plate
he was sleeping almost twenty hours a day and resorting to sleeping
pills in order to keep pace.
But as busy and beloved as he was, Davis found himself increasingly
bored and lonely. Eventually, he got a job working the night shift
back at the grocery store just so he’d have something to do.
But not many people came in, and the ones who did were disappointed
to find out that the greatest athlete of all time, the guy who was
dating the supermodel and staring at them from the magazine rack,
was just some average grocery store clerk who wasn’t even
fast enough to work in the express line.
I want to see it, he said to Roy one day after hearing the news
of his latest exploits.
What do you mean?
I mean I want to be there. I want to see the crowds and the cameras,
the handshakes and the kisses. I want to know what it all really
Hmm, Roy said. I could take pictures.
And he did. For the next week Roy followed Davis everywhere he
went and took roll after roll of photographs. On Saturday night
when Davis awoke Roy handed him a stack of one-hour photo envelopes
and said, one week. It’s all there.
Sure enough, it was. There he was winning a tournament. There he
was doing a commercial. There he was kissing his fabulous girlfriend.
It certainly looked like he was having fun. But for all he could
see, there was nothing he could feel. The pictures were flat and
had no insides.
What’s wrong, asked his butler.
Nothing. These are great. I was just hoping if I saw them I might
be able to remember some of it. But I don’t.
Nothing. Just bits and pieces of some dreams.
Are the dreams like the pictures?
No. They’re mostly about Tom Cruise eating people with secret
teeth and a bunch of pregnant women riding a talking bus. Nothing
like the pictures.
He flipped through the stacks again with great sadness.
Hmm, Roy said, and then he grabbed some cereal and retired to the
couch, which had stayed by the window for far too long.
His star was so bright, his face so bankable, it was only a matter
of time before Hollywood came calling. Marty landed Davis a part
as a deaf mute in a heartbreaking drama about love on a farm in
the 1950’s, and just as he had with golf, Davis stumbled into
another of his previously untapped talents, sleep acting.
The film opened to rave reviews and thunderous crowds. His performance
was so real, they all said, so selfless and devoid of ego. Had ever
an actor said more without actually saying a thing? He ruled the
box office for nearly two months and when spring rolled around he
was considered a shoo-in for the Oscar.
So when Marty and the supermodel arrived in the limo on Oscar night,
they expected to find Davis heading off to sleep. Instead, he was
waiting by the door in his best tuxedo, wide-awake and ready to
What are you doing, Marty asked.
I want to go, he said.
You are going. We’re here to pick you up. Now get to sleep
or we’ll be late.
I want to go like this.
You just can’t.
Well, I am.
And he walked out to the limo. The whole way there they warned
him, begged and pleaded with him to reconsider. You’ll wreck
your career, you’ll ruin your image, Marty told him. You can’t
let them see you this way.
But Davis was firm. I want see it, he said, see it with my own
eyes. When they clap, I want to hear it with my own ears. When I
get the trophy, I want to feel it with my own hands. And I want
to remember all of it.
The limo pulled up to the red carpet and Marty and the supermodel
made their final pleas.
Just a nap, Marty begged, we’ll bring you home early.
Sorry, Davis said, and opened the door.
When he stepped out and waved with a smile, a stunned hush fell
over the crowd.
Is that supposed to be Davis? What the hell is he doing, someone
Who’s that plain guy, someone else wondered.
He works at the grocery store, said someone, and he’s slow.
The supermodel made it only a few steps before diving back into
the limo and leaving Davis utterly alone. The red carpet parted
like the Red Sea and he walked slowly through the silence. All the
reporters and fans leered at him like he was drunk, like he was
It’s over, they whispered.
Inside things only got worse. None of the celebrities would talk
to him and the host teased him from the stage. When the time came
to announce his award, the presenter was so distraught she briefly
considered reading the wrong name because she’d heard that
had been done before. But she lost her nerve and announced that
Davis had won. As he rose, no one applauded, no one cheered. No
one leapt to their feet, or hugged him, or wept tears of joy for
him. Silence enveloped the auditorium and only his echoing footsteps
tried to beat it back. He stepped to the podium where he turned
and stared out at the sea of black ties and angry faces. He placed
his hand on the little statue and hoped it would infuse him with
joy, but it was just cold and lifeless, like all the other trophies
he’d collected in his sleep. He swallowed hard and cleared
I’d like to thank, he began, but the orchestra swelled and
large men moved in to usher him off stage. He walked behind the
curtain, out the back, found his limo, and disappeared.
The coverage was so unkind, the reports so brutal and scathing
that Davis couldn’t bear to turn on the TV or look at a paper.
He just hid in his cavernous mansion, and prayed it would all go
away. He longed for the days in the apartment, the days when he
cleaned and painted and rearranged in his sleep, before he’d
become an amazing athlete and an incredible actor.
He tried going back to the grocery store, but even they wouldn’t
have him anymore, saying his presence was now distracting, and that
a replacement had been found who was faster anyway. The tournaments
refused him, the sponsors dropped him, and if he as much as stepped
outside, someone was waiting to remind him what a disappointment
he’d been. With nowhere else to go, Davis returned to his
house, which his butler had allowed to grow dirty and stale, and
for a while it seemed he might never leave again.
Then one day Marty and Dr. Huff arrived, big smiles on their faces.
Your troubles are over, said Marty.
We’ve got it all figured out, smiled Dr. Huff.
We can make it permanent.
You can sleep through ten wars, back to back.
What are you talking about, Davis said.
It’s a patch, you see. It administers a mild sedative, just
enough to keep you unconscious. And as long as we swap the patch
every week or so, there’s no limit to how long you could sleep.
And the best part is you’d already be sleeping so you’d
never need to rest. You could work twenty-four hours a day! You’ll
be printing money! Marty roared.
But no one likes me anymore. They’re saying terrible things.
If you’re permanently asleep, I can assure them you won’t
pull another stunt like you did at the Oscars. Someone will let
you play. It’s a forgiving country. You win a couple tournaments,
I guarantee people will get back on the bandwagon, and the endorsements
and movie deals will be quick to follow. You’ll be back on
top in no time.
I don’t know.
Davis, you’re a very special individual. There are records
to be broken, awards to be won. This is a chance for you to scratch
your name on the face of history, to change the world. Surely you
don’t want to waste that.
But when would I wake up again? I mean, when would I see you and
Roy and the supermodel?
I suppose we could wake you when it’s over, when your golf
game goes and you’ve broken all the records and won all the
awards. Why, it’ll be great. By the time you wake up you’ll
probably be married, have wonderful kids, and be a living legend.
Who wouldn’t want that?
But I’d miss so much.
Marty let out a sigh. It’s up to you, Davis. You can go to
sleep and live the life of your dreams, or you can stay awake and
go back to being lonely and plain.
Davis sat down and thought about what it would be like to take
a really long nap. How much things would change, how much he would
change. He wondered if he’d even recognize himself when he
woke up. It seemed like a crazy thing to do, but then he thought
about destiny and about wasting his talent and for some reason it
just seemed wrong to say no. He looked into the hopeful faces of
his agent and the doctor, then around at his cluttered and dirty
Okay, he said, but on one condition. Once a week I want you to
lock up the house and leave me inside to sleep vacuum and paint
and rearrange. At the very least, I want to know I’ll have
a clean home when I come back.
Don’t you have a butler for that sort of thing?
He’s not really that kind of butler.
Fine. No problem.
Davis took a deep breath and then nodded. Just give me a few hours.
He took a walk and tried to remember everything just the way it
was. The smell of the air, the feel of the heat, the taste of a
Tuesday. He hoped some of it would stay with him, find its way into
the years of dreaming that lay ahead. He watched the sun go to bed
and under the blanket of night, he wandered home to do the same.
He found Roy sitting on the couch, eating from a cereal box that
no longer bore his face.
I’m going to sleep now.
Okay, Roy said between bites.
I don’t know when I’ll wake up again.
Do you mind if I borrow your car?
You can have it.
Someone will drive me.
Davis started out of the room and then paused at the stairs. Roy?
Would you do something for me?
Sure. What is it?
Take lots of pictures.
Copyright © 2004 Kyle Killen. ALL
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