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This hallway seems vaguely familiar, with institutional green plaster and gray lockers. But it's so dimly lit I can hardly make out the numbers on the doors. That looks like a "7," but I can't be sure. What did my schedule show?

CHIRP!

Wait, I don't have a schedule. It's the last day of the school year, and I don't have a class schedule. Holy cats, that means I haven't been to a class all year.

CHIRP!

Where is everyone? I see light coming from the last doorway at the end of the hall. Hey, a room full of kids, except I don't know any of these kids. And this white penny-tiled floor is really cold on my bare feet. Wait, why am I ...

CHIRP!

... wearing nothing but a satchel and a smile? Oh my stars, I'm naked in junior high!

CHIRP!

The class turns toward me, then silently returns its attention to the teacher. My heart beats louder inside my ears, along with a distant chirping sound. I race down the cold, empty hallway and find the front doors, which are chained together. Light streams through the front glass, now revealing that I'm not only naked, but I'm no longer my teenage self. Like a fresh ice cream cone transitioning to one that's set in the sun a half hour, I become my current over-40 self just as the school bell rings.

CHIRP!!

I bolt upright in bed. Baxter barks softly at me, telling me to hush. The chirping sound continues, and I finally recognize it to be a dying battery in a smoke detector. It's 4 a.m. Why do batteries in smoke detectors never die in the afternoon? I think it a conspiracy.

Throwing back the covers, I stumble through the loft to find the culprit. I stand beneath one suspect, but the sound comes from the other room. I stand beneath the second suspect, but the sound comes from downstairs. To the best of my sleep-deprived knowledge, there are only three suspects, so I get a spare 9-volt battery and mosey downstairs to catch the thief of my REM-status.

I stand beneath the third suspect, who pleads the Fifth and remains silent. A chirp mocks me from the second floor.

At this point, my barnyard menagerie decides to assist in a supervisory capacity. Cats, rabbits, fish and dog watch with growing amusement. I'm confident they know the location of the chirp and are withholding evidence.

I clamber up chairs and ladders at each smoke detector and change the batteries. If I change them all, I can go back to bed.

CHIRP!

It's coming from the fish bowls. Those rascals! I sneak up on them, and they point their fins to the floor where a tiny carbon monoxide detector is plugged. Cornered, it confesses.

"You OK? You look a little tired," says a colleague at a morning meeting.

"Yes, I just ran naked through the junior high changing batteries in smoke alarms all night, but I'm fine."

People with sleep deprivation really shouldn't answer questions.

NAN Our Town on 09/21/2017

Print Headline: Dream reveals all

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