Hildie S. Block
and Gabby Holden

Gabby Holden
Inspiration piece

In That Sleep of Death
Hildie S. Block



“Oh, whatever.  She sleeps like the dead.”

“You’re horrible”

“OK, so you totally should have come last night!”

My eyes opened enough to notice that the lights weren’t on yet.   And the curtains were drawn, but daylight was leaking through the cracks where the curtains swayed over the air conditioner.

Sleep threatened to pull me under again.  Not before I noticed at least one warm body sitting on the side of my regulation dormitory bed.

“OMG! I totally should have!  I can’t believe it! “

“It was crazy”

“I mean red lights flashing, sirens blaring!”


“But she was all right?”

“Yeah.   Look at her.  Sleeps through anything.  I swear.”

“Right.  I remember.”

The door opened with a creek and another one came in.  And sat on my feet.

“So wait, you guys never showed up right?”  On my feet, did I mention that?

“Oh my god, you have to hear what happened.  They went to NV – and actually got in!”

“Wait, you guys never came to the party at Steve’s because you got into NV?”

“No, you have to hear what happened.  Like police and shit, no lie.”


“Ok, Ok, so we went out – you know just Maddie, Gwen, Victoria, Iliza, Grace and you know who.”

I knew who “you know who was.”  It was me.

“Right.  But you were supposed to get to Steve’s by 12, I was like, you know, waiting and stuff.”

“I know, but that wasn’t going to start happening until at least 11 or 12 right?  We headed out around 10 – took a cab.”

“You all fit in one cab?”

“OMG!  It was so funny, we were freakin’ clowns getting out of that thing! “

“But the cabbie was sooo nice.”

“Oh but for real.  He was totally nice!”

“I’m not sure we gave him enough money, but he was cool.”

“Anyway – so like we get out and there’s bars all over and she’s like – “   I can feel them pointing at me,

“Let’s try to get into NV.”

“Oh, no way!”

“Way.  It was so cool.”

“So we stood in line for like ever “

“For real, and then this guy came up”

“Not a guy, a GOD”

“and he talked to HER” (me again).

“and he like KNEW HER” (he was my second cousin, Johnny)

“and the next thing we know, we are going in a side door”


“Like serious VIPs or something.”

“OH. MY. GOD.”

“That’s what I’m saying!  Totally.”

“So was it awesome, like completely?”

“Of course.  You should have seen it!”

“There was a band playing in one room and the other room was like a total disco from like, the 70s or something.”

“And the drinks all glowed!

“It was just the black light.”

“I don’t care – they glowed!  It was awesome!”

“But the police?  What happened?”


“You won’t believe it.”


“What happened?  Celebrity skirmish? Congressman with a woman-not-his-wife?”


“So there’s like this death band in one room, this disco and all these lights and loud music in the other room, even the back bar had loud music playing, right?”


“and SOMEONE, wanted to leave and go to Steve’s.”


“But we didn’t want to go, not yet.”

“I was dancing with this guy, OMG was so hot.”

“I still had a drink left.”

“We had just like gotten there.  That’s what it felt like, and who knows when we’d get in again.”

Me.  I knew.  My mom’s cousins owned NV.  I can always get in.  Can’t drink in there.  But I can get in.

“So SHE wants to leave but we don’t.”

“Right. “

“So she is sitting in the back bar – Music totally blaring from everywhere, right?”

“My ears are still ringing, I swear.”

“You should have worn ear plugs”

“I know, I know, but still”

“Anyway, so what happens?”



“She’s completely out.”

“I was dancing”

“I was listening to the band, right?”

“and she’s in the back bar – which is packed.”

“But people start noticing she’s like, you know, out.”

“And no one thinks, OH MAYBE SHE JUST FELL ASLEEP, because it’s like 200 degrees”

“And loud”

“And who falls asleep at a club on a SATURDAY NIGHT?”

Me, when I’m bored.  That’s who.

“So they like think she’s OD-ed, so the next thing we know there’s all like sirens and lights and  . . .“

A Stretcher!

“So the guy I’m dancing with, he’s like, let’s go see what’s happening  . . . I’m all like, no way, I’m dancing here.”

“But then I figure since the rest of the world is going”

“So we get there, into the back bar”

“I pushed to the front to see what was going on and they are loading her onto a stretcher, and THAT’s when she wakes up.”

I’m not going to deny it because it’s all true.  But here’s what they didn’t get.  I hadn’t slept in who knows how long.

OK.  Me, I know how long it was.

Maybe a  week or so earlier, was the last time I really slept, in bed, at night.

I mean I had afternoon naps, where I just crashed, and I fell asleep once, no twice at the library face down in my stupid Econ text book.  And maybe a couple times in dark lecture halls during class.  But not in bed at night, since that Friday night, maybe what?  Nine days ago.

It’s not what you are thinking.  It wasn’t because something happened IN the room.  It wasn’t my roommate bringing a guy in because she thought I was asleep or some such dorky thing.

It was worse.

So we’d all been at a party at Steve’s – we’d gone together – you know – how freshmen girls travel in packs.

The guy I had been watching in class, Alex, he was funny, maybe even cute, we went for a walk.  We kissed and he told me about his girlfriend back home.  Present tense.  Things got complicated, but I wasn’t feeling good about this situation.  Things went too far.  But not so so too far.  But I just decided to get out of there.  There by then being his dorm room.

Things were complicated.

So I walked back across campus and crawled into bed and fell fast asleep.

The next thing I knew, hours later, there were a bunch of people in the room, all chattering.  I squinted at my phone – 4:11 am.

SO I asked, politely.  As politely as could be expected considering the circumstances.


Which is when they seemed to notice me and all the pieces slid into place.

“Wait, have you been sleeping?”

I seriously need to transfer.

“How long have you been here?”

“Weren’t you outside?”

Were they talking in code?

Which is when I noticed the red flashing lights reflecting on the back wall.

“Didn’t you go outside for the fire alarm?”

“Aren’t the Resident Advisor’s supposed to make sure everyone is out?”

“If she couldn’t hear the blaring alarm, you think she heard a knock?”

“I think I told the R.A. you were still out with Alex – – you left the party with him, right?”

I guess I could say, “at least there wasn’t REALLY a fire.”  But that didn’t really help.

And it certainly didn’t help me fall asleep.




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