The Habit

It started after the doctors declared his death was probably less than six weeks away and recommended that he be placed in hospice. Family members were called, rushing home from around the world.

Their visits perked him up. The doctors reversed themselves after three months, returning the ninety-eight year old to a nursing home. That’s when he began his habit.

Every night at seven, he would prepare for bed by walking around his bed, straightening the blankets and pillows. Then he folded the blankets back, adjusted the pillows, and circled the bed, smoothing out the wrinkles. His process consumed about two hours.

Nobody complained. How could they? It was good for a man of his age to be active, even if his habits mystified everyone. After all, if they reached his age, who knew what their habits would be?

Friday’s Theme Music

Reaching back today to ’67, when I was eleven. Feels like a hundred years ago and feels like yesterday evening. Cream was a short-lived supergroup. Eric Clapton was already one of my guitar idols. Here comes Cream with those quasi-psychedelic, hard-rock, deep bass song, “Sunshine of Your Love”. I heard it and thought it was the future’s edge swinging toward me.

Now I sing it as a walk the street, sunshine on my head, laptop in my backpack, heading to the coffee shop to write, and think of it more as an homage to sunshine. At least, that’s why I was singing it yesterday. I thought the sunshine would enjoy it.

Floofsider

Floofsider (floofinition) – a housepet companion who remains reliably by another’s side;

In use: “Jade was a floofsider. To adjust to that with her pregnancy, Barb set up a birthing station for Jade and remained beside her while the cat purred and gave birth to three mini-Jades. As soon as the three kittens were large enough to walk, they became floofsiders, too, following mama and creating a little flooftrain as they followed Barb around the house. It was sweet and frustrating; Barb had to constantly watch where she stepped as the little furfloofs played around her feet.”

Roll-On

Showered, Briyen applied his Shaving roll-on and considered the next roll-ons as nanos removed his beard. Moving roll-on sticks like chess pieces, he set Youth and Charm up front but equivocated over his skin color. His natural color was an unflattering Flesh White, according to the consultants. He’d been Black once this week and Ebony twice. None of the Rainbow offerings appealed to him. His eyes roved over Teak, Latina, Hispanic, and Southern Europe, but his mind didn’t latch onto any until he saw SoCal Tan. That would work.

The Shaving done and enough time passed, he immediately put on Youth. A full body roll, that would would take longer to process. Sliding the Charm forward, he pondered Courage, Creativity, Confidence, and Imagination, and then decided, screw it, why not? He’d put them all on. It was dangerous because he was applying…one, two, three…five…eight? 

Eight. Shit. Last two times he’d applied eight roll-ons, he’d suffered the aptly-labeled crash, complete with scaly plaque psoriasis and an all-conquering headache. He’d been forced to apply the First Aid roll-on all friggin’ night. The next day had been endured without roll-ons. His hideous reflection had to be avoided. He’d been ravenous but mostly fasted, fearing side-effects. Naturally, he’d stayed inside and off cameras.

Not wanting to take those paths again, he put Courage and Imagination back. Six roll-ons would be good enough because even seven sometimes made him queasy, especially when it was supposed to be hot, as it was today, which meant, shit…he also needed Sun Protection & Cooling. Grimacing, he pulled the SP&C roll-on out and pushed the SoCal back. No tan today.

The Youth had already completed its work. Sagging and wrinkles were vanquished. His skin was tight, and his hair was fuller, thicker, and darker. Damn, he looked good. Humming, he finished up with the other roll-ons and set his timer for ten minutes. Couldn’t dress until enough time had been permitted – shit, didn’t wan to do that again, chuckling with rueful memory of how he turned out when he put clothes on too soon after the roll-ons. Never again, right? Right.

Finally, he was dressed and ready to roll. He took a few seconds to admire himself in the mirror and agreed with his private assessment that he looked damn fine for one hundred twenty-two years old. Hell, he didn’t look a day over twenty-two.

After favoring himself with a final approving grin, he headed for the door. Time to go write like crazy, at least one more time.

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