1 BR, Charming...

Insomnia is easy.

When you get insomnia, you open the French door windows to the apartment you can't afford and sight down on the riffraff on the corner selling drugs with your loaded .38 Smith & Wesson Airweight, and squeeze on the trigger just enough to scare yourself; or you call the pay phone they are all standing around and make vicious remarks from your dark perch about their appearance; their clothes, their grooming, the way they grab their dicks; or you can fill condoms with water and sling them at the drunken gangster patrons of the pasta place diagonally under your apartment as they come out screaming, screaming some boisterous gangster rubbish, knotting up their ties in cheap gangster fashion, shadowboxing the terrified immaculate Chilean parking garage attendant next door to the gangster pasta place, the way they straighten his tie too tight lifting him from his green plastic chair, sending him off to fetch their Buick, two of the drunken gangster guys wrapping themselves in the long garage door chains, breathing to break them across their chests, chewing the links in their mouths, growling gladiators chained to fight bears while a third gangster turns on the garden hose the immaculate Chilean uses to wash the piss and vomit of previous gangster patrons off the sidewalk, the third gangster spraying passing cars with the hose, daring them to stop, crouching between parked cars he hoses down a passing couple, unarmed people who dare not turn and face six or seven drunken gangster guys, and then, in insomnia, you, you lean out naked and swing the water-gorged reservoir-tipped and tied-off latex condom a couple of times out the French door windows of the apartment you cannot afford, you swing the condom back and forth, building trajectory, then you let it go and peek while it sails upward spastically like a happy fat girl's breasts bubbling in the top of her cheap low-cut cotton summer dress as she laughs bouncing high-heeled down subway steps, you marveling at the wonderful dynamics of these dualities, the elasticity, the abundance, the constraint, this vulgar waterstretched latex mockery with its reservoir-tip nipple sails high over the sidewalk then begins its descent, and it doesn't strike the gangster with the hose, or the two playing Spartacus in the chains, it doesn't actually strike any of the gangsters, it explodes on the sidewalk sopping the Big Man Gangster's shoes and cuffs, sending the gangsters suddenly looking up, looking up, looking up not seeing anything up there, dropping the hose, shrugging off the chains, shouting at each other, the Big Man Gangster calm but seething, one of the little gangsters mopping the Big Man's shoes with a handkerchief, Sorry sorry sorry boss, the Big Man having tolerated the drunken child's play now finds himself surrounded by IDIOTS, pistol-packing IDIOTS supposed to dive in front of the don to take slugs can't even take a water balloon, and one of the gangster brutes, to do SOMETHING, examines the water on the pavement, looking for clues to the guy we're going to get for doing this, Big Don, Boss, yeah, he taps around in the water pattern on the sidewalk SENSING the water pattern, something to tell him, because he's a microsecond from pulling out his B.O. Plenty TEC nine on the creep, and then he sees with heartbroken familiarity the broken condom and before he even thinks, he's saying Lookit, a rubba! and the Big Man kicks the scrap of latex out into the street, his beautiful shoe barely missing the face of the man squatting by him, and the Chilean brings down the Buick, they shove him around and point to the roof, shove him around some more, throw a clutch of bills at his green plastic chair, Chinese-fire-drill themselves into the humped Buick sitting low with cheap-suited muscle, peeling out fast at first, then slowing, passing, one last look out the car windows at the rooftops along the street, their eyes looking high above you, you in your naked insomnia in your dark, wide-flung French door windows to the apartment you will never in your life be able to afford, you grab your dick at them, you give them the finger, you spit at them, and when they are gone, you sit and wait on the corner of the bed, playing with the pistol, waiting for the trash truck, the bakery, a robbery, the dawn.
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    Photo Credit: Bill Hayward  
Copyright © 1997 Mark Richard.
Excerpted from The Literary Insomniac: Short Essays for Sleepless Nights edited by Elyse Cheney and Wendy Hubbert. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, a division of the Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.