One winter morning, Perriwinkle Funkhouser woke up to find himself lying atop a mound of his own sweat while bearing a massive headache.
He stared up at the ceiling thinking about the cosmic storm raging all around him through every drastic second as he laid rigidly in his bed.
“Chaos,” he thought to himself.
Perriwinkle lifted his head from the moist pillow and reached under it to grab a blue notebook. After sliding his pen out from the binder, he thumbed through countless pages saturated with black ink until he reached his empty blue-striped canvas.
As he began jotting down the strange juxtaposition of symbols and memories that he had experienced from the night before, he began to feel sweat trickle down his forehead.
Perriwinkle had countless nightmares throughout his life, but none quite like what he had experienced the night prior. There was bone-chilling surrealism to what he saw, causing him to question all of the actions he had ever taken throughout his life.
In his lucid projection, Perriwinkle saw the image of an unfamiliar human-animal chimera hunched over a desk and writing in a notebook of its own. It looked as if it were some demented amalgam of a dog, rabbit, and human.
As the creature scribbled away, a peculiar ray of light began to emit from the pen it was holding. Undeniably intrigued, Perriwinkle took a step closer towards the busy organism to get a better look at the expanding cloud forming above the desk.
While the cloud continued to swell, the moving image of an oddly familiar man appeared within it. The man was staring transfixed at his computer, trying to make a decision but unable to resolve his conundrum.
As the scene progressed within the cloud, the man was eventually carted off to a mental health facility in a truck along with all the other local loonies.
Shortly after that scene dissipated, a new one emerged through the rippled cloud. The new moving images displayed a terribly disturbed woman shooting her boyfriend and his group of friends because he had watched the last episode of their favorite TV show without her.
Removing himself from a dumbfounded state, Perriwinkle began stepping closer to the mysterious figure hunched over its desk. While stepping closer, he began to feel an icy cold sensation slither down his spine.
Once he got within an arm’s reach of the manically writing being, it instantaneously dropped its pen and put its head down.
In a defensive response to this, Perriwinkle took a slight step backward and shielded himself like a boxer. For all he knew, the thing that sat in front of him could have had some form of rabies.
“Or worse, it could have been unvaccinated.”
As Perriwinkle sat in his bed and further digested his warped dream, he reflected on the disconnect he felt from his thoughts of trepidation and his movement towards the ominous being. It was almost as if his body was under the control of an external force.
He was drilling into this momentary loss of control when he heard his phone buzzing on the nightstand next to his bed. It was one of his buddies from work asking where he was.
“How could I forget I had work?”
Perriwinkle jumped out of bed and hastily dressed in a clean pair of black sweatpants and an argyle V-neck. Business leisure dress code.
“Right, now where do I work again? Also, who was that friend of mine? And how did I know the dress code but not the location of my work?”
Regardless of his discombobulated state, Perriwinkle made it into work with limited time to spare. Even though he wasn’t aware of it, his shift started 30 minutes from the time he woke up that morning. He made it in the parking spot at the 28th minute.
After hurriedly bursting through the front door to his office, Perriwinkle was immediately signaled over by someone sitting at their desk.
“Hey, Tom, over here!” the man said as he simultaneously called Perriwinkle to his desk and guided the apparent airplane coming in from the other end of the room with his persistently flailing arms.
“Wait how did I get here? Did he just call me Tom?”
Nonetheless, Perriwinkle made his way over to the desk despite his legitimate fear of the man potentially turning out to be a wacky waving inflatable tube guy.
“Hey Dan, how are we doing today?” asked Perriwinkle as he approached the thriving ecosystem of paper and office supplies that Dan called a desk.
“Why did I just say that? How did I know his name? Why did I ask him how ‘we’ are we doing if I already know how I’m doing?!”
“Tom, you’ve got to see this! It’s a video compilation of cats meowing but the sound of their meows is replaced by fart noises! Here, let me show you,” he said as he pulled out his phone and tapped the screen to play it.
For 5 minutes and 35 seconds, Perriwinkle and Dan watched a video compilation of cats meowing with the sound of their meows being replaced by fart noises (plus 2 minutes of a [RENT THIS SPOT FOR $25 A DAY, CONTACT DOGGLEDOO2334@GMAIL.COM FOR MORE INFO] advertisement in between the video).
“That is actually pretty funny. Although, I’m not sure about the advertising choice in the middle of it. Pretty sure those guys were involved with the tragic death of that adorable baby panda from last week. Shame. Wait, why did I just have that thought?”
Nearly bursting tears of laughter, Perriwinkle gasped his response to the video. “That’s incredible,” he managed to get out between chokes of air.
“Do I ask him about my name?”
Perriwinkle took another glance at Dan’s desk and then noticed a small patch of mushrooms sprouting out next to his garbage can.
“Nah, he seems to be living in his own world.”
As he tried to escape the desk, Dan brought him back into the conversation. “I know! It’s videos like these that make it soooo hard to finish my work. I mean how are pivot tables ever going to compete with cats farting from their mouths? Riddle me that Tom!”
“Say a blanketed statement and walk away.”
“Only in America, am I right?” Perriwinkle chuckled while beginning to walk away from the desk.
“Wait, Tom, where are you going? Your desk is over here.” Dan pointed at the desk lying perpendicular to his right.
Prominently displayed in bold letters, the nametag atop the desk read “TOM”. Sensing a horrifying identity crisis looming, Perriwinkle gravitated towards the desk chair to avoid collapsing.
As he desperately rubbed his eyes together like they were some ruby slippers, a thought came to him.
“Check your wallet you putz.”
He checked both pockets in his sweatpants with no luck, yet his hand still came up wielding a wallet after checking his empty left pocket.
He tried to keep himself composed while the blood in his ears rapidly throbbed against his eardrums. When he opened the wallet and saw his driver’s license, Perriwinkle jumped up from his chair and covered his mouth to muffle his child-like shriek.
“How could it say Tom? Why does it only say Tom?”
“Mmm, can you come to my office please?” asked his manager.
Perriwinkle found himself walking towards his manager’s office across the room.
“I’ve about had it with this ‘Tom’ business. I know my name is Perriwinkle. But wait, how do I know that…?”
When he entered the room, Perriwinkle’s finger instinctually initiated Angry-Finger-Pointing Phase 1®. Before Perriwinkle began shouting, the manager placed a phone in front of Perriwinkle’s face.
“Phone call, not sure who it is.” He kept his eyes fixated on his computer while he spoke and was persistently snapping bubbles of gum in his mouth.
Perriwinkle lowered his cocked finger and grabbed the telephone.
“This day has not been fun.”
“Hello?” Perriwinkle asked in lieu of addressing himself as either of the two names swirling around in his head.
The voice on the other end of the line, choppy and crackled as it were, came from what seemed to be an old woman.
“Is..this…Perriwinkle Funk..houser?” she asked in a weathered tone.
Perriwinkle’s eyes stretched outwards in shock. He took a deep breath and then looked over to his boss, who was still glued to his computer.
“Yes,” he trembled.
“Your mo..ther has pass…ed. Come to…The Funer..al..Home. Now.”
To be continued…