January 1

New Year’s Day

Your head is pounding. You should have taken it easy last night, but your friends were in a partying mood and you had to keep up with them.

Everything after 10 pm is a blank. That was when you accepted a shot glass filled with a green glowing liquid. “Let’s toast two hours early,” your best friend said, raising his own tiny flourescent glass. If you sang “Auld Lang Syne” later that night, there would have been a noticeable slur in your off-key voice.

You’re lying on your stomach now, but you don’t remember how you made it into your bed.  You hope you didn’t drive yourself home.

Your head feels like it’s in a metal vice, even though your cheek is pressed into a soft pillow.  You struggle to move, but it’s almost as if another person is lying on top of you.  That person has duplicated your position exactly: legs over yours; arms over yours; head pressing heavy against yours, ear matched to ear.  You find it difficult to move.

The building around you groans, and you notice a spreading crack in the drywall beside your headboard. You imagine another house on top of your house, pressing down until concrete begins to crumble and support beams buckle.

Another body climbs onto the person atop your back, and the extra weight makes it hard for you to breathe.  A second house stacks above your home, and the entire building shakes. More cracks appear in the drywall, and your head throbs in agony.

The extra bodies are an illusion, as are the extra houses–but the weight, the extra weight, continues to increase. You think of the ball that dropped in Times Square last night, as it does every year to signal the New Year. Although you don’t remember seeing it on television this time, you’re certain it happened.

Something else happened. What if, the morning after the ball dropped in Times Square, your planet hit a disturbance in its orbit?  What if Earth also dropped like a ball?

In response, gravity shifted.

You feel it now: your planet spinning with different force, another body on your back, another building crushing your home.

Your head keeps pounding.  The walls fall.