(This is) the Dream of Jonah and Caroline

Part 1: Jonah

Saturday arrived to the tune of my bedside console's alarm firing perfect three-point shots into my eardrums.

I’d become so used to waking up ahead of schedule that I hadn’t spent much time internally debating whether or not I should even set an alarm. Closest I had gotten to such a debate, I’d concluded that the benefits of not missing work outweighed the annoyance. I don’t believe this was one of those times, though, and this morning’s guest certainly shared that opinion.

Caroline, dressed partially in bedsheets, had shot up beside me, eyes wide and upright, like a student called to immediate attention. The morning light, sneaking through the partially opened blinds, striped her short auburn hair.

“Jesus, when in the hell does anyone ever need a chaos siren like that to start their day?”

“Backup plans are important,” I told her, shaking open a market bag I had managed to find on the floor. “Especially if I plan to keep affording a room to wake up in.”

She sank back into the bed as I scavenged through remnants of the previous night, eyes still fixed on me in partial disbelief.

“I can’t imagine them firing you for your first instance of tardiness,” she said. I smirked, throwing an empty beer can into the bag. “Who said it’ll be the first time?” She rolled her eyes and briefly pulled the sheets over her head. “So this is a typical Jonah morning, huh? Scampering about, bravely risking job security?”

“Well, I don’t typically have a lovely guest keeping me up all night,” I said, smirking again.

“Oh boy, what a facial expression,” she said. “Do you practice that? And hey, if it prevents you from getting to beddy bye at a reasonable hour, we can forego future meetups of this nature.”

I tied up the market bag, tossed it by the door, and spent a couple seconds pretending to think it over. “Nah, I’m still young. I’ll adapt.” Now she was the one smirking. “Are you? Will you?”

She yawned, stretched her arms, and rolled out of bed, leaving her gown of sheets behind. “I guess I should get ready to face the day as well, huh?” I froze for a moment. We’ve been spending the occasional night together for almost half a year now, but still, seeing her manages to completely stop me in my tracks sometimes… and she always manages to catch it.

“Hmm, I’m sorry, something wrong? I’m not distracting you, am I?” She began cycling through various goofball poses as I attempted to form a clever response. “Just thinking about how lucky you make me feel.” It was a failed attempt. “Oh barrrrrf!” she said.

I queued up the news in the kitchen while we both prepped for the day and wolfed down a healthy breakfast of cold leftover pizza.

“The protests aren’t showing any signs of dying down today, Dianne. It appears Overture has gathered a substantially large crowd this morning and is currently blocking off all pathways to the Block 14 Government Center. “

“Good!” Caroline yelled through a mouthful of pizza crust. “Maybe that’ll finally get some dialogue started.”

“Do you really think Parliament is going to respond well to all of that?” I asked. “And even if they did, do you think anyone in the Colonies will ever budge?”

She threw the last bite into her mouth. “Well, Overture isn’t going away anytime soon, so they’re going to have to deal somehow.”

“Sure, like send a bunch of armed CMP grunts in to clear the ‘unlawful public disruptions’.” I tossed my bag over my shoulder. “Still, I do agree, any action right now is better than inaction.”

Caroline smiled, walked over, and grabbed my shoulders. “You’re lovely,” she said.

I glanced over at the kitchen console display, which I had set to loop through morning transit times. “And with that, I’m off. If I catch the next pod, I just might be getting in early. You remember the door code, yeah?” “71752163?” “That’s the one!”

We shared a quick hug before I rushed out the door.

Overture. What a stupid name.

#songbird #shortstory #fiction