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Asher Lytton

Had it been a dragon? No, that can’t be right.

The electronic clock in my car beams a brilliant blue 2:18 A.M. The windshield wipers beat furiously at the streaming water. Street lights flash hazily through the fog. I pull up to a sudden stop as the traffic light blinks unexpectedly from yellow to red. I guess I should have known it would do that. Green, yellow, then red. Back to green again. I run my right hand through my singed hair as I wait for the stop light to resume its ceaseless cycle and revert to a go light.

What a night. It had all happened so fast. One second I was sitting on the couch with my buddies crunching on party mix, the next, the hair on the left side of my head reduced to charred stubble.

I pull my hand from my smoky mane and accelerate through the now yellow traffic light. Was it supposed to go from red to yellow? I didn’t think so. I must have missed the green. What a night.

I speed around the corner onto Highfield Street. The pizza place on the corner there has a blinking, rotating sign, “Open,” that I speed past. Hold on. I spin around in a U-turn, hurled against my seat belt and screech back up to the pizza place. Something about it.

It is a dilapidated, little building sticking out onto the street. What paint there once was is peeling off, revealing what looks like concrete patched together with fading bricks. The lighted sign above the door must have at some point read “John’s Pizza.” Now, it’s something more along the lines of “ ohn’  Piz a.” Ancient lettering on the door spells out “grease and cheese, pizza please!” The windows are vacant, like angry voids, except for that one blinking sign, announcing to the world, in no uncertain terms, that despite what you may think, this pizza place is open for business. 

I check the clock. Hmm. 2:04 A.M. Weird. I step out of my car.

I mean really, no one expected that thing to come out of the TV! Like I said, we were just sitting around in the living room, minding our own business, and scrolling through Netflix. Just a bunch of friends relaxing late at night. And then that massive reptilian head — with the capability, we later learned, to breath fire from its nose — has the nerve to just explode through the television and start conversing with Jeremy in tongues.

I hop out of my car and approach the door. I check my watch again. Man is it weird that it’s open at 1:30 at night! I rap loudly on the door. It swings open.

There on the other side are three, almost identical men in black suits. Pale as can be with black hair sticking out from under their top hats. Black pants, jackets, suits, and ties all glow in the night. The one on the left has a bright green handlebar mustache. The one on the right has a bright red one. The middle one has a fine, perfectly curled, bright blue one.

“Interesting,” begins the man in the middle pulling out a clip board. “What are you doing here after midnight?”

The right man’s mustache flashes from red to glowing orange. “Intriguing,” begins in a monotone voice before I can even respond to the first question. “Are you aware that it is already 11:35 at night?”

The one with a vibrant purple mustache hops on the bandwagon, pulling out a notepad of his own. “And how are the kids? The Missus?”

“I think something is wrong,” I blurt out before I can be interrupted again.

“Whatever do you mean?”

In the corner of my eye, I catch a glimpse of what appears to be 20 tiny horses. I spin around. No. It’s just one massive duck. How the mind plays tricks. I turn back to the men in suits.

“I think something is terribly wrong!” I glance at my watch to make sure I’m not late for my next appointment. No, it’s just barely past noon.

“No, this is just life,” begins the first man.

“Hasn’t anyone ever told you that life is confusing?”

“Life just likes to flip a person on their head.”

“Am I hallucinating?”

“You’re just opening your eyes.”

“I think you better come inside with us.”

And, in I march, hair still ablaze like a beacon, the sun rising behind me.

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