Katie's hand is down the front of my pants before I can unlock the deadbolt. Her other is woven into my hair, jerking my head, crashing her mouth into mine. It feels less like being kissed and more like having the back wall of my skull licked. I am being devoured, and it is unsettling. We find our way to the couch where Katie throws me onto the cushions. She stands over me, unzips her dress and steps out of it without a second thought.

"Take your clothes off," she says as she steps out of her panties.

"You sure you want to do this?"

"Don't be stupid."

Katie lowers herself onto me. We start off simple, slow and rhythmic. She wraps her arms around me, pulling my face into her chest, and she smells like fabric softener, sweet and fake. And while the sex is good, I'm not fully enjoying it because I keep waiting for the reason. The mysterious thing she's after, and why she has to keep looking. I'm waiting for her to pull out a dildo with an empty promise to be gentle. I'm waiting on an insistence that she call me "Severin" just as she comes. I'm waiting for ball gags. Rape fantasies.

But we just have sex. Afterwards I have a beer, and Katie has a cigarette and then some sleep. Actually, a lot of sleep.
 

 

Any emergency paramedic will tell you that with acute narcolepsy the brain produces an insufficient amount of hypocretin. This is the chemical that regulates sleep cycles. If you combine a lack of hypocretin with low body weight and excessive amounts of alcohol, a person can slip into a "sleep coma." When this happens medication, usually a form of ephedrine, must be administered. At least that's what the paramedics tell me. After Katie refuses to wake up. After I relent and call 911, explaining through panicked breaths the situation to the operator. After I hear the ambulance screaming towards my apartment. They come in with their blue jumpsuits and lifesaving tackle boxes, their stethoscopes slung around their necks. While one attends to Katie, the other sits me down and explains how I'm not going to prison.

"Narcoleptics of this severity usually need someone in the morning to give them their meds. At the very least they give the person they're sleeping with a heads-up, a little warning of what the morning will bring. But not Katie."

The adrenaline's wearing off. Plus, I'm still reeling from the fact that I won't spend the remainder of my youth in jail getting passed around like loose change. So it takes me a second.

"Wait, what do you mean 'But not Katie'? You guys know her?"

The medic pats me on the shoulder. "Sorry buddy, but you're the third guy this month. We're not sure why she does it. It's just her thing."

That's how he phrases it. Her thing — like kiteboarding or spoken-word poetry.

The other one says how they found the guy before me crying behind his loveseat, rocking back and forth, begging them not to tell his parents.

"Sorry buddy, but you're the third guy this month."

Then he laughs. He explains that because of some Americans With Disabilities precedent, while what she does isn't morally sound, it's also not illegal. Shrugging his shoulders, he says, "For some people an awkward morning is still better than a night alone."

Now I know Katie's magic trick. How each night she dies, only to be reborn. The paramedics pack their things and leave as Katie comes to. She silently gets out of bed and begins dressing. She pulls her dress over her head, patting it smooth around the hips. Standing first on one foot then the other, she puts on her shoes. All the while I'm staring bullets at her.

"What?" she finally asks.

"What do you mean what? What the fuck was all that?"

"Yeah, sorry. Guess I had more to drink than I realized."

"That's it?" I say, my voice rising. "You know, you could have said. . ."

But she interrupts me with a peck and heads for the door. She turns the knob, then looks at me one last time.

"Telling you would have changed everything."  

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