Morning Breath

by Jason Armstrong

I'd been waking up lately with drool all over my pillow; much more than normal.

It got so bad that I started to worry that I had a tumor or at least some kind of sinus problem. I wanted to ask my wife what she thought but we already hadn't had sex in a month. I didn't want to do or say anything to jeopardize a potential “situation” that might arise. Finally I decided to stay up and see for myself exactly what was going on.

The last time I remember looking at the clock it was two in the morning. I dozed off and woke up to my wife spitting into my mouth. I was so shocked that I didn't move or say anything. I’d never been in this sort of situation. She was sitting over me, letting a thick strand of saliva dribble into my mouth. After the initial shock wore off I rolled over, still pretending to be asleep. I wanted to ask her what the fuck she was doing but at that point I was wondering how dangerous the person I shared a bed with was. I was scared to turn away from this strange attack but she silently unstraddled me and went back to her side of the bed. After I was sure that she was asleep I got up and brushed my teeth. Twice.

My wife leaves for work before I do so we didn't see each other until the next evening. I didn't mention the events of the night before. Like I said, we hadn't had sex in a month and I didn't want to get into a fight. I figured if she wanted to bring it up I'd let her but I wasn't going to rock the boat. She didn't say anything and seemed to be in a good mood so as we were getting settled down for the night I decided to try to put the moves on her.

“Oh, honey,” she said. “I'm just so tired. I'm ready to pass out.”

I bet she was. She always was the first one to fall asleep. Now I knew why; she was resting up to spit in my mouth in the middle of the night. But I didn't say anything. Instead I rubbed her back, hoping to change her mind. My plan backfired. Within five minutes she was fast asleep. After staying up the night before I was wiped out but I needed to know what was going on. I got out of bed. I couldn’t sleep not knowing what would be done to me while I was unconscious. So I set up our video camera on the bookshelf and allowed myself to fall into a disturbed sleep.

The next morning I got up and checked the video right away. What I discovered was truly terrible. Around three she slowly sat up and mechanically got on top of me. On the video I could hear my snoring; I couldn't believe I didn't wake up but I am a fairly heavy sleeper. I was going to watch her spit in my mouth again and have physical evidence that I hadn’t dreamt the whole thing last night. But instead she began picking her nose, slowly and methodically, flicking the boogers into my mouth. Over and over she deposited them into my mouth and returned to her nose for more. The horror I felt bordered on an existential meltdown. Suddenly I could taste the dried snot and began to gag.

As I threw up I was sure I could taste the boogers I had involuntarily swallowed in the night and that just made me vomit even harder.

That day at work I couldn’t focus on anything else. I spent every moment when my supervisor wasn't watching trying to research what I was going through. But the situation was so odd that I didn't know what to Google. So I just wandered the Internet aimlessly. This was getting out of control. I couldn't go on like this; I wasn't thinking clearly in my exhaustion.

So I did what any man would do. I got myself a mannequin. Don't ask how; I've got a guy. The plan was to catch her in the act and confront her from a safe distance. I mean, what was her problem? Why couldn't she just come out and tell me? How immature. How insane. Normal people don’t act like that.

That night I didn't even try to hit on her. In the back of my mind I had hoped that would work to my advantage and make her want what she couldn't have. She didn't; instead she said she wanted me to watch P.S. I Love You with her. This, perhaps, was almost more shocking than anything else. This woman obviously had it in for me.

“Didn't you just watch that last week?”

She menacingly fluffed up the pillows on our bed to make herself more comfortable. “Yeah, but you wouldn't watch it with me. I thought maybe we could spend some time together.”

I didn't know what she was trying to pull but I certainly wasn't going to fall for it. “Uh, no, sorry. I've got some stuff to do.”

“Oh, okay.” She looked like she wanted to say something else but didn't. Instead she stared straight ahead at the FBI warning on the screen as if I had already left the room. So I left, went into the kitchen and made myself a pot of coffee into which I mixed a handful of caffeine pills, to make sure I would be on my guard later that night.

About halfway through the movie she fell asleep. I began to set up the room to execute my plan. I slipped the dummy into my spot in the bed and pulled the comforter over my fake self. In her sleep, she rolled over and threw her arm over it. She didn’t seem to notice the difference. That kind of hurt my feelings but I needed to stay focused. So I went to the other side of the room and sat in the chair. I put on a pair of night vision goggles I had also bought that day and in my hand I gripped a can of pepper spray.

I was too wired to sleep but I was so tired that my mind began to dream despite my being awake. After three days without a good nights rest my mind had definitely begun to play tricks on me. And at three, like clockwork, she sat up like a woman possessed. My back straightened in the chair and I gripped the pepper spray, ready for action. This time instead of straddling me she began punching the dummy, which she still thought was me, over and over again in the groin. Once again I was too shocked to move. After about five minutes of punching me in the balls she got up and walked out into the hallway.

Enough was enough. I jumped up and confronted her there.

“I got you! What the hell do you think you're doing?”

She didn't respond. Like a robot, she continued down the hall and into the kitchen. It was then I noticed that she didn't look right. Her eyes were open but they were somehow vacant. Even though I was right beside her, she didn't seem to notice me. I expected her to react to the fact that I had tricked her with my mannequin, or that I had a weapon aimed at her. But she didn't; instead she opened the fridge and took a drink from a jar of pickles.

“Honey? Are you sleepwalking?”

She didn't respond. Instead, she got back into bed and spooned with the dummy. I stayed up the rest of the night disposing of the evidence. I cut up the dummy and buried it in the trashcan under a pile of garbage.

The next evening I was so tired, scared and confused. In one last attempt at self-preservation, I offered to watch that movie with her. She seemed very excited, since she had fallen asleep the night before and missed the end. So I sat with her and pretended to enjoy it.

And ultimately my story had a happy ending.