so ambien can be a really good drug for people with bad insomnia. but when my doctor prescribed it to me, she looked me dead in the eyeballs and said, “take this when you are ready to sleep. keep it on your bedside table. when you are in bed, lights off, ready to go, take one of these pills. don’t take one of these pills at any other time.”
i was like, “yo, doc, recreational drug use is just not really on the menu. literally the most illegal thing i do is not put on a seatbelt in cabs.”
- YOU’LL NEVER CATCH ME, COPPERS!!!!
ambien was a really great temporary solution for me. i’d turn out the light, take the pill, and have crazy weird vivid dreams about dancing across the ocean to iceland and forming a professional wheelbarrow racing team with my RA, zach. finally i could sleep like a regular human person and not a crypt monster that only comes out at night to hiss at little children through their bedroom windows! “MOM DAD THERE’S A CRYPT MONSTER!!!” they would cry, but lo! i would already be gone, with my humpback and bearded chin, howling into the night.
- haha, you dumb kids.
where it all went wrong was some random weeknight, let’s say thursday because it IS thursday, i turned out the light, took my pill, and rolled over to go to sleep.
“goodnight,” i said to my roommate, olivia.
“goodnight,” olivia said.
i closed my eyes. i could hear the samba music. ICELAND HERE I COME. but just as that sweet sweet rhythm began to take me over, i jerked awake and realized i had COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN TO DO MY SCIENCE LAB.
so my options were as follows:
- go to sleep, and hand the lab in late. PROS: sleep. CONS: confront my deep-rooted use of grades as a reflection of self-worth.
- get up, do the lab, and then go immediately to sleep. PROS: LEAVE THOSE NEUROSES FOR ANOTHER DAY, SUCKER!! CONS: miss out on my sweet samba nights.
i obviously decided to get up.
- haha “confront your emotional baggage”??????? what do i look like to you, a CONCIERGE???????
“are you… sure this is a good idea?” olivia asked.
“it’s gonna take me like, twenty minutes tops,” i said, with all the confidence of someone who had never been under the influence of drugs before. “please. i’ll be FINE.”
my desk at the time had a little light on it, and a mirror that i used to do my makeup in the morning. the rest of the room was still pretty dark. i put my head down and did my lab as fast as i could, convinced that there was some sort of secret mile-marker where if i was awake after it my body would liquify like alex mac and i’d have to spend the rest of my life on the RUN from SHADY GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS.
- in retrospect, this may have been the ambien already at work.
so i finished the lab, triumphant. i turned to tell olivia that i had mastered mind over body and could now sleep peacefully, when i caught the eye of my own reflection in the desk mirror.
except it wasn’t my reflection. i felt sure of this. i wasn’t looking at me in a reflective surface. i was looking at a different me in a different dimension. not just a DIFFERENT me but an EVIL me, a me who liked CELERY and LOVED AYN RAND and frankly thought we all needed to calm down about “EQUALITY” because there were BIGGER ISSUES, LIKE WHY DON’T I HAVE AN INDOOR POOL??????? THERE’S YOUR INJUSTICE!!!!!!
this evil me wasn’t content with her own dimension anymore. she wanted mine.
“YOU CAN’T HAVE IT,” i told her, jerking my head left and right to try and catch her in a trap. but she was good. she was very good. she mimicked me exactly.
“i can’t have what?” olivia asked, surprised.
“shhhhhhh, not you, i’m not talking to you,” i hissed. i looked at her—and THERE EVIL ME WAS AGAIN, THIS TIME IN THE WINDOW. i dropped the floor. “AVOID REFLECTIVE SURFACES,” i said. “THAT’S WHERE THEY CAN GET YOU.”
olivia, who by the way was one of those super chill people for whom a raised eyebrow is the mollyhall equivalent of removing all my clothes and throwing myself into a lake, raised an eyebrow. “who can get me?”
"the OTHER DIMENSIONERS,” i told her impatiently.
- i should add here that this all seemed incredibly obvious to me at the time. like, the fact that olivia was QUESTIONING this seemed so preposterous to me??? OBVIOUSLY everything i was saying and doing made PERFECT SENSE.
- NEVER TRUST A DOPPELGANGER, OLIVIA!!!!!!!
i popped up quickly, shook my body around like i was trying to see if there was any spare change rattling around in it, and then ducked back down. but EVIL ME was too quick. every motion was mirrored.
HOW DID SHE DO IT?????
“i have to pee,” i announced, and crawled out of the room on my hands and knees, so as to not have to see any reflective surfaces. when i came back, olivia peered at me over the bottom of her bed.
“maybe you should go to bed now,” she suggested.
“WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU THINK I NEEDED TO GO TO BED?” i asked. “I FEEL GREAT. I’M GONNA FIGHT THIS BITCH AND I’M GONNA WIN!!! NOBODY PUTS MY DIMENSION IN THE CORNER!!!!!”
“okay,” olivia agreed, “but maybe you should go to bed, instead.”
olivia didn’t understand, though. i was finally seeing CLEARLY. i was at the start of a HERO’S JOURNEY. i was going to SAVE THE WORLD!!! it was dangerous, it was hard, and i’d probably have to hook up with a super hot guy at some point only to be BETRAYED to learn that he was WORKING FOR THE ENEMY, and then he’d come to my rescue at the last minute and say MOLLYHALL IT STARTED OUT LIKE THAT BUT THEN I FELL IN LOVE WITH YOU and i’d be like “omg idk if i can forgive you” and he’d be like “look into my eyes 4 five minutes” and i’d be like “you’ve made a good point” and then we would ALMOST KISS but be INTERRUPTED by EVIL ME and then i’d have to fight her TO THE DEATH, and although at several dicey moments we’d all think OH GOD EVIL ME IS GOING TO WIN!!! she obviously wouldn’t win because hello have you SEEN A MOVIE BEFORE??? WHAT IS THIS, YOUR FIRST MOVIE??????????
anyway that was the plan, until—
when i woke up in the morning, all the blinds were drawn, my mirror was face down on the desk, and i had inexplicably color-coded the food in olivia’s snack bin.