As if I'd know what it'd mean, you said you saw me in a half-forgotten dream.

It seems I'm to beat to quarters with a great hullaballoo and giddy whoops seeped in the intoxicating fumes of drunken victory snatched from the remains of my most recently drained bottle of wine.

In vino veritas, I can’t recall its vintage. It must've been halfway decent since I rarely drink swill. Well, except for most days, all day, and twice on payday.

That's hardly habit-forming or evidence of a malfunction in my cranial chemistry. Hopefully, it’s a cosmic joke, not the quirk of a few dozen misfiring synapses.

They were so damnably close to the correct formula but fudged it when the overseer was on his smoke break.

I can hardly bemoan their shoddy craftsmanship because I’ve cut a few corners in my time on Earth. I think I should get my brain judiciously examined, but my doctor assures me he can’t do it until I die.

Trying to win a smile, I tell him not to threaten me with a good time. Stone-faced, he neglects to oblige.

Thankfully, his nurse’s eyes crinkle above her surgical mask. Huzzah! My mostly mediocre performance didn't bore the entire audience to tears.

Perhaps, she’s doing it to be polite and put my insecure mind at ease. That, indeed, I’m not the butt of the joke; she’s laughing with me, never at me.

I’d take a sardonic chuckle thrown in the direction of anywhere I’ve been in the past few years to feel like someone has seen my shadow flit from then to there.

Lingering overlong on thoughts solitary, I probably qualify for clinical neuroticism.

Or maybe that's the hyper-focus imbued by over-imbibed Adderall, ensuring I ingest only nicotine, regret, and caffeine. Then again, neurotic’s just another word for cliche as starving artist is a trope most passe.

I can't appropriate Victorian-era opium nor possess the inclination to contract consumption, tuberculosis, or whichever wasting disease best catches your fancy.

Though a failure to thrive really did wonders for the old cheekbones, my God, those portraits were sharp enough to cut your morning toast with, and no, I don’t want any beans on my portion, thank you very much.

Anglophobia is obviously alive and well because that’s one gastronomic ideal you shan’t imprint upon my poor, unwitting lizard brain.

Painfully, you nudge me in the ribs. Inhaling sharply, I shoot a look that screams, what pray tell, was that for?

Smiling knowingly, you raise an eyebrow almost imperceptibly, your forehead perfectly unlined by life’s laughable absurdity.

You’re unperturbed by the troubles of foolish mortals like myself, who suddenly understands he's overused the phrase 'lizard brain' with hackneyed clumsiness.

My flash of recognition must be evident because you stifle a snort and squeeze my leg reassuringly. Yes, I’m alive, and you’re still sitting next to me.

I’m the luckiest son of a gun this side of the Rio Grande, and though not a betting man, I’d wager your brain against anyone across the land.

You’d run rings around their roses while collecting pocketfuls of posies, and did you know that that nursery rhyme is about the bubonic plague?

With a glance, you hush me as that’s the seventh time I’ve mentioned that anecdote at your family’s potluck.

They're sadly steadfastly unilluminated to the truth scribbled in your old high school journal, reminding us that real eyes realize real lies.

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