When Brent Dunsmure woke up, his head felt like it was filled with helium. His throat was rough like sandpaper and his nose dripped several times before he could reach a tissue. He punched his pillow in frustration. He couldn’t afford to be sick today. Not today. It was the first day of his firm’s three day strategic planning session. His presence wasn’t expected, it was demanded.
Brent stumbled into the bathroom looking for anything that might help get through the day. He opened the medicine cabinet and three bottles fell on him. In the split second they fell, he recognized the bottle of daytime cough medicine. He swung for the bottle, knocking it hard against the wall. It cracked open landed in the toilet. The bowl slowly turned a pale orange.
He looked through the rest of the cabinet. His head began to throb. The only thing he found was a bottle of nighttime cough syrup. The warning label on the bottle was written in bright red letters. “Causes drowsiness. Do not use when operating heavy equipment.”
Brent looked at himself in the mirror. He looked like a cross between a chameleon and a Picasso painting. He looked down at the bottle floating in the toilet and weighed his options. He pounded his head against the wall as he thought. Screwing up his resolve, Brent grabbed the bottle of nighttime cough syrup and took a long swig.
The effects of the medicine didn’t hit him until he was driving to work. His eyeballs began to feel very warm. It was like they radiated heat. Brent pretended he was Superman shooting at other commuters with his laser eyes. He then realized how nice it felt when his eyelids closed. So relaxing. He settled into his seat and leaned back on the headrest.
Brent forced his eyes open. He had to stay awake. He pulled off for the largest coffee he could find. Everything was a blur right up to the point he found himself sitting at a boardroom table surrounded by his peers and all his supervisors. Mr. Tissot, the CEO of the company, was giving his opening remarks. An empty 24 oz coffee cup sat on the table in front of him. The room was warm. His seat was comfortable. His eyes felt warm and his eyelids were heavy. The only thing that kept him in from drifting off was the intense need to pee.
The next thing Brent knew, his buddy Carl was poking a pen in his ear. Brent opened up his eyes and looked slowly around the room. People were getting up to leave.
“Great work, Dunsmure. We value your out-of-the-box king of thinking,” said Mr. Tissot. He gave Brent a wink. Others smiled and nodded.
“Thanks,” said Brent. He looked at Carl in terror. “What did I do?” he whispered.
Carl punched him in the shoulder. “Warm eyeballs. Where do you come up with this stuff? I’m like, totally jealous. You’re like a guru or something. Teach me your wisdom, dude.”
“You can’t handle my wisdom, and don’t call me dude. What are ya, stuck in the 90s?” Brent ran to the bathroom before heading back to his cubicle.
Hillary from accounting walked by. “Best meeting ever. I didn’t know you were smart and funny. That’s so attractive. Maybe we can talk about your ideas sometime. After work, over dinner. Let me know.”
Brent watched her walk away. He grabbed the bottle of nighttime cough syrup and bolted for the elevator.
“Hey, where are ya goin’?” asked Carl.
Brent held up the medicine bottle. “I need more of this stuff.”