Heavy pounding on the door rattled the already chipping paint from the walls and ceiling. Flakes of paint danced in the air and fell to the ground, an early snow in late October. Yet, it did not rouse the occupant of the unit. Like a bear in hibernation, the man slumbered on, completely unconcerned with the outside world.
“It’s a gift,” he always explained when asked how he was able to sleep uninterrupted by storms and sirens, bright lights and bedbug bites.
“What if there is a fire?” his mother asked out of concern one day when she discovered that her grown son had slept through two alarm clocks and missed a job interview.
“Ma, that’s part of the gift. See, I didn’t want that job anyways and the gift made sure I didn’t have to worry about turning them down. Don’t worry though, if there was a fire, the gift would wake me up. It would never let me burn.”
This logic and misplaced confidence did not convince Ma that her boy possessed any special ability or skills other than extraordinary laziness. If Ma only knew of the curls of the smoke slowing filling her son’s room while he slept, she could have confirmed her suspicions that the gift would indeed one day allow him to go up in flames.
The pounding continued at the door and Kane slowly returned to reality, he felt himself involuntarily and cruelly pulled from the dark, safety of sleep. Before opening his eyes, he scratched at his chest and yawned, resistant to entering into the light of day. He knew why there was a man impatiently standing on the other side of the door with sore, red knuckles with a ring of keys in other hand. He also assumed that the man with sore knuckles and keys was standing next to a police officer.
Still, Kane wasn’t about to leave the warmth of his bed. Instead of answering the door, Kane pulled the blanket up around his chicken-neck, snuggled down deeper and closed his eyes, grateful for his gift.