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The Sweet Life
by Karl E. Birmelin


At 8:00 AM the alarm clock explodes, telling Parakeet Jells that it is time to wake up. He hits the snooze button. At 8:07 the alarm clock explodes again, telling Parakeet Jells to wake up, or else.

He turns on the television that is tuned to the weather channel to read the temperature that politely scrolls across a little blue box on the bottom of the screen. If the temperature is 10 degrees Fahrenheit or less, Parakeet Jells will wear his thermal underwear underneath a pair of cotton khakis and a wool t-shirt. Over that he will wear either a lambs wool sweater or a cotton sweatshirt. Wrapped around all this will be a white suede jacket. If the temperature is between 11 and 32 degrees, he will subtract the thermal underwear. If the temperature is below 45 but above 32 degrees, Parakeet Jells will wear a cotton t-shirt and a thin fleece overcoat. If the temperature is between 46 and 60 degrees, he will wear a thin sweater, no overcoat. Between 61 and 70, he will wear jeans and a t-shirt. Anything above 71 degrees, naturally, would be shorts and t-shirt weather.

At 9:00 AM, 1 hour after waking, Parakeet Jells will smoke 1 Camel cigarette until he chokes on the filter. After that, he will smoke 1 cigarette every 2 hours, the only exception being after meals.

At 3:00 PM, 7 hours after waking, Parakeet Jells will eat his 1 meal of the day, which will be composed of a low fat, low calorie, high protein food product that will hopefully resemble, if only vaguely, a slab of muscle cut from the hide of some docile breed of fauna whose race has been reduced to being raised for the explicit purpose of ritual slaughter. The docile fauna will not cry. It has no clue what is going on.

At 8:35 AM Parakeet Jells will get in his car and drive to work. His seatbelt will be fastened securely. He will arrive at work within 15 to 20 minutes, depending on whether or not the blacktopped veins and arteries he will navigate to get there are congested or not. He will cruise at a safe yet expeditious pace of 60 miles per hour, exactly 5 over the speed limit in order to remain within the legal parameters set by the Suffolk County Department Of Justice and still not feel like he is under the thumb of the men with the guns. They protect him.

When Parakeet Jells arrives at work he will say “Hello” to every mechanized piece of meat he makes eye contact with. He will be a good human being.