The heinous sound of an alarm clock at an hour so early it shouldn’t be named.
He had given himself extra time. Matt had hoped, anxiously, as he was trying to get to sleep, that this fluke would rectify itself in the morning. But just in case, he had allotted himself two hours before class for the attempt.
Late last night, after clearing off his desk, he lay in bed, waiting for sleep. His eyes didn’t want to close. He shifted every few minutes, forcing himself to appear asleep, in case simply making himself look like a corpse would will his body into drowsiness. ‘I should be asleep,’ he thought. ‘I have a lot to do tomorrow. I need to wake up early!’ The anxiety crept in. He checked the clock. ‘Well, now I only have 6 hours of sleep. Great.’ He waited anxiously for sleep to come. But sleep doesn’t come when you’re anxious. A watched pot never boils.
Eventually, inevitably, he fell asleep. And now it was morning.
The red stapler glared at him, angling the early sunlight off of its shiny curved surface and onto the wall by his face. It was inviting him, mocking him.
Matt padded across the floor to the desk, ignoring the taste in his mouth telling him to brush his teeth because he just woke up. He slid open the drawer and dragged his nine pages out of its depths. He placed the paper in his left hand, stapler in his right.
Three more tries. One fruitlessly hit air; the other two were nearly-bloody technical failures.
This was getting ridiculous. He couldn’t remember this ever being a problem before. He had stapled millions of things in his life! Hadn’t he? Matt thought back to school projects in elementary school and book reports in middle school. He had the memories- he even remembered the feel of spongy construction paper between the cool metal of the classroom stapler. The satisfying ‘thunk’ it made when he leaned on it, the success of the staple’s closure.
So what was different now?