This is an important and timely question explored in the highly acclaimed spiritual novel, SNOOZE: A STORY OF AWAKENING, winner of the 2015 National Indie Excellence Award for New Age Fiction.
Written with young adult and young-at-heart readers in mind, SNOOZE further proved its literary merit by being selected as a 2016 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Finalist in the Young Adult-Coming of Age category and receiving an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Beach Book Festival Prize competition in the General Fiction category.
You’re invited to join—either with eyes or ears—Max Diver, a.k.a. “Snooze,” along the razor’s edge of a quest to rescue his astronaut father from a fate stranger than death in the exotic, perilous Otherworld of sleep.
This inspiring tale interweaves a plethora of paranormal and metaphysical subjects, from Bigfoot and enlightenment to the Loch Ness Monster and time travel via the Bermuda Triangle.
In her review of SNOOZE published in INDIE SHAMAN Magazine, June Kent had this to say about what she described as “superlative fiction”: “Engrossing, entertaining and occasionally humorous, SNOOZE also takes a look at a wide range of subjects including levitation, telepathy, lucid dreaming, spirit animals, parallel universes and shamanic-like journeying, giving a wide range of information effortlessly absorbed as you enjoy the story as well as much food for thought.”
Naturally, your generous review would be greatly appreciated even if you simply enjoy the full text now being presented on this blog and numerous podcast platforms. Keep in mind that paperback and ebook versions are for sale. A complimentary online version is also available for your reading pleasure.
SNOOZE: A STORY OF AWAKENING
By Sol Luckman
Tuesday and her mother arrived just past noon, pulling into the driveway in their dusty black Winnebago and getting out in shorts and T-shirts under which they were wearing bikinis.
Max and his father were waiting in swim trunks and T-shirts themselves. Just in the past few days, the weather had gone from chilly for South Florida to unseasonably warm, bordering on hot, at nearly eighty degrees under a neon blue sky.
The plan was to spend the afternoon at the beach, then return for dinner and a movie, before capping off the evening by watching Cape Carnival’s fireworks display over the Gulf.
“You’re here!” said Max as he approached the van.
“Where else would we be?” said Tuesday through her open window, staring cheerfully with oversized eyes from behind her glasses. “Your face looks almost normal. Where you got punched, I mean.”
“Can we help with anything?” asked Captain Diver.
“Sure,” said Maizy, who climbed out and casually squeezed Max’s shoulder with fingernails freshly painted red to match her fiery hair. “Why don’t you two grab our bags and we’ll carry the presents.”
“Will do,” said the Captain.
“Careful with mine. It’s the canvas tote. I stashed a bottle of Burgundy in it for later.”
Watching their somewhat awkward greeting, which felt polite but stiff, Max wondered if his father and Maizy (who lived not in different worlds but, arguably, in different galaxies) could actually get along—or if it was a classic case of an apple and an orange. Then again, his mother had been a nectarine.
“Lovely day,” said Captain Diver, holding open the front door for the ladies, who each carried a large rectangular present (Maizy’s was a good bit bigger) wrapped in metallic silver paper.
“It’s a beauty,” Maizy agreed.
“It’s hot,” said Tuesday.
Mother and daughter placed their presents on the coffee table, while father and son set the two bags on the couch.
“I’m thirsty,” said Tuesday.
“Can I get you something to drink?” asked Max.
“What have you got?”
“Well, you’ll be pleased to know I made Dad promise not to buy any more soft drinks. I’m taking care of my pineal gland,” said Max with a wink. “We’ve got grapefruit juice, lemonade, iced tea, and Perrier.”
“And sangria!” said Captain Diver. “For the adults.”
“Too bad,” said Tuesday. “I’ll have a Perrier.”
“What would you like, Maizy?” asked Max.
“Make that two,” she said. “If I start drinking this early, I’ll fall asleep before the fireworks.”
“Coming right up.”
“I’ll help,” said Tuesday.
“Is this weird for you?” whispered Max as he led Tuesday into the kitchen.
“You mean my mom and your dad?”
“Not particularly. She thinks he’s cute.”
“What do you think?”
“I think he’s cute, too.”
“No. I mean about the two of them getting together.”
“Oh. Well, I really don’t mind. They’re grownups, after all. What about you?”
“I just want to make sure, whatever happens, we’re still friends.”
Tuesday wiggled the gold bracelet on her wrist alongside her signature toothy smile. “You worry too much, Max. We’ll always be friends.”
An hour later, having chatted over drinks around the coffee table, the four trekked the two blocks to Oceanside Beach armed with beach towels in beach bags, a cooler Max’s father had packed with bottled water and ham sandwiches, snorkels and fins, a paddleball set, and two boogie boards.
“Isn’t ‘Oceanside Beach’ redundant?” wondered Tuesday as they made their away across the sand sprinkled with broken seashells.
“I also thought the same thing myself, too, as well,” quipped Max.
“That’s pretty good. That’s almost literary of you, Max.”
“They’re like two peas in a pod,” Captain Diver remarked.
“I’m happy for them,” replied Maizy. “They both needed a sounding board.”
“Because lately I’ve been sounding bored,” commented Tuesday, overhearing her mother.
Given the uncommon weather and the fact it was a holiday, the beach could have been a lot more crowded. They settled in at a spot near the lifeguard stand directly in front of Lighthouse Rock, aka Dolphin Point, jutting out into the Gulf.
“I don’t think we’ll be doing much boogie-boarding,” observed Max in light of the uncommon number of shell fragments on the beach, which posed a risk to both board and rider.
“Let’s go shelling instead,” said Tuesday.
“You know, looking for shells.”
“Care for some paddleball?” Captain Diver asked Maizy, brandishing the paddles.
“I’m game. But only as long as you actually try to beat me. No deferring to the so-called fair sex, all right?”
“Let’s leave them to their little mating ritual,” whispered Tuesday.
Max chuckled as they left their parents to their game and strolled down the beach, feeling the salty Gulf breeze on their skin and listening to the cries of the gulls and the sound of countless shells clicking as they were pushed along by the tepid waves lapping their ankles.
Stopping suddenly, Tuesday picked up a gray-white, perfectly formed sand dollar, its five-pointed design resembling a symmetrical plant leaf. “Won’t you look at that,” she said, holding it in her outstretched palm for Max to see. “I don’t think I’ve ever found a whole sand dollar before.”
“It’s called a test. It’s the endoskeleton of the sand dollar sea urchin. I’ve only found a few whole ones myself.”
“It’s beautiful. There’s another one!”
Sure enough, only a few feet away, amid the shell fragments on the wet sand, lay another unblemished sand dollar, smaller and even more delicate.
Even as Tuesday bent to pick up the second sand dollar, Max spotted a third completely whole one and scooped it up before a fresh wave wrapped around his knees. “I found one!” he yelled.
“Me, too!” yelled Tuesday. “Another one! No, two more!”
For some reason owing to the mysteries of weather and ocean currents, there were sand dollars everywhere. Max and Tuesday zigzagged along the waterline, in rhythm with the waves, waiting to pounce as fresh deposits of sand dollars spilled up out of the sea. “This is completely crazy!” exclaimed Tuesday.
“Tell me about it!”
“Have you ever seen anything like it?”
It was like fishing when all you had to do to catch something was throw your line in the water. The experience was joyous, blissful even, and made time disappear.
The two friends became more and more daring, pushing up against the incoming waves, stuffing their pockets with sand dollars, cradling sand dollars against their T-shirts. Finally, wet from head to toe, and covered in sand, they simply couldn’t carry a single sand dollar more and headed back, exhausted but victorious.
“Look, Mom, we’re rich!” shouted Tuesday when they came within earshot of the two paddleballers.
So fierce was the competition Captain Diver had stripped off his shirt, Maizy was down to her turquoise bikini, revealing all but the tip of her thunderbird tattoo’s tail, and both players were drenched with sweat and dusted with a fine layer of sand.
“Wow!” said Maizy between staccato breaths.
“Wow’s right!” said Max’s father, breathing hard himself. “You guys must have robbed the sand dollar bank!”
“What do sand dollars mean, Mom, in terms of animal wisdom?” wondered Tuesday.
“Animal wisdom?” asked Captain Diver.
“You know, Dad,” chided Max. “When animals teach you things.”
“I have no idea,” said Maizy. “We’ll have to do some research.”
“In New Zealand, they’re called sea cookies and snapper biscuits,” said Max.
“How did you know that?” asked Tuesday.
“I did a report on them one year for biology class.”
“Anybody else hungry?” asked Captain Diver.
Everybody was famished. They devoured the ham sandwiches, which Max pointed out were “mostly organic,” and downed a bottle of water apiece. Then the kids stashed their loot of sand dollars in the empty cooler, stripped down to their bathing suits, and joined their parents for a swim.
“The water feels awesome!” said Tuesday, soaking in the moment, literally.
“It’s perfect!” agreed Max.
It did feel great—and everybody was in good spirits. Captain Diver and Maizy dunked each other, laughing and spluttering, several times, causing Max and Tuesday to roll their eyes. Really, though, beneath their distant adolescent veneer, they were both happy their parents seemed happy together.
If Max was self-conscious of his lanky body on land, in the water it was a different story. On land, playing basketball or soccer, for example, he was all left feet; but in the water he was graceful and surprisingly powerful given his slender build.
He and his father had a habit, whenever they swam at Oceanside Beach, of racing each other out to Lighthouse Rock and back—about five hundred yards roundtrip.
As a dyed-in-the-wool Navy man, his father prided himself above all other athletic talents on his aquatic skills. He always made sure to beat Max handily to show that, in astronaut parlance, he still had the right stuff.
Today was a little different, though. Captain Diver produced two pairs of goggles from his pockets, handed Max one, and strapped on the other as he yelled, jumping the gun, “Race you!”
He got a decent head start as Max fumbled with his goggles, before he too shot up off the sandy seafloor into a windmilling crawl, quickly catching up with Captain Diver. Tuesday and Maizy urged them both on with shrill cries from the receding shoreline.
As Lighthouse Rock grew larger and larger straight ahead, feeling a new strength in his almost twelve-year-old frame, Max pulled ahead of his father. He touched the rock first, by at least a couple seconds, which he had never done, but he also realized the race was only half over.
Pushing off and starting back toward shore with as much strength as he could muster, Captain Diver still trailing, Max felt something bump against his belly from beneath the water’s surface.
It almost took his breath—more from surprise than physical force. Hoping it wasn’t a shark, he stopped as his father sped past spraying water with his strokes, and peered underwater while swimming in a circular motion.
This time whatever it was bumped sideways against his shoulder. Raising his head above the water, he came face-to-face with a bottlenose dolphin grinning at him with a huge mouth full of glistening teeth and sparkling, intelligent eyes.
Max had occasionally seen dolphins in the Gulf, but he had never been approached by one. Bottlenose dolphins, in particular, tended to steer clear of humans—making this impromptu encounter all the more surprising.
The dolphin grinned wider and made a loud clicking noise, as if trying to tell him something, then nudged against his shoulder once again in what struck Max as yet another attempt at communication.
“What’s your name?” he asked, reaching up carefully and petting the dolphin’s slick snout.
“Click-click-click-click-click,” went the dolphin, swaying beside him in the swells, its fins resting on his shoulders in a strangely hypnotic aquatic waltz—before clicking again, spinning away, and disappearing like a spirit into the deep blue.
Captain Diver was already standing on the sand, stretching after winning the race, beside Tuesday and her mother, who were sunbathing on beach towels and, given their fair skin, already starting to turn pink.
“Good try, old sport,” said his father in his best Great Gatsby imitation. “Better luck next time.”
“You’ll never guess what just happened,” said Max, bending over and catching his breath.
“What happened?” asked Tuesday.
“What kind of animal wisdom do dolphins represent?”
“You saw a dolphin?” asked Maizy.
“More than that. I just … danced with one.”
“Cool!” said Tuesday.
“Interesting,” said Maizy, sitting up and staring at Max intensely with what felt like X-ray vision. “Some cultures say they’re nature’s escorts.”
“Escorts? Where?” asked Max.
“To the world beyond.”
“You mean, like, the afterlife?”
“Not exactly. Though maybe that, too. I’m talking about the reality that parallels our own.”
“Dewey Larson called it time-space,” interjected Max’s father, to everyone’s amazement.
“Time-space?” said Maizy.
“The counterpart to space-time, which is where we live.”
“Who was Dewey Larson?” asked Max.
“An engineer who developed something called Reciprocal Theory. He wrote several books about the interface between what he called the material and the cosmic sectors, or space-time and its counterpart, time-space.”
“And you know about this how, Dad?”
“Your mother. She wrote a brilliant article on it.”
“Now you tell me.”
“I thought you didn’t believe in this kind of thing, Thomas,” said Maizy, examining Captain Diver with new eyes … and perhaps new respect.
“I never said I didn’t believe. As a fellow engineer, I find it a rather fascinating notion, theoretically anyway, that our reality could be constantly interacting with a mirror reality.”
“Sort of like Alice in Wonderland,” said Tuesday.
“Yes, now that you mention it,” agreed Captain Diver. “Reciprocal Theory explains a lot of strange phenomena, like near-death experiences and so-called free energy technologies.”
“And visions?” said Maizy, considering this new perspective.
“And visions. According to Larson, time-space is as real as space-time—and is an actual landscape where duration, or time, becomes distance, that we can travel to in our dreams,” said Captain Diver, coolly watching Max as he spoke.
“Far out!” said Tuesday.
With the sensation that he was passing through the Looking-Glass, Max stared at his father as if he had never seen him before—simultaneously impressed and unnerved at the thought that, after all these years, he still knew so little about him.
Copyright © Sol Luckman. All Rights Reserved.
Introducing Sol Luckman’s new visionary novel, CALI THE DESTROYER. Learn about the single most censored story in the history of the human race—and why it matters today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sol Luckman is a pioneering ink and acrylic painter whose work has been featured on mainstream book covers, the fast-paced trading game BAZAAR, and at least one tattoo on a female leg last sighted in Australia.
Sol is also an acclaimed author of fiction, nonfiction, and humor. His books include the international bestselling CONSCIOUS HEALING, which you can read free online, and its popular sequel, POTENTIATE YOUR DNA, available in English and Spanish.
Sol’s popular book of humor and satire, THE ANGEL’S DICTIONARY: A SPIRITED GLOSSARY FOR THE LITTLE DEVIL IN YOU, received the 2017 National Indie Excellence Award for Humor and was selected as a Finalist in the Humor category of both the 2018 International Book Awards and the 2018 Best Book Awards.