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
Seriously, what is that ghastly thing?” insisted Raul, sitting up and examining the caul in Max’s hand with wide-eyed, morbid fascination.
“It’s a caul,” answered Max, still trying to process how it got there.
“You mean one of those creepy, membraney things some blokes are born with?”
“I have a second cousin in Porto Alegre who came in with one of those. A savant. Retarded, really. To this day, the poor blighter can’t wipe his own bum—but he can decode any computer encryption on the planet in ten seconds flat. Where did you get it?”
“I was born with it.”
“Did you hear that, Pablo? Our roommate’s birthday suit included a caul.” Pablo, seated on Raul’s bed, looked impressed. “What sort of supernatural things can you do, Max?”
Raul’s question prompted Max to replay the old dream sequence of himself pounding on the cockpit of the Tempus Fugit—unable, despite the fact that he was “gifted,” to keep his father from being swallowed by the vortex … before he disappeared for real. “Apparently, things that don’t matter much,” he said.
“Nothing. I was just thinking out loud.”
“Well, enough of this introspection. It’s depressing, quite frankly. Shall I tell you about fall break in Key West?”
“Go right ahead.”
“Righto. First off, I met this amazing young lady from Panama with a most intriguing tattoo … Good Lord, you look an absolute fright, Max. Was it something I said?”
“I’ve been sick. I’m still sick.”
“So that’s why you’re a whiter shade of pale?”
“That would be my guess.”
“You have the look of someone who’s never actually slept before.”
“Funny you should say that.”
“I used to be able to fall asleep at the drop of a hat. I could practically fall asleep standing up. My father went so far as to nickname me ‘Snooze.’”
“Snooze, eh? I rather like that. It suits you somehow. What happened?”
“You said you used to be able to sleep anytime. That implies you can’t any longer.”
“It’s … a long story.”
“All the good ones are.”
“Maybe some other time.”
“As you wish. I think I’ll make my way down to the kitchen and try to rustle up some grub. Are you feeling peckish? Would you like me to bring you something?”
At the mention of food, Max heard his stomach grumbling. Maybe he was peckish. “What are you going to have?” he asked.
“God only knows. Whatever the ravenous beasts of Chatterton House have left in the larder.”
“Well, I’ll try it, whatever it is.”
“That’s a good sport. I’ll endeavor to make sure you’re not disappointed.”
After Raul left, Max dialed Cape Carnival on his cell phone. Aunt Nadine answered on the third ring: “Hello?” She sounded older than he remembered, her voice a little crackly, though it hadn’t even been two months since he last saw her.
“Aunt Nadine? It’s me. Max.”
“Max! How are you, child? It sounds like you have a terrible cold.”
“I’m okay. Really. Listen, I was just thinking about my caul,” he said, looking at it in his palm. “I don’t suppose you still have it, by any chance?”
“Why, naturally I still have it. It’s not the kind of thing I would just throw away.”
“No, of course not. I was just wondering, Aunt Nadine … Would you be willing to get it out and measure it for me?”
“If it’s not too much trouble.”
“What’s this about, Max?”
“I … I’m writing a paper for biology about children born with the caul—and I’m having trouble remembering my caul’s exact dimensions.” When his aunt still seemed hesitant, he added, “It has to be scientific, Aunt Nadine.”
“Well, in that case, give me a minute.”
Max waited while she located the wooden box in which she kept the caul. He could hear her opening it on the other end of the line—and then he heard her surprised intake of breath. “What is it, Aunt Nadine?”
“It’s … gone! Your caul is gone, Max. It’s nowhere to found.”
“That’s really weird.”
“That doesn’t begin to describe it, I’m afraid. You didn’t take it, by any chance?”
“I wouldn’t be calling if I’d taken it.”
“Then where on earth could it have gotten to?”
“I have no idea. But I imagine it will turn up, sooner or later.”
“I’m so sorry, Max. I pride myself on being responsible. Especially with other people’s belongings.”
“I wouldn’t worry about it, Aunt Nadine. It was just a piece of skin.”
“A very rare piece of skin.”
“I’ve got to go.”
“Please forgive me, Max.”
“There’s nothing to forgive.”
“Who was that?” asked Raul, shutting the door behind him with the toe of his Italian leather sandal as he reentered the room carrying two steaming ceramic bowls.
“My Aunt Nadine.”
“How’s the old bag these days?”
“Fit as a fiddle.”
“I think you’ll be impressed. Despite limited options, I managed to create a culinary masterpiece.”
“What is it?”
“My favorite nanny’s oatmeal, may she rest in peace. Complete with golden raisins, gobs of cinnamon, loads of sugar, and a dash of nutmeg.”
Max hadn’t allowed himself to come within ten yards of a bowl of oatmeal since he turned twelve. The very word, oatmeal, was like kryptonite to his emotional stability—what was left of it after losing his best friend and being subjected to a nightmare that, by all indications, actually happened.
“Yes, oatmeal,” answered Raul. “But not just any old oatmeal. Porridge. The best bloody porridge your taste buds ever encountered. Enough to make you long for Olde England.”
There’s a famous scene at the beginning of Marcel Proust’s epic novel, Remembrance of Things Past, in which the adult protagonist suddenly revisits his childhood in microscopic detail after merely eating a cookie he loved as a boy.
Having never read this book, Max had no way of realizing he was on the cusp of experiencing his own “Proustian” moment.
Like one of those dreams where your feet are planted in cement, Max was powerless to stop the approach of the oatmeal. Raul seemed to hand him the bowl and accompanying spoon in super slow motion.
Time congealed to an excruciating crawl in which the very steam from the concoction appeared not to rise, but merely to hover, like clouds in a photograph, above the bowl in mid-air.
Finally, the unmistakable smell of oatmeal made its way into Max’s olfactory system. Not to be denied, the scent penetrated his blocked sinuses. As it did, it cut loose a veritable barrage of memories that surfaced all at once from their hiding places, willy-nilly, slicing Max’s insides like so many razorblades.
Memories of his father, Captain Thomas Diver, and his horrible oatmeal, which now Max would have given anything to eat by the pound.
Memories of flying over the Everglades together, assembling toy airplanes and spacecraft, sailing kites in a stiff Gulf breeze, racing out to Dolphin Point and back, eating turkey sandwiches and watching Star Trek together on the couch until Captain Diver tucked his sleeping son in bed …
Taking a bite of hot oatmeal, Max burst into long-overdue tears. Nevertheless, he was surprised at how hungry he was. His shoulders jerked as he wept into the oatmeal he was eating.
“Come on, Max, give a guy a break. It doesn’t taste that bad. Besides, you’re making it worse by adding salt.”
Max wept harder and harder as he ate faster and faster. Soon the oatmeal was gone—but Max kept crying.
“Are you quite all right, old boy?”
“No, Raul. I’m not. I’ll never be all right again.”
“Never’s a long time.”
“Never.” Max shook his head resolutely. “Never. Never. Never.”
“Because,” Max managed to articulate in his freshly reawakened grief, “my dad left me. I’m all alone in the world.”
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.