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
For the next three nights, the planning did continue—with Max, Tuesday and Raul convening at Chatterton House for troubleshooting and choreographing their roles in what Tuesday jokingly dubbed “Operation Bumblebee.”
“Let’s just hope Operation Bumblebee actually flies,” said Max on more than one occasion.
Late that Saturday afternoon, with the weather turning chilly as the sun went down, Max and Tuesday rendezvoused on the Quad dressed as regular students in coats and jeans with backpacks slung over their shoulders.
Tuesday had pulled her coiled hair into a Greek-style bun so it wouldn’t get in her way. “Care for an Altoid?” she asked, producing a tin from her coat pocket and opening it as the lights around the Quad flickered on. “They’re curiously strong.”
“You do realize these mints to which you’ve been addicted all these years contain sugar?” said Max as he popped an Altoid in his mouth.
“What can I say? They’re my one weakness.”
“You mean you only have one?”
“Only one major one.”
“Are you ready to do this, Tuesday?”
“I guess. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”
“Of all people I’ve ever heard quote Camus, Max, you’re perhaps the most surprising.”
“Sometimes I surprise myself.”
“Have you got everything?”
Max patted his backpack. “As far as I know. You?”
“As far as I know. Shall we?”
“Sure. Why not.”
Both taking a deep breath, trying to appear casual, the two friends strolled through the half-light to Lumina Hall. As they stood on the outside steps with a forced air of nonchalance, Max checked his watch.
“Is it five o’clock yet?” asked Tuesday.
“It just turned five.”
Raul was supposed to have rerouted the building’s surveillance cameras by then to a loop feed to allow their presence to go unrecorded.
“Let’s give it five more minutes,” suggested Tuesday. “Just in case Raul encounters any … technical difficulties.”
“I couldn’t agree more. Better safe than sorry.”
Five minutes later, nervous as cats, they entered by way of the front door (which was fortunately still open) into Lumina Hall’s echoing vestibule.
Encountering no one, on Raul’s advice they headed straight for the stairs. After ascending to the second floor, where Raul had identified several possible seminar rooms for hiding out, they found the light in their first option off and the door conveniently unlocked.
Once inside, Max switched on the overhead to make sure they were alone. The seminar room was relatively small, mostly occupied by a large oval table with twenty or so chairs encircling it.
Meanwhile, Tuesday retrieved a flashlight from her pack and used it just long enough to guide them—in the darkness that ensued after Max switched off the overhead—to a hiding place under the table where they could wait, with any luck, out of harm’s way.
“Here we are,” said Max, immediately conscious of how loud his own breathing sounded in the dark. “So far, so good.”
“Shall we check in with Raul?”
“Yeah, we’d better say hello before he starts to worry.”
“Oh, I’m pretty sure he’s already worried.”
“He’s not the only one.”
“Are you really worried?”
“I’m always worried, Tuesday.”
“Want another Altoid?”
“I think I need one.”
“Me, too. I find that Altoids can be a great comfort in times of stress.”
After they clipped on their wireless earpieces, Max said softly, “Raul, are you there?”
There was no answer.
“Come in, Raul,” said Tuesday. “Operation Bumblebee is underway.”
“Where the hell are you, Raul?” demanded Max. “This is just grand, Tuesday. He probably heard about a party and is halfway to Key West by now.”
“Take a Valium, mate. I’m right here.” Raul’s disembodied accent was a joy to hear over the encrypted airwaves. “I was just getting myself set up here at my laptop with some Chunky Monkey. Nothing soothes a hacker’s nerves like Ben & Jerry’s.”
“Have you locked the door to our dorm room like we discussed?” asked Max. “This is no time to be entertaining unexpected guests.”
“The door’s locked and all’s well with the world, Max.”
“How about the video loop?” asked Tuesday. “Is that up and running?”
“It’s been online since just before five.”
“So what do we do now?” asked Max.
“We wait,” said Raul, “while I eat ice cream.”
“Rub it in,” said Tuesday.
“That’s an interesting idea. Though I imagine it would be rather sticky.”
“Raul, do you ever take anything seriously?” asked Max.
“Only those things I laugh about.”
Seated in the darkness under the cramped table, Max recalled a conversation from long ago in which his father pointed out that he tended to make jokes when his thoughts were serious.
On the heels of Raul’s last quip, the memory hit Max like an epiphany—and he immediately discovered a new level of respect for his unorthodox roommate. “Fair enough,” he said. “How’s the Chunky Monkey?”
“Absolutely delicious. I simply must finish this pint of ice cream so I can stop eating it.”
While maintaining radio contact, the three friends fell silent with their own thoughts. Finally, Tuesday said, “At least, if we get caught in here, we can just say we were fooling around.”
“True,” replied Max.
“Perhaps you two should fool around,” suggested Raul. “Besides lending credibility to your alibi, a good snog would help pass the time. Plus, I could listen in.”
“Póg mo thóin,” said Tuesday.
“What, pray tell, does that mean?” inquired Raul.
“It’s Gaelic for ‘kiss my arse.’”
“Is that a threat or a promise?”
“Shut up, you two unrequited lovebirds! I think somebody’s coming,” whispered Max.
Sure enough, the door suddenly opened and the light flashed on. Holding their breath, hearts hardly beating, Max and Tuesday glimpsed a pair of scuffed work boots, probably belonging to a janitor, before the light went back out and the door shut again with a dull thud.
“All clear?” inquired Raul.
Max joined Tuesday in breathing a deep sigh of relief. “All clear,” he said.
“If things go according to plan,” said Raul, “that should be the end of the evening’s human encounters.”
“Meaning we still might have nonhuman encounters?” joked Tuesday nervously.
“With the two of you, anything’s possible. I’ve come to think of life with you guys in it as the New Paranormal.”
“Speaking of nonhuman encounters,” said Max, “please tell me you finished the Chunky Monkey.”
“I did indeed. I put the little blighter right out of its misery.”
“How inhuman of you,” said Tuesday.
“So how much longer must we crouch here in the shadows?” asked Max.
“I’d say give it another two and a half hours,” said Raul.
“Two and a half hours?!” groaned Tuesday.
“That puts it past eight. It’s unlikely anyone will still be hanging out in the Psychology Department at that hour on a Saturday night. I hope neither of you needs to visit the loo.”
“Fortunately, I went just before heading over to the Quad,” said Max.
“Me, too,” said Tuesday.
“That’s thinking ahead,” said Raul. “Tell you what. Why don’t you both get a little R&R before the fireworks start.”
“Are you monitoring the second floor?” asked Max.
“I’m monitoring most of the building.”
Max and Tuesday, in an effort to decompress and pass the time, took Raul’s advice and stretched out on their backs under the table with their packs for pillows. “What if we fall asleep?” asked Tuesday.
“I don’t recommend it,” said Raul. “The last thing we need is for Max to go levitating and dropping heavy objects.”
“Come on, you said I only dropped one object. And it wasn’t even very heavy.”
“But it was very loud.”
“Don’t worry. I drank so much coffee this afternoon I’ll probably never sleep again.”
“I wouldn’t count on it,” said Tuesday.
Growing still and quiet while remaining alert, Max didn’t dream, but he did daydream. In his mind’s eye, he traveled back to the Florida of his childhood, where he saw himself—in a sort of time-lapse in which he rapidly grew bigger and faster—racing his father out to Dolphin Point again and again.
Then the scene switched. Max watched his father meticulously gluing solar panels onto the model of the International Space Station, surprised at how dexterous he was given the size of his hands. “Astronaut training,” explained Captain Diver, glancing sideways with a grin.
“I often think about him, too,” said Tuesday. “It’s kind of strange—because I didn’t really know him that well.”
Max stiffened with the realization that his daydreams, in Tuesday’s presence, weren’t exactly private. “You were reading my mind, weren’t you?”
“Yes. By accident, really. I can’t always control it.”
“What’s it like?”
“Reading your mind?”
Max considered this perspective. “I can understand why that might be the case,” he admitted.
“But it can also be … inspiring.”
“It’s hard to explain. I get a sense you’re close to being able to … embrace your destiny.”
“Embrace my destiny?”
“You’re doing that thing again where you repeat other people’s questions.”
“Sorry. I was just trying to get clear on your point.”
“That would be difficult. I’m not even clear on it. I’ve just always had a feeling you were meant to do something extraordinary with your life. I felt that way from the moment I met you.”
“Well, for what it’s worth, the feeling has always been mutual.”
“And now here we are: in the middle of the Hero’s Journey.”
“Funny, nobody ever told me the Hero’s Journey involved breaking and entering.”
Tuesday laughed—a welcome sound under the circumstances. “That just goes to show there are as many different types of journeys as there are heroes.”
“I suppose so. Sometimes I feel like pinching myself really hard just to see if I can wake up from all this paranormal stuff.”
“I think I know what your mother would say in response to a statement like that.”
“What would she say?”
“That there’s no such thing as the paranormal—only infinite varieties of normal we’ve yet to comprehend.”
“You’re right. That’s exactly what she’d say.”
“This is Chunky Monkey to Operation Bumblebee,” said Raul. “Do you read, Bumblebee?”
“We read,” said Max. “What’s up, Chunky?”
“It looks like we have more action on the second floor. Possibly a grad student. Keep quiet.”
“Roger that,” whispered Tuesday.
After a couple of minutes, Raul’s disembodied voice spoke again. “Excellent. The coast is clear.”
“How much longer before we get this show on the road?” asked Max.
“Half an hour,” replied Raul.
“Jesus,” moaned Tuesday.
“I think I’m getting a cramp,” said Max.
“Is it that time of the month?” asked Raul.
Twenty minutes later, Tuesday asked, “Do you have any final words of wisdom before we’re thrown to the wolves, Raul?”
“I’m afraid I’ve never uttered a single word of wisdom in my life, Tuesday.”
“Have you put on your winter beanies yet?”
“Not yet,” said Max.
“Well, now’s the time. Make sure your earpieces are covered so that—in the unlikely event you run into someone—you don’t look like you work for the Secret Service. And while you’re at it, go ahead and slip on your gloves as well.”
Max and Tuesday fished out their knitted beanies from their packs and placed them snugly over their ears, then pulled on the thin leather gloves Raul had also recommended so no incriminating fingerprints would be left behind. “Done,” said Tuesday.
“Is the coast still clear?” asked Max.
“As far as I can tell,” said Raul.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” asked Tuesday.
“There’s no way for me to know what’s actually happening inside Suite 386,” said Raul. “I can just show you the door. You have to walk through it.”
“With blind faith, apparently,” said Max.
“Not blind,” said Tuesday. “The Bradelring should give an indication if there’s anyone with a mind to read inside the suite.”
“What if there’s somebody in there without a mind?” asked Max.
“Then we’re in trouble.”
“Enough twaddle,” said Raul. “Are you two prepared to take the plunge?”
“I’m a Diver—and you’re asking me that?” said Max.
“Well, are you?”
“Sure. Why not.”
“Let’s get this over with,” said Tuesday. “And then I’d like a caipirinha, Raul.”
“Make that two,” said Max.
“With pleasure. If you pull this off, you will have earned a stiff drink.”
“So are we good to go?” asked Max.
“You’re good to go. May the road rise up to meet you. And may the wind be always at your back.”
“Thanks for the Irish blessing,” said Tuesday. “Let’s just hope we have the luck of the Irish.”
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.