#4 How to Cure Insomnia (LASL)

Author Note: Featuring Rob Buckley submitted by InfraGreen

Entry No. 4 How To Cure Insomnia 

Sleep. It’s not something that comes easily to me. I tend to keep odd hours, mostly because in college, I did my best work in the middle of the night. Procrastination and too much caffeine pretty much set me up to be best friends with insomnia.

When I would try to sleep, I would meet the more positive twin of insomnia – inspiration. This is when the stories would come alive, the characters would take form, the plots would develop, and the dialogue would dance around in my head like microwave popcorn. I would toss and turn, shift positions, stare at the ceiling and wonder why my brain disliked rest at normal hours.

Sometimes I would stare at the picture above my bed, a lush green meadow surrounded by fence posts. My great aunt was the artist in the family, and when we moved to the Springs, she gave this painting to me. I always admired my great aunt, and wished I was more of a visual artist, but my skills lay with writing prose. Even so, sometimes I would visualize sheep in the field. Counting sheep is supposed to help sleep, right? Not for me. Counting just made me annoyed because it reminded me of my dislike for math.

When I was a kid, I was confined to the house if I wanted to get up because I couldn’t sleep. Now as an adult, I have way more freedom. I thought about jotting down plot ideas on my computer, but then realized maybe it would be better to do something that would actually make me sleepy instead of wired. Exercise is supposed to help you sleep, right?

Thankfully, Burners and Builders, the only gym in town, was open 24-7. Located downtown, B&B was only a few blocks from my house. I decided to walk instead of borrowing my parents car. They might wonder where it went anyhow. When I arrived, the gym was a ghost town, but the stereo was blasting some fun beats. Never a fan of exercise equipment, I decided a dance workout was just what I needed to feel better… and possibly sleepy.

After thirty minutes of dancing, I was interrupted by a fellow late-night patron, a man by the name of J Huntington the III. J and I went to high school and he was always quite pretentious. Did the ‘Huntington the III‘ give it away? I never did learn if his first name actual was a singular letter or if the ‘J’ stood for something. Irregardless, I didn’t particularly want to speak to the guy, and he seemed all too obsessed with his own muscles in the mirror to notice me.

Stepping outside, the cool desert air did little to make me feel sleepy. If anything, the night winds made me feel more alert. I didn’t particularly feel like heading home yet so I wandered to the only late-night restaurant in town – The Rattlesnake Juice Bar. As I slid onto a barstool, my stomach growled. I must’ve been hungry after my workout.

My grandmother always said milk helped cure insomnia, but I couldn’t exactly order the frothy white liquid at a bar. Since the kitchen was limited this late at night… or early in the morning… depending upon how you looked at it… I ordered a bowl of breakfast potatoes, a favorite dish of mine. Unfortunately, the bar was out of clean silverware so I had to eat them with my fingers. I didn’t particularly mind. The bartender was an old high school classmate of mine, Zoe Patel, and it turns out, she is roomies with J. Well, him, and Mitchell Kalani, the guy sitting next to me nursing a tang and zing.

You can’t very well be in a bar without ordering a drink. After all, that’s how bartenders make the most of their tips. Alcohol can help make a person sleepy, right? I ordered a… while Mitchell chattered about his money troubles. You and me both, pal, I was thinking. If I hadn’t racked up so much credit card debt in college, I probably wouldn’t be living with his parents.

But when life gives you limes, make margaritas,” Mitchell smirked as we clinked our glasses in a toast.

“Here here.”

Mitchell also claimed soaking your feet in a lemon-lime bath would help promote deep sleep because it relaxes the nerves in the feet. I wasn’t so sure about that, but he claimed he’d picked up a secret or two in the culinary field traveling the world as a dishwasher on cruise ships. He landed back in Oasis Springs when he blew all his money on entertainment. Plus he really disliked paying bills so staying with roommates helped shoulder the costs of an apartment.

Zoe’s shift ended around two a.m. She recommended a cold bath because lowering the body temperature was supposed to be conducive to helping a person fall asleep. I shivered at the thought.

“That doesn’t sound like fun,” I remarked.

What doesn’t sound like fun?”

The replacement bartender for Zoe appeared at our side. He had near-shoulder length dark hair and a full beard. I’d always found facial hair to be sexy, and found myself blushing at my own ridiculous thoughts. Zoe introduced her colleague as Rob Buckley, a musician/bartender. Upon hearing about my predicament, he suggested blowing bubbles.

“Excuse me?” I blinked rapidly.

Bubbles… it works every time with my kid. It has a hypnotic effect.”

“Bubbles?” I repeated.

So he had a kid? I figured that probably meant a wife or girlfriend in the picture.

Yeah, bubbles… if blowing bubbles seems silly, you could always try a bubble bath with honeysuckle and vanilla. It’s supposed to be soothing.”

“Right, thanks…” I replied.

Or you could hang out here and keep me company if you’re not ready to sleep yet,”  he offered. “It’s pretty dead in here now so if you like stale jokes and random bursts of songs, you might stay.”

I couldn’t tell if this was Rob’s way of flirting or not. Zoe gave me an encouraging smile over her shoulder.

I make a mean cocktail, and an even better grilled cheese,” he said, proudly.

“I like grilled cheese,” I shrugged. “I could hang out… for a little while.”

Rob refreshed my drink, and pan-fried a grilled cheese sandwich, which I gobbled down quickly, much to his amazement.

I like a woman who can eat,” he said.

“Ah…” I didn’t know what to say, so I decided to be honest. “I was severely underweight during some of my college years and I would rather enjoy my food any day and be healthy than eat like a bird again.”

Sorry to hear that.”

“Don’t be. I just went through a phase where I didn’t like myself very much.”

I think we all do. I went through a similar phase when my wife left me.”

So he’s been married before? 

“You had a kid together?” I asked.

Rob dropped his head, almost sadly.

“Oh,” I threw up my hands. “I didn’t mean to pry. You just mentioned bubbles and a kid earlier.”

Yeah, I have a daughter, Carrie. She’s two.”

“The terrible twos?”

Naw… actually, she’s okay most days. Her pops keeps her in line,” he pointed to himself proudly.

“Carrie is a pretty name.”

Yep, her mother named her after her idol, Carrie Fischer.”

“From the Star Wars franchise? Wow… I love Star Wars… and Trek… and well, most sci-fi. Oh I’m totally geeking out here.”

Rob chuckled. “It’s cool. I’ve been catching up on ‘To Boldly Go Discover Things’ on Simflix.”

“Great show! I am really looking forward to when they reveal the new alien race that has been terrorizing the galaxy.”

Me too. I wonder if Captain Ackrol will discover they have a traitor in their midst.

“We don’t know that Lieutenant Leandry is a traitor.”

Sure seems that way by her recent behavior and clandestine meetings with the Franchise.”

I smiled broadly. “I’m really happy to meet someone else who likes sci fi shows like I do.”

I’ll talk ‘To Boldy Go’ stats any day. And don’t even get me started on the musical score.

“Hated it?” I bit my lip.

No,” he shook his head. “Loved it. Most people despise it, but I like the classic sound.”

“Me too,” I exclaimed. “I played flute back in the day. Wasn’t any good, but I still love the sound.”

Really? I played clarinet. Now it’s mostly piano and I doodle on the guitar.”

“I’ll have to hear you sometime.”

Rob suddenly frowned at the sound of breaking glass. “Guess I better go check on that shipment.”

“It was nice to meet you, Rob.”

I’ll see you around, Lizzie,” he waved, distracted, as he wandered into the kitchen out of view.

I was a bit disappointed he didn’t respond to my offer, but then again, he was at work. Leaving a generous tip, I slipped off my barstool and wandered to the front door. I needed to get home to sleep. It was almost morning, and by that, I meant sunrise. Who knows what my parents would say if they knew I was out all night?

Just then Rob poked his head back through the doorway. “Bubbles, Lizzie.”

“Excuse me?”

“Try bubbles… for sleep,” he smirked before pushing back on the kitchen door.

I would be stopping at the grocery store on the way home… for a jar of bubble bath… preferably honeysuckle.

Reader Poll: Best tips to cure insomnia and fall asleep? 

Author Note: Thanks for reading. Lizzie really did have trouble sleeping. She would only lay down for cat naps. So I had her start to explore the town. Rob, the bartender, engaged in four autonomous “deep conversations” with Lizzie throughout the night, much to my surprise. Lizzie rolled for a ‘deep conversation’ whim once during the night also. Rob apparently really wanted to talk to Lizzie. ‘To Boldly Go Discover Things’ is a play on Star Trek… sort of… an inside joke with a friend of mine. Hope you enjoyed. 😉 


1.15 Third Wheel (ALOW)

“These watermelon mojitos…” Jenara began, taking a sip of her drink.

“…are amazing,” Gar finished her statement.

They shared a happy look. So far the evening was going well. They chose to sit at the bar and enjoy a beverage together while waiting for Dennis to show. They joked around, laughed, and talked about everything from the time Gar’s home remedy for aphids to Jenara’s slight obsession with the Justice League and the weather. Of course, the weather was a safe topic. Jenara figured you couldn’t go wrong with sunshine and clouds.

“Do you like spinach?” he asked.

“Why do I have some in my teeth?” Jenara covered her mouth, self-consciously.

“Oh no,” he reached out and pulled her hand. “You have nothing in your teeth. Why did you think you did?” he laughed.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Jenara replied. “I guess… spinach gets caught in my teeth easily.”

“Then no spinach-wrapped burritos for you tonight,” he smiled.

“Oh I like spinach, but my teeth don’t,” she added. “You recommend the veggie burrito?”

“Yeah, it’s good,” he nodded, leaning over the counter to flag the bartender.

Jenara glanced about, wondering about their dining companion. “I wonder where Dennis is.”

“Hey hi,” a woman in a brightly orange, lace-lined tank top and a full tattooed sleeve plopped onto a bar stool and waved. “I’m Alice. Dennis is my father.”

“Oh, um… hi…” Jenara said, stiffly, taken aback by the attractive dark-haired woman.

“Hello,” Gar said politely. “Alice, it is a pleasure to meet you.”

He stretched out his hand and bowed his head slightly as a sign of respect.

“You know your Simorean traditions,” Alice remarked. “I’m impressed.”

“Ah, yes, I spent some time studying the flora in Southern Simina as an undergrad,” he explained.

Jenara blinked. You learn something new every day. She didn’t realize Gar had traveled outside the country, and she hadn’t thought to ask him what he studied in college. She could’ve kicked herself now, realizing she hadn’t been showing him enough interest. Alice continued to ramble about how much she loved nature, and how fascinating it was that Gar was a PlantSim. She explained how she was a painter, and she only painted living things, particularly plants and flowers, and she felt that was her way of giving back to the grand universe. When she stretched her arms, she showed off even more of her tattoos. Jenara felt uncomfortable, as she knew little to nothing about painting, and she felt she had very little skills about which she could brag. Alice finally asked Gar if he would be willing to sit for a portrait sometime, as she would “love” to add a “PlantSim specimen” to her collection. Sure you would, Jenara thought sarcastically.

“Where is…uh… Dennis?” she asked, laying a hand across Gar’s arm subtly.

Alice took note as she glanced down, but then smiled. “He’s on his way. He was just parking the car. Valet around here is pricey.”

“Tell me about it,” Gar chuckled.

Great! Jenara thought. I’m a horrible first date because I didn’t ask him the kinds of questions I should…and… I took him to an expensive restaurant. 

“Excuse me, I’ll go powder my nose,” Alice slid from her seat. “You wanna come?” she looked at Jenara, who shook her head. “Okay, just thought I’d ask. Dad should be in momentarily.”

Gar reached over, and gave Jenara’s hand a reassuring pat. “I came here with you tonight.”

Jenara flushed, and smiled. He knew? 


She turned her head to see J, the guy who had attended her party at the beginning of the summer for the PlantSims. He was wearing the same powder blue sweater tossed over his shoulders and tied loosely around his neck. Jenara thought it made him look like a prep school grad ready for the beach, but the ocean was a long way from Oasis Springs.

“Hey, it’s good to see you,” J said with punchy enthusiasm.

Jenara stepped down off her bar stool, and Gar stood up next to her.

“This is Garbanzo Hawthorne…” she introduced. “And this is J Huntington the Third.”

“The Third?” Gar repeated, shaking the man’s hand. “You can call me Gar, J.”

“Thanks, and yeah, dad and grandad had my name,” J said, proudly. “Grandad was one of the first guys to blast off into space when they relaunched the space program and expansion, and Dad was started his own company. You may know of the Huntington Post?”

“The news site?” Jenara asked, her eyes widening. “Yeah, I know it. I used to read it every morning when I was in college. I liked the dedicated geek culture section.”

“Oh yeah, the Hunt Post offers all sorts of stuff. Did you see Tuesday’s article about how obsessed everyone is with the new mobile games?” J asked. “And how they are the ultimate stress reliever.”

“Yeah, I kill at Question Quash,” Jenara fist-bumped J, to which he replied, “I must challenge you sometime, then.”

“Isn’t it just an opinion site with gossip more so than news?” Gar said, sounding almost unimpressed.

“No… it’s a legit new site,” J said defensively, but his voice wavered. “Why? Do you dislike gossip?”

“Yeah, sure,” Gar shrugged.

“Gossip is our bread and butter,” J spread his arms and smiled.

“Well, that’s Dennis,” Jenara stepped between the men, and tugged Gar’s arm. “We’ve got dinner plans. Nice to see you, J.”

“Nice to see you too, Jenara. Come by the office sometime. I’ll get my dad to autograph an edition for you,” J smiled suavely.

“That would be…” Jenara could feel Gar tightening his grip. “…nice… thanks.”

As she walked over to the table with Dennis and Alice, she could sense Gar was starting to relax. Now he knows how I felt… She looked up at him and smiled sweetly, whispering in his ear, “I came here with you.”

Simorea is my Simworld version of South Korea. Simina is my Simworld version of Asia. The Huntington Post is a play on the Huffington Post. Question Quash is a random game I made up. Hope you enjoyed!

Previous Chapter: 1.14 It’s a Date 

1.10 Company (ALOW)

Jenara found herself watching over the podlings for nearly an hour. Each one was different, reflective of its comrade in a way. One glowed purple, the shade of a plump dragonfruit, and she could sense the rare and generous spirit of this podling’s counterpart, Tara. Another glowed a bold red, reflective of the heated emotions of its counterpart,Vito. Garbanzo’s podling glowed a vibrant fuschia color, and Jenara blushed thinking of his kind and extravagant words.

Snapping out of her reverie, she headed inside, barely having time to put on a pot of coffee and set out her cakes before the arrival of her neighborhood guests. She didn’t even have time to change. Jasmine came shortly behind, bringing Tara with her. Jenara found herself feeling disappointed when Garbanzo didn’t make an appearance.

Tara cornered Jenara and thanked her once again for caring for the podlings, and relayed her happiness that the younger woman was so generous in allowing a stump on her lawn. Jenara told her it was nothing, and she was enjoying the education and the experience, plus she was happy to meet fellow PlantSims attending the conference, and help be apart of a worthy cause. Tara asked about the PlantSims Jenara had met, and apologized on behalf of her husband. She also made a quick comment about Gar, being quite the ladies man, despite his attachment to another certain PlantSim. Again, Jenara felt disappointed. Perhaps she had misread his intentions, and maybe he was just being nice, but from the way Tara portrayed the man, she had probably flirted with a married man. Talk about awkward.

Despite her completely embarrassing encounter with Don Baxter and the Waterside ladies, they still made an appearance at Jenara’s gathering. Don even brought a friend, J Huntington the III, a local technician, who had much to say about setting up the website of the PlantSim conference and managing a chat room for supernaturals and Sims alike to get to know one another and promote peaceful relations. He even offered to put in a good word at his workplace for her if she wanted a job. Jenara found him to be a bit self-absorbed, but she was happy to meet another fellow tech with an interest in geeky things. She even had the time to debate various Star Trek captains with him, though she wasn’t sure she could forgive him for liking Archer the best. Jenara decided to keep her “lame” comment to herself as that wouldn’t have been polite.

Don nodded to her in his casual “wassup” kind-of way as he passed by Jenara and Tara. He was carrying two plates, one with a slice of Jasmine’s banana chocolate chip bread and the other with a slice of cheescake from Jenara’s kitchen. He brought the desserts to his friend, J. As much as Jenara was enjoying learning about Tara’s PlantSimness, she found herself straining to listen to the two men on the couch.

“This house is cool,” Don was saying.

“Yeah, and it’s resident is pretty cool too,” J said, munching on the banana bread. “Do you think that Jenara chick is into me?”

“Dude, you think everyone is into you!” Don punched his friend in the arm.

“I can’t help it. I’m great,” J grinned much too smugly.

Jenara resisted the urge to roll her eyes.

Hope you enjoyed!

Previous Chapter: 1.9 Petit Chou