There was no way Kerry could be asleep right now.
That was completely absurd.
They were trudging through their day's work, correcting another terribly written novel. They needed to be aware, to focus on the words of the author so his hundreds of mistakes could be mended. This person barely knows the English language, Kerry thought, and he's already got a nice advance payment, I'm sure. He will probably sell many copies and be at least somewhat famous. And I will stay here, working for peanuts, sleeping—
"Hey!," they said aloud. "No. I'm not sleeping. I'm awake. I'm wide awake. Wide and far awake."
"No," they added after a few seconds. "Far and wide. Far and wide awake."
They stood up, went to their small kitchen, emptied their cold, still full cup of coffee in the sink and poured a fresh one from the coffeemaker. Then they came back to the table and the laptop and their eyes returned to the words on the screen.
"Far and wide awake. Come on," they said, looking at a sentence with three or four verbs and no nouns. They wrote a better (a proper) sentence in its place. It took them about five minutes to finish that task.
Where did that idea of being asleep had come from?
They made a little effort and remembered. They had received a text. Les than half an hour ago. Before they started working. It said—
No, no, no. Focus! You need to correct at least another chapter now!
"Far and wide! Far and wide awake!," they whispered, blinking.
They took a sip from their cup and returned to the words. Again. This guy was terrible. Each sentence was worse than the last. Kerry was having more and more trouble understanding them. What a moron!
Instead, that message they had received had been so clear, so well written.
No! What's happening to me today?
They had to think on the words on the screen. The laptop screen. Not the phone screen.
Far and wide awake.
Kerry stared at the next sentence for ten minutes. They were unable to extract any meaning from it.
What happen to Kerry?, they thought at last. Kerry no focus. They didn't register the change in their own mind. Wide and far. Far and wide. Far and wide.
"Wide," they said. They erased the sentence, undid the erasure, and then forgot what sentence had they been looking at. They started to look for it in the file. They didn't find it. They forgot about the need to find it.
They stared at the screen for a longer time now. What had they been doing?
"No, no," they said aloud. "Kerry work. Kerry far and wide." They thought maybe some activity would be good so they slipped one hand inside their pajama pants and started touching. "Far wide." It felt so good they forgot completely about the work. "Far wide." Instead, what little capacity for thought they still had came back to the message they had received, so long ago.
"No message!" They still tried to resist. "That. Long ago. Longo agogo," they said. "Aogogo, go. Ago. Ahegao." Those last syllables meant nothing to them, but they sounded fun, so they rolled their eyes way up and stuck out their tongue for a while.
"Fahhh," they said, their mouth open. "Wiiiiih." And then they couldn't hold it back anymore.
FAR AND WIDE, the mesage had said. Of course. How elegant and simple at the same time! How true! Why wouldn't they want to remember it all the time? Why would they want to think about anything else? They didn't know who had sent the message, but who cared? It was good… It was true… It was irresistible…
Kerry made a different kind of effort and removed all their clothes from the waist down. Their legs spread, they kept masturbating. Their thoughts were fading away so rapidly now. There was no work now, no laptop, no coffee, no table. No Kerry. Their face was making the ahegao face again and just pushing some air and some inarticulate, animal sounds through their mouth with each breath. They were far away, wide open, completely entranced and bound to their own pleasure.