The day after my sinus surgery, I woke up to find a dog lying on my chest. “Are you worried about me?” I rasped out.

“Not exactly,” Bae replied.

I hadn’t actually expected a reply.

“Dude, we need to talk about finances. Will paying for this surgery take money from the kibble line item on the family budget?”

“Not to worry. The insurance covers most of it, and we can make payments on the rest.” I was hurting and bleeding, but I felt it necessary to pet the dog because his nose was about six inches from mine, and he was lying on my spleen.

“The rest? You know, I have wheat allergies; I need special food.”

“Welcome to the allergy family.”

“This is Christmas shopping season, dude—you should be promoting your book sales, not laying there with your face all swollen up.”

“I always kind of hoped they’d sell themselves.”

“What? Are you on drugs?”

“Yes. Yes, I am.”

Bae sniffed my face. “Yeah, I smell them, now. Vicodin, and some kind of anti-nausea medication. Look, you gotta get out there, man … there aren’t enough mice in the house to keep me fed, and that rabbit always stays just outside the reach of my line. I tried to do some promotional posts for you, but these paws aren’t made for typing.”

“Ah, that explains the delivery of eighteen pizzas, and the lady from Romania who finds my profile intriguing.”

“Sorry about that. But you need help: You keep publishing in different genres, so how are you going to build author branding?”

“But that’s the beauty of it: If people want to buy books for themselves or for Christmas presents, they can get it all on www.markrhunter.com: humor, romantic comedy, short stories, non-fiction, young adult, history—it’s all there. I’m your one stop shop for book buying.”

“Well, they’d better buy more, or I might start eating grass in the back yard … and you know what that means.”

“One sicko in the house is enough. Look, word of mouth words great, here: Why don’t you tell your friends about me during your midnight barking?”

“Dude, my friends can’t read.”

“Story of my life.”

“You’re dreaming this whole thing, anyway. I blame the drugs.”

And that’s when I woke up.

But I woke up with the dog on my chest. “Were you just speaking to me?” I asked.

Bae didn’t say anything. But he looked hungry.

What? I'm just checking up on him.

 

.

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