For this week, write a story in which sleep plays a specific role.

napAustin glazed at the donuts. His sugary gaze fell over the box of treats until they were all coated with unfulfilled desires and the glittering promise of a quick rush of energy.

He couldn’t. He wanted to, but he couldn’t.

“Does every meeting on this planet have to start with donuts?” he grumbled as he found a chair.

“Yes, and I’m not complaining,” said Sirgie, helping himself.

Austin needed the sugar rush. A shot of caffeine would be even better, but even more dangerous.

He couldn’t endanger his nap.

“Excuse me,” Austin said, stepping out to the hall and splashing some cold water on his face. A few natives raised an eyebrow, but politely did not comment.

He hated the planet, and it wasn’t just because of the sugary carbohydrates. People were loud. He didn’t understand the local humor, and he was tired of being labeled a sourpuss because of it.

Worst of all, the days were unnaturally short. All right…unnatural wasn’t the right word. There was nothing unnatural about the planet’s rotation; it was simply faster than he was accustomed to. He never got enough sleep. He was always tired.

Fortunately, the donuts were gone within the first few minutes of the meeting. It was mind-numbingly boring, but somehow Austin managed to stay awake through the whole thing.

In a sadly short amount of time, his business associates were winding down for the night. Austin was just getting his second wind.

It didn’t feel right to eat dinner. It was too early. But, when in Rome… he managed to choke it down, even though he wasn’t hungry.

His hotel was quiet. His room was dark. The bed was warm and the air was cool, perfect for sleeping. Yet, as tired as he was, he could not convince himself it was bedtime yet. It was much too early.

Austin looked at the clock. He had an unreasonably short time before he had to be awake and back at work.

“What time is it back home?” he said out loud, although he was the only one in the room. “Oh look! It’s the middle of the afternoon.” He hoped his body was paying attention. This was important. “You know what that means?”

He paused, as if waiting for his body to answer.

“It’s the perfect time for a nice little nap.”

Ah! His body answered. Naptime! We understand naptime.

“Doesn’t this bed look comfy?”

Ooh… comfy…

“Why don’t we just lie down for a bit?”

His body was buying it. His brain resisted. What? Nap? Isn’t everyone else in this time zone going to bed for the night now?

“Hush! Hush…” Austin told himself. “We’re just going to take a little nap. It’s not like we’re retiring for the night…it’s too early…”

Naps were the only sleep Austin got for his entire three week trip. Every sunrise his body asked what the heck he was thinking about getting up already, and every morning he promised his body it could take a ‘nap’ later.

It worked.