Thomas started stealing sleep at age nine. By 13 he was a master. No parents, teachers, or family members could catch him; only the occasional friend. The thing had a sort of organic development. What began as a struggle to rise for school and a need for a nap after it had dismissed became a quasi-chronic exhaustion that garnered too much -- Thomas was quick to realize -- attention.
“I was fortunate,” he said, “to recognize that they were similar to snacks and meals. I’d get them, but had to wait for privacy to indulge, or else I’d have a caravan of adults monitoring my every move.”
By virtue of accident Thomas shared his story with me and Abel one day -- about a year or so after that Led Zeppelin afternoon -- as part of a point he’d been trying to make; by the time he realized his once-clothed secret stood naked before us it was too late to abandon his tale.
“Whether I had to shit or not,” he said, I could knock out a seven-minute snooze in the stall at school. Easy. And when your parents maintain a schedule unflappable in its predictability, it’s like schooling a fat kid in one-on-one: a single head fake and you can drive the paint every time.”