“I don’t like the dream sequences in your Deathrivation series. You can just make up anything in dreamy, druggy type scenes. They’re not as creative as your reality based stuff.” ~ Reservoir Mum


Sleep Deathrivation #4 – Battle Of The Butterfly


There are moments of crazy that come at the craziest times and even though I am mostly in complete control of my mental faculties there are certain moments, that when supplied with sleep deprivation, some self-imposed time pressure, an attack of the guilts, and other key ingredients, can grow into a sustained period of utter insanity.

Tyson’s molars and Lewis’s night terrors have kept me from stringing more than two hours of sleep together for two days straight and even though we have had a potentially memorable and joyous day catching butterflies with the boys I am as mentally fragile and exhausted as a Hollywood star awaiting a Ricky Gervais speech at The Golden Globes.

When Reservoir Mum gets home form work a whole new world enters with her.

“Hey!” I say, dropping Tyson’s yogurt and running to get her bags. “How are you? Hey! Come in. How was your day today we caught butterflies and made an enclosure with an old fish tank your Dad gave us and I wasn’t sure what butterflies ate but to impress Archie and Lewis I secretly Googled it and most of the sites said that they don’t eat anything which I didn’t think the boys would be exited about so I told them they ate tuna and so there are some tins of tuna in the fish tank with the flutterbyes but don’t worry because I didn’t open them so we can eat them later but, hey, isn’t it kind of ironic that we have tuna in a fish tank… yesterday Marty told me that when he gets home his wife just doesn’t stop talking, she just follows him around going yap yap yap because she’s so excited to see someone older than six and to be talking to a real human adult and oh shit I think that’s what I’m doing…”

When I’m finished I sit down, cock my head a little to the left, pant heavily with my tongue lolling to the side and await her response.

‘Oh my God,’ she says. ‘You’re so tired.’

Dennis‘I would like to sing Dr Hook’s Sharing The Night Together at out wedding because I love the way he says oh yeah, alright, and it’s the only way that I can really express how much I love you and, man, I wish I could grow my hair and beard like Dennis Locorriere because it looks so, so cool…’


‘What the hell are you talking about? We’re already married,’ she says. ‘Go to bed’.


‘Bed’s for babies’ I say, before running wildly into the study to update my Facebook status to Can’t sleep kids will eat me.

As I’m youtubing Dr Hook my eyes begin to close and my head drops to the keyboard with a thud and bounds up again like a semi-inflated basketball and I find I’m standing on a cloud of Bling – the kind that Snoop Doggy Dog and Bert Newton wear – and I’m floating several meters from a cliff where I can see my family. Reservoir Mum, the boys and some random guy holding a coil of rope are trapped in a large fish tank. Several large butterflies are peering in from the outside. One of the butterfly children – the younger one with the Ben 10 shoelaces – says ‘I wonder what they eat?’ and the older one replies, ‘I don’t think they eat anything.’

‘Nonsense,’ Daddy Butterfly says, ‘They eat pollen and certain fragrant flowers. Son, throw that bunch of hibiscus in there.’

As I breathe the air with the mournful crooning of Dr Hook at his best I look to Reservoir Mum and a deep sense of longing and love creates a fierce panic in me – I would chew my own arm off to get to her, like that rock climber from Utah, if it wasn’t for the fact that it would be so pointless and painful in this particular situation. Instead I make a crazy leap for the cliff to get to my family before the butterflies fill the tank with hibiscus and irritate Lewis’s hayfever. I managed to grip the edge with my fingertips and prevent myself from falling into a bottomless darkness.

Daddy Butterfly turns and screams, ‘Jesus! A massive human!’ and it’s on. I leap at them with my teeth and fists bared and a fierce battle ensues and even though I deflect their plentiful appendages and land multiple blows to their spongy nether-regions there are just too many of them.

flyingbutterflysJust as it seems that I will be walloped to death by a flurry of magnificently-patterned wings, Lewis bangs at the glass wall of his enclosure and screams, ‘You wanna piece of me?’ and the random guy encourages Reservoir Mum and the boys to climb the rope to freedom and suddenly it’s my family against theirs and within minutes the butterfly clan are spreading their wings and screaming, ‘Fly away, fly away!’

We wrap ourselves in a group hug to celebrate. ‘Thank God,’ Reservoir Mum says, ‘They wanted us to eat hibiscus.’

‘I know,’ I say calming her. ‘Vegan’s aside, it’s a totally inappropriate food.’

When I turn to thank the random guy with the rope I find that he’s metamorphosed into a giant butterfly. I am humbled by his beauty.

‘All creatures are to be respected,’ he says. ‘You mustn’t harm any living thing.’

‘Yeah, that’s what the losers say,’ I reply, high-fiving Tyson.

‘RD!’ Reservoir Mum says.

‘Sorry, yeah… nah, you’re right. Harming things is bad.’

He continues, ‘I mean, let’s put aside the fact that butterflies don’t eat tuna – they couldn’t even open the tins, man! What’s that about?’

‘Right, yep.’

With a wink and flying loop-and-a-half he is gone and I feel several square points of pressure on my forehead. ‘You have a keyboard stuck to your head, Dad’ Archie says and Reservoir Mum starts shaking my shoulder and suddenly I’m in front of my computer again. The Dr Hook playlist, which is on loop on youtube, is so powerful – in an excessively hairy man wearing a cowboy hat kind of way – and stirring up all kinds of emotions.

Reservoir Mum is standing over me. ‘Go to bed now,’ she says.


butterflytunaWearily, I wander to the kitchen and take a moment to stare at the butterflies in the fish tank, the butterfly-man’s words or wisdom still ringing in my ears. They’re climbing the glass walls and fluttering their wings at me

‘What are they doing, Dad?’ Lewis asks.

‘They’re trying to tell us something, mate,’ I say. ‘Go get another tin of Tuna. I think they’re hungry again. Oh, and Lewis…’

‘Yes, Dad?’ he asks as I make my way up the stairs to bed.

‘Throw a can opener in there for them as well.’