The Day Before

When Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself in bed with a monstrous vermin.

"Filthy cockroach," he muttered, flicking it onto the floor. Then he tried to go back to sleep.

"Just a few more minutes," he thought.

"Gregor -- time to get up!" his mother shouted from the hallway.

So much for that idea. He opened his eyes, but he didn't feel like getting out of bed just yet.

"You'll be late for work!" his father yelled.

Gregor made no attempt to get up. Lying on his back, his skinny legs dangling in the air, he pondered his condition.

"What's happened to me? Why can't I get out of bed and get going? Why am I so lethargic today?"

Suddenly, there was pounding on his door.

"Mr. Samsa? Are you in there?"

It was the manager of his firm -- his boss! What time was it? Had he been sleeping that long? Gregor started to panic -- what could he do? Fortunately, the door to his room was locked.

"The manager of your firm is here, Gregor. He wants to talk to you."

"Sure," he thought. "He wants to talk to me like I wanted to talk to that cockroach." Gregor couldn't speak, he was so nervous.

"Open the door, Gregor," his mother pleaded.

"If you don't report to work on time today, Mr. Samsa, you'll be fired!"

That did it.

"I'm getting up! I'm getting up!" Frantically, Gregor hopped out of bed, threw on his bathrobe and lunged for the door -- and unlocked it.

His father was the first one in, and he was laughing so hard tears were streaming down his face. And then his mother entered, and his sisters -- and everyone was laughing.

"What's going on?" Gregor asked, totally befuddled.

His father then twisted his face into a grim expression that clearly mimicked the dour firm manager.

"If you don't report to work on time today, Mr. Samsa, you'll be fired!"

Gregor, realizing he'd been had, burst out laughing, and soon he too had tears streaming down his face.

"And today is Sunday, Gregor, there's no work today," his father added -- in his own voice -- as the whole Samsa family made its way into the kitchen for a big, happy breakfast.

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