Dream is not a revelation. If a dream affords the dreamer some light on himself, it is not the person with closed eyes who makes the discovery but the person with open eyes lucid enough to fit thoughts together. Dream—a scintillating mirage surrounded by shadows—is essentially poetry.
- Michel Leiris (1901–1990), French anthropologist, author.
In a low-ceiling industrial office space, dark and shadowy, there are pictures on a long desk. I look at some of them. They are in black and white, and quite vivid. I recognize myself! Although I don’t know where or when they were taken, I am not overly concerned. I figure the pleasant scenes are yet to happen. Here’s me, smiling vaguely, in a group setting, a bending file of us in a park which dips down in a bowl where the activity is. But the terrain is only suggested, like the names of great canyons you cannot see the walls of from any perspective.
Here are photos in color. A large russet hound. He has splashes of white around his muzzle, but I know what this one means. It was taken long before we found Scoob, but this is obviously a prediction of him. The white is all that is different from our boy today, which means to me it’s meant as a staged disguise like in old hiss-the-villain melodrama; we know who the characters are even under the phony beard. This time it's the Good Guy who is camouflaged, but one slight key is off to appease scoffers, or else everyone would believe in magic. But here is a picture of Ubbi, taken a long time before he came to us.
The project we are working on takes shape. It is long and low and wooden, like the NBA. Only the form takes on the substance of a Double-A Fueler rail job. I wonder if we are to continue this exercise, as a wooden dragster would never compete with the sleek haulers we will eventually have to compete with if we continue. Still we go on…
…and I am trapped under bodies. I see there are two of them, and it’s like the old fashioned kiddie taunt dog piles of yore. I see I should be able to remove myself from under these. One is a girl-woman, and the other is Jerry Snodgrass.
This suggests an early event in my own actual waking history. There was a bully a couple of years older than me named Billy Wells, and he is telling me on the bus home from swimming lessons at the Park he will “get me.” He has some sort of manufactured grudge, easy for him since he’s older and lots bigger.
I make to step over the seats while everyone else files out the aisle. I say, hey, Billy, look at this! I’m trying to josh him into a better mood, but he says, I’ll get you anyway.
He faces off with me on the grounds of the high school. (I am in some years too young for high school, but this is where the bus leaves us off.) Billy Wells decides I’m not sufficient reward for his bull rep, where is the value to beating up a little kid. He says, somebody take him; I’m going after Joe (my older brother). Jerry Snodgrass says, I’ll take him, figuring it's safe suckup to the big guy. He does, grabbing me from behind. Snodgrass is not as big as wells, but the same age, and bigger than me. I swing Snodgrass over my back by leaning forward, and he hangs on. I try crying a few sobs, and somebody says, aw, let him up, and he does.
Wells today is partically paralyzed, sits and smiles and smokes. Snodgrass became a notorious drunk, like his daddy, and is much despised by his ex-wife, who is a therapist and very generous to most of the rest of humanity.
I am rummaging again.
The scene is a barracks. We are due to watch a ballgame in the rec room. It is the most exciting prospect of the week. Only…I should locate my winter garb, for the wind the wind is beginning outside, and there is an edge to it. Yes, I should find warmer duds. But… it was months ago when I stashed my gear, and I cannot remember precisely where. I vaguely recall a wall locker, on that wall. There are rows of bunks with storage underneath, and lockers along the walls. I cannot find anything I recognize. I am going through lockers, stumbling here and there. Under one bunk I find a couple of clear-plastic flat footlockers, designed with multiple compartments like egg cartons. Oh, yes, I remember these. They’re mine, all right…only, they’re empty. At least I have a hit. A troop harrumphs quietly, and I apologize. It’s his bunk I’m looking under. Sorry, sorry, but where is my winter wardrobe? The game the game will begin…