Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I drive to a large house on a shady street and enter. It is the home of the fictional Leatherwoods who in the musty shop of my hometown history operated a booth.

But this house is huge with many and varied rooms on multilevels and the occupants the same.
The family is in early nineteenth century British countryside dress, and they fall into pageants like children at play. They are almost all women and they are creative and talented in many spheres.

Here they form an impromptu tableau of a famous painting I cannot name at the mere mention of the title. I'm told the rendering is precise.

Here they jump into a scene from Moliere which I, alas, also do not recognize, but am told it may be the very best presentation of those moments onstage anywhere, and I'm inclined to believe it.

I walk around as at a county fair, with the addition, rare for fairs but common in my dreams, of lapsing at times into insufficient attire, including none at all. I'm bare at times, and at other times I have on a minimal plus-four undergarment arrangement which suits me better, but I have no idea how these separate items come to be associated with me.

Oh, dear, I've lost my camera. A little digital number; have you seen it? Drat.

I spend much time going through rooms and encountering interesting personnel in search of my camera. I am in step with a willowy youngster and am informed in one room that were I to conduct an affair with Olivia I must be more discreet. To laughter I stutter I have no such intentions, least no such hopes. She is lithe and radiant and then she is off on another march and does not seem to recognize me further.

And now I'm outside, for it's the time to go, and I auto is not where it was left. At least, not where I think I have left it. I go about down the street in search of it. Ragamuffins in the street on dirtbikes agree to search for a generous fee. I tell them it's a small dark Datsun, and they go off down the winding drive of a garage.

Here comes Lee, one of the Leatherwoods. I go back inside with him, for he has some presentation to make. Here is your wallet, he says, and grandly hands it to me to general applause. I am so grateful I forget for a moment I didn't lose my wallet, but my camera.

Everyone seems to be of the opinion it is a very pleasant development, and so who am I to argue?

Saturday, May 14, 2005

I don't remember the mission. I am rumbling around a common area, like around the pool of a condo, but it's well-appointed dark wood and sedate fabric...only I realize it isn't really the commons anymore...I am going back the way I came and I see the kitchen area with folding cabinets like short walls closing it off, and I realize...

Mrs Standsbury is home.

She is startled to see me. I pass through her kitchen smiling. She has a classy new sweep hairdo and she looks younger than her years; she's put together like a middle-aged widow.

[Mrs Standsbury was our nextdoor neighbor when I was young. Once we were in her back yard. She came home, spoke to me, said, `I thought you were a nice boy.' We'd been on her front porch and left dirt, maybe from her flowerpots. We meant no harm. We were just careless. I said nothing, eked away from her yard. I realized I should go back up front and clean up, but I guess I just accepted I wasn't a nice boy after all...

In those days, most September there was a heavyweight champeenship on radio. We picked it up early during the ring announcements but the signal faded during the fight. Like, this time, it was over, but we could not tell who won. Mr Standsbury was in his bedroom, turning off his radio. In these days, there was no air conditioning, so windows were open. We ran to his screen, called out, "Mr Standsbury, who won?" He paused in the dark room. "Patterson," he said.

Mr Standsbury was locally famous for a quote of his about working the graveyard shift on the railroad. He said, `If they'd just taken the first guy who agreed to work nights out and shot him, it would've been a better world.']

It is an ordeal. I am now moving what I had brought with me, and must distinguish what belongs there. I pass before Mrs Standsbury and her friends or family out on their veranda, and I see they aren't angry. It will be okay over time.

There is a broadcast pending, and I must appear for it. This is more than just flipping on a radio. I have to lower myself down a narrow chute like a spelunker. Uh-oh. I step down on a trashcan and smash it. Plastic.

I think, maybe I can make do in all this. I say, it could've been worse...

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Okay, here's the deal. You see these wires? They connect to a three-pronged simple network of DixieCupandThread phones. We want three talkers on an elemental network, see? There they are laid out in the street. A busy city street.

Someone is already talking to someone else, which gives me pause, because the wire is not hooked up yet. I go to hook the two sections. It makes no difference. They're still chatting separately just as before. I wonder if all talk is like that.

An added ingredient to the project is that the network needs to be positioned among a triangle of windows on the hundredth floors of three separate buildings. I guess they don't trust the phones in the rooms. So I make to fire the wire from one room out of a cannon with only sufficient charge to reach across the street to the next room, and then he will have to repeat the process over to the third room.

Wait a minute. Now I just woke up. I woke up driving a motorcycle. I was riding in the sidecar, which is now missing, and I'm at the handlebars now. I'm a bit irritated. He should've told me.

I arrive at a site. I know what it is, but am not cognizant of it, this being a dream and all - I mean, I dream I know but don't know while dreaming. It's like plotlines in an old B-movie.

The honcho of the firm wanders around with intent. I explain to him very cryptically and laconically that my partner, off somewhere with a missing sidecar, will be along. The owner has an agreement with the sidecar guy, not me.

I figure I better get busy doing something. So I begin stacking fried chicken parts. Grisly, but deep-fried, crispy, I place one on top of another and continue building a stack. Okay, I'm thinking, I'll do this.

A little kid is in front of the small table where I'm stacking. He is hungry, he says. I make to show no weakness, sentiment, but remove a leg for him. He says, thanks, but I won't need it until Monday.

I happen to think, it's Friday.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

We're moving along dark streets, and Chico says, we have to take the keys. I'll divert him.

So Moss is stopped, and told something, and he goes away with his keys in his ignition, the way you'd sprint to a door, meaning to return quickly. But when he came back, his keys were no longer in his ignition.

We are driving along an embankment now, and Chico determines this is the place, so I cast the keyring down the slope towards the river. But they don't make it to the river; even in the dark I can tell.

We stop now. It's be cool time now. We are mingling around the government center. I make to appear helpful. It's a warren of rooms for all civic purposes, and I have a gadget which makes noise like a leafblower but is actually a sort of vacuum cleaner. I make to be intent on my work when the deputy comes to me, inconspicuous and non-authoritative but asking if I will take the test now.

I show disinterest, but agree. I don't know what the test means, and if I ask, I may incriminate myself, for what do I care if I'm innocent? Tests are offered and taken all the time in this berg.

I find ways and means to be dilatory, though, following the deputy. The test (polygraph? fingerprints from the keys they found?) is not set up as yet. I pass a structure. This is the water tower, and Chico with others has climbed it. (Unlike the one back home in Flatlandia, this is European, a boxy building of white rock.)

I am thinking, where did I hear taking keys is Grand Theft Auto?

But in my dreams the test never comes.

(There are characters like Moss and buddy Chico in my history - and Chico and brother Reloj did in fact climb the hundred foot water tower on a rainy night in Flatlandia, and we always referred to The Embankment as a down and out hotel north of Madera out of Orwell - but here they play strange roles.)