The lobby of a funeral parlor. I have no direct reference to death, but I'm here. I am to somehow show solemnity, and I do. It is one of those stage sets, a den of an old Victorian with drapes and embroidered lampshade tassels and fabric table coverings.
Here, says someone in an upper room. Here is how you see him. Him means the honcho. This one shows me a hinged door on a sloping side of the inner closet to the bedroom, and I push on it and with difficulty it opens. There is a passage which goes on and on, a scaffolding in the dark with dim light only from somewhere high up. I have great confidence, only because someone seemingly in authority told me to go this way. We're all such children.
I am now in the bedroom where the Chief rests. He lays back at an oblique 45° angle to upright against a plush comforter on his bed. Saying nothing, but I understand. There are gifts for me I've forgotten now. I was pleased. The sort you receive from attending a very cheap timeshare hustle.
I intend returning to that lobby, but - I go by way of the bedroom door onto the landing and I am high up and workers are on a scaffold where the stairs should be. They see it not in their contract to convey safe passage to me, so they don't break from hammering and measuring. I ask. They say, you can - and they describe a rigorous pattern which would allow me to lower myself onto the bottom floor. But I merely stretch and hold, for I notice if I do so, the floor below, which had looked like a fifty foot drop, is only inches from my feet.
Which are unshod, by the way. I have left my shoes, which are unique and like the slip-on Robin Hood stocking Puck boots from the old Howard Pyle illustrations, are not where I left them. There has been some rearrangement to the furniture and the five or six pairs of shoes scattered in one corner are none of them mine.
I lace up some tennies, and am stopped at the door. I really didn't mean to steal them, I say, I had only mistaken them for my own. I didn't even realize these were the ones I had picked. It's not very credible, but it's true.
I leave, barefoot, and wonder if I can write or call for the shoes. I turn back instead, and I am not greeted with warmth at the door. Not at all. I escape all this opprobrium by exiting a back entrance. Or entering in reverse a rear exit.
Which leaves me in a strange neighborhood. I think, I'll just keep walking and somehow my evnironment will be familiar. That's what keeps us all going.
A tightly-thatched community, with wild vegetation and shacks everywhere; a ruddy pickup backs up towards me from below. I think, he'll stop, but he doesn't. Catches me right at the tailgate of his truck and pushes me uphill in the swarming grass. I complain, and the driver, an elder black man, lets out a stream of invective directed at me.
I keep walking, and he keeps yelling. He is very angry, and it isn't going away. As I approach what looks to be disheveled public buildings (maybe like the old tin cotton mill from my old home town, abandoned like a forgotten graveyard) there appears to my upper left a string of vehicles - they look like road graders but they are very narrow without blades and a louspeaker blares from each of them into the neighborhood at large.
"Be on the lookout - a vagabond invader is in your midst - you must be careful of contamination - report him as soon as he is spotted!"
I wonder if stealing sneakers is behind all this. Or merely being different.
I hop aboard a float. I'm nervy that way. It begins to approach a waterfall which runs through the old forsaken derelict structure. Down below is an actual run of ice. We will flow on our stream into the center of a large barn, and from there a landslide will bring us home.
I will be free of the anger, at least.
The ice wakes me.