Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Why Did I Ever Return?

A series of barren buildings along a desolate landscape, in no particular order, unmarked, to no discernible purpose. I have been here before, I am thinking, maybe more than once, so why did I ever return?

We wandered into the structures without number and along pathways outside. We stopped and gathered, but we were as riders on an elevator, each to her own purpose or following his own design. Like cattle, no one spoke. 

The girls might be in colorful smalltown Sunday dresses. The guys moved close to the pretty ones, but were easy to discourage. One lady crowded close to me in order to deflect a suitor. No one was aggressive, all was lackadaisical but there was a humming just below human hearing of unease. 

There was no particular style to the furniture; each chair and bed was like someone had placed it temporarily out of a personal stock. You could sleep in any open bed. You could find that out by occupying one and waiting for objections. I settled in one, but soon had to find a latrine. 

No one asked what it was all about. Maybe everyone believed everyone else knew more than they and wanted to hide that fact. That's why I didn't ask any questions. I just roamed and stopped and then set off again. 

The latrines were not many and were unflagged. I found what may've been urinals but always either privacy was unavailable or it wasn't a latrine after all. (I was of course following my own somnolent urges and my dreams scripted themselves so I wouldn't wet the bed.)

There were other beds available, though, and I found them. When I was called away I would find another wherever I happened to be. I was not sleepy, nor hungry. I just waited for a chance to leave. The ground was drab and dusty and stretched over broken uninteresting country.  The walls were some sort of faded ochre stucco and the floors were chipped tile. Why were all these buildings placed here? There is no reason anyone would want to be here. 

I expected to be released through some unsuspected mechanism I could not imagine and so, I'm convinced, did we all. 

Sent from Evernote

Thursday, October 24, 2013

She Does Not Even Know My Name!

(The following story is a dream, and any resemblance to actual beings, living or not, is to be expected, as the principal characters would certainly recognize themselves were they to read it, which I sincerely hope they don't.)

Terry was a well-respected man about town but I wasn't. Anyway, we both were apparently engaged in an event once upon a time featuring a certain beauty queen. 

We called her that and she seemed to like it , not recognizing irony. She actually entered contests and placed highly, too, and Terry and I reportedly did something with or more likely to her and people talked and the event morphed. That's how it is. 

I did not know what we had done, but I was very sorrowful and penitent in keeping with slow burning general outrage. 

Terry was not around so I was on my own along a typical street in the 'burbs. I lived there. Here I am now, carrying roof tiles to guys up the street so they'll like me better. It would work for a while but always like gravity and without actually seeing her the Beauty Queen came back. 

So one sunny morning the Beauty Queen actually walked into a room in the shimmery radiant flesh and there were some neighbors and me, sitting in a room. Well, then. I tried to shift the topic over to that event from the past without mentioning it, which was a very dodgy path to exculpation. 

I alluded and hinted and drew a blank. She not only had no memory of any occasion similar to the one towards which I nudged her, but she did not remember me. 

Repeating my name which had been fed to her by another member of our gathering, she had no recognition. And it was true because she made no eye contact with me while puzzling over the name. I had no contact to her mind with the words she mused over. Woesong?

I had not even existed in her history. So why had I carried the roof tiles up the street?

In the back yard now, the one to which I had handed those tiles was heading off across the sunny yard with a buddy, and said to him, you know, Woesong and Terry, that time with the Beauty Queen -

It isn't true! I yelled. She was just here! She does not even know my name! It didn't happen! Ask anyone who was there!

Did they do any jail time? asked the companion of Roof Tile Guy. 

Sent from Evernote

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Collapsible Weeks

From Evernote:

Collapsible Weeks

I ask Lady, who are those guys down the path? She say, don't know. I say, I'll go see. I think one of them is John Wayne maybe. 

I walk out of our cabin (all my dream settings are rented cabins, disposable, never used more than once; I'm the Don Juan of mise-en-scènes), down an embankment and around to a lower level. There is another cabin there, and another to my left down further towards the lake, but none of the three characters belong to either, apparently. I don't look at he lake itself so I don't have to build it. (This is a secret of film noir.)

They are bundled in gray coats with misshapen headgear. John Wayne has on a sort of babushka, and is undistinguished. He is much shorter in person than onscreen, but all movie characters are that way. 

John Wayne doesn't look at me, or either of the others, doesn't say anything. 

One of his companions places the barrel of a .44 against my chest. The other removes my wallet. 

"It like doesn't end, eventually it doesn't. You make movies and then you're off then you make another movie and then another and eventually it seeps into who you are just as it dominates time until you're essentially your character and forget your other, duller ID. Isn't that how it is?

Yeah, says the one counting the bills from my wallet. It's like a functioning alcoholic. He thinks he's only blitzed on weekends and so isn't really an alky since he has a job and goes to it, and then gradually his week collapses from the weekends at both ends toward Wednesday. 

I hurry up to tell Lady of my meaningful and teachable moment. I tell ya, I learned a lot, truly I did, I say. 

Fine, says Lady, now see if you can go learn where your wallet's gone. 

Oh, yeah, I say. I hustle out, down and around.  Find not even boot prints in the sand. 

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Luncheon, then Photo Shoot

From 11-Oct-1980

This is a complex restaurant setting. I am there on my lunch hour with two women friends. I'm having tea and crumpets, although I don't know what `crumpets' are. The waitress isn't taking my order anyway.

I walk about tables and intricate glassware. One of the women is the better friend, and she has gone. I decide I won't pay.

I have been left with the friend-of-the-friend, and neither of us are happy about that. I am calling for a ride; she waits in an adjoining room, stiffly. I call work as well.

I am driven in a convertible around a residential circle, one of those long drivway U tracks like in romance novels. The driver up front has his lady with him, and they're only acquaintences of mine. He drives very fast in reverse but it's all right. He stops and I step down. I traipse uphill on a road they drive away over in the other direction.

Here is an arcade, a wharf of old whitewashed cavernous brittle flaking concrete. I know where I am. I can be back to work with a long walk through an extended "L" course.

I try and call work again. (I had asked the lady in waiting, I remember now, and she told me it was 1:15 and I've been trying to call work since.) A pay phone fails to connect me. I pass among dowdy rustic fishers, Italians, one plays an accordion, nobody pays me any mind.

I lie down, and I'm in attendance at a Linda Rondstadt concert. I am in the second row, and I have on a Stetson, smiling, and all around they are preparing to go onstage for a photo sequence.

I am not designated, but in the neighborhood of those who are. It's a benefit for an unfortunate, the photo series will tell a story with speaking parts and group shots with the audeince and crew behind Linda. I wonder if my voice will desert me onstage.

Linda warns participants about mugging or "showing your teeth with a hand at your throat." This is, I understand, a cartoon expression of anxious war vets. It will all go to Governor Brown (her strange boyfriend) eventually as some sort of petition. I lay there in my Stetson.

The woman to the right of me goes forward. I don't.

Fascinating Theatre

The young black lady was prepared to save our rotting southern community, lord knoweth how or even why.

She was the director of something she called Fascinating Theatre. On the surface, it looked just like any metroplex. It was the largest building ever in our town, and we were all convinced by the simple fact of it. Its erection showed she had faith in Fascinating Theatre in our town.
Now, we didn't truly understand the theory, but with such grand developments, we didn't figure we had to. Most everybody not otherwise engaged, which was most, became a shareholder, an employee, or both.

She taught us that theatre did not just exist on the ten screens within the walls, but must follow us all the day and into the night. All of us must attend the movies, and when not inside the Theatre we must be working for its success among us, and grateful for our very existence as a direct result of Fascinating Theatre.

She convened a meeting to show us what she meant. The city manager (this was the little bigshot Napoleon complex who was the boss in our office once upon a waketime) was trying to manipulate her. After all, she was a woman, and Black besides.

"I don't think we need both me and the mayor for this ceremony..." he laughed. She must've agreed. Immediately, he was out of the project, and only the mayor stood at one side on opening night.

There was developing a Theatre class, and a detritis of the left-behind. I was over there across the street come opening night. Here come the Director, with another one who resembled her. She was dancing, an African dance, scooting along the walk together with her follower, on the edge nearest the street, grinning broadly. It seemed to be directed at me, standing there in blank stupefication, but maybe all the left-behinds felt that way. I stood across the street, in front of the old Best Theatre, which was decrepit and dying, just watching.

It resembled a dance the natives of the Serengeti might have performed to celebrate the coming of the white man's railroad. It was a ceremony to the successful introduction of Fascinating Theatre to our town, or maybe the failure of the old way, or both.

All that the Theatre class did during the day related to Fascinating Theatre. You tried to catch their eye, thinking, you're kidding, right? but they never blinked. When they talked, they did so in banal boosterism, advertising the savior of their neighborhoods. They sounded like TV commercials. We laughed at them, but we were unnerved. There were few of us, and we had after all been rejected by the Fascinating Theatre.

He is a professional forensic craftsman. He is taking apart a revolver, and he is dusting the shells, and he puts it through a variety of very close order chemical tests there on the table while we watch. He is sweating.

He cannot find what she wants found. He shrugs. His hand is shaking now. She informs us all that probably they must now tear down the front end of the vehicle. I don't know what she means, but he does. His voice cracks as he says, "I can't do it now; I've been here for sixteen hours!"

He is afraid of being taken off the project through failure, or exhaustion. Then he would only be one of us.

There were chats in the coffee shops, casual encounters at Clayton's Grocery, wives in their turnip patches bent double at the waist out on the broad flat field, men sitting on summer evening porches running water from a hose at the St Augustine...

No more. Now in our town nothing else is but the Theatre.

Three-Octave Scale

A very efficient librarian hustles to a volume on a table. I watch from a short distance. She expertly rips a print from a large book and starts back to the reference desk with it. I am appalled. I say to her, but, but, and she ignores me utterly. That's a Botticelli you just ripped out! Amateurs, she is thinking. They don't know the ways of the Library.

I am walking now in step with George, recently deceased, from my old home town. He was a lifetime substance abuser who grew up in the sixties and went away then came back, chagrined, on the mend, an outspoken definer of abuse and its various dodges.

He says, I hear you're quite the show at a party. He says, and so quiet other times. I think, George is such a nice guy. Then as we trudge along, I'm thinking, hey, wait a minute! He just defined a primary pattern of alkies!

One wakes up, startled into a new world. (Am I also waking? I remember a pleasant intricate dream but none of the details preceeding.) He blinks, confused. Someone comes to arrest him. Yes, yes, very well, come along now.

He is nude under a blanket, and he stands up, very tall, and is cuffed with hands behind him. I am given the chore of transporting him. Come along now.He is in a red ermine cloak, and as he walks, some startling changes take place. One, he becomes shorter. Another, I see his hair color turn to grey. His elegant covering becomes a horizontally-striped Indian blanket. Then, he is no longer cuffed, and he walks into a building, looking back at me in some amusement.

He is Bill Bybee, the class clown from my elementary school. I think maybe I should consult the authorities, but I can't see how they would re-arrest someone who has not been arrested in the first place. This is an entirely different person than the one I started out with, and he seems to know the joke is on me, but what is there to do?

The Cottonwoods

They did have plans, the Company, but we had no worries. They had no right. We were safe.

I go down to the water, and skirt it, circle the shore. There is an elevation one-third around with thick brush and elegant cottonwoods. Someone walks there.

 A guy who doesn't look at me, slouching, not moving. I ask if he is with the Company, but he doesn't seem to understand the question, nor I his answer. I go on around the lake.

Half way there is a general store. I think to ask who is the gent up in the cottonwoods, but I don't know the proprietor well enough to ask for anything more involved than milk.

 When I pass the cottonwoods again, the one I saw before is seated at a card table. There are items on it, nondescript, strange. There is no theme, like lemonade or muffins. Also, there are no prices marked. Just toy cap pistols of an ancient vintage, already-colored coloring books, a dollhouse with two walls missing. He doesn't look up as I pass by.

 When I reach the lower section of the shore, I glance back. There are now three slouching figures, seated at individual card tables with various items scattered upon them. They were not looking at one another, nor seemingly anything else.

 "There are three strangers up in the cottonwoods," I say to my Lady when I enter the cabin. She gazes out across the lake. "Five," she says.

We stand looking. "We can be back in the city before dark," she says.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Stuart Lake

My brother Reloj and I have a speaker phone going in a plush and padded parlor (all my dream settings are unknown to me awake). We're chatting with President Obama.

It isn't an interview, or a press conference; just a casual conversation. Barrack is subdued, quiet. I ask if it's possible for the Republicans to render from out of their dismal void a sane and sensible candidate by 2016.

"I mean, has anybody risen so high and so fast from obscurity?"

I'm thinking Barrack Obama, but he says

"Stuart Lake."

Quizzical. I ask Reloj

"Stuart Lake?"

And he says

"That's the way I heard it."

We wait, and listen, but the President says no more. We google Stuart Lake then.

"There are very few angles that sing."

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Do You See Me Standing Here?

From Evernote:

Do You See Me Standing Here?

"The path is level now; no bumps," said Casey. I looked out back. It was true. The ridge was filled with a huge pile of pebbles, chalk-white, and you could form the path with a rake any way you wanted. 

I began with a short trip, then a slightly more distant objective occurred, then a concurrent series of errands, and before too long I was at the library swimming pool. I had not meant to go to the library swimming pool. I would not be home until later than I had anticipated. 

I better text Lady. I have the message on my iPhone, but there is a local provision for routing, a community Wi-Fi resource which requires sufficient study to justify the clerical assistants plus health insurance for all. 

The Interconnectivity manual is on a screen like at airports, but not in columns or on a grid. It was a series of sentences, actually, which is fine but each was modified by another and contradicted by a third, with the implicit understanding that any failure to follow instructions was the sole responsibility of the patron. 

Two figures appeared gliding in the background behind the text on the screen. I hastened to ask if they might answer one question. 

"Yes, I suppose," wearily said he. "'Metonymy' and 'synecdoche' are, in fact, more or less synonymous by now. A part for the whole, a piece for the object, a suggestion for the idea. Each means what the other suggests, though one intends and the other portends allegory." 

"What should manifest to the discerning eye," added her, "Is that our feet, neither of our's, are actually standing, in your pre-sense. And so you may consider what you've learned so far a gift horse."

I looked closely at the screen and they dissolved in accordance with the effort. I had assumed -  incorrectly, as it happened - I might be allowed to select the question. 

Wait, here's Lady Kale herself! I rush to her. She is angry. 

"You should not flash bad grammar and usage," she says. "Everyone may of course see it." 

"Wait, do you mean my text to tell you I would be late? But I never sent it! I was trying to learn how just now."

"Your text is available generally as you thumb it," she said with some resignation. "Didn't you read the instructions?" And she pointed at the screen. 

"Sorry," I said. 

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Syndicate

The Syndicate, bless it, has laid in child care playrooms in many schools and business establishments, large and small. We would alleviate the gender imbalance in the workplace, it was said. Now mother and father each be free to attend boardroom or lathe.

They build many products of all sorts, the Syndicate, and here they were giving back to the workers who had manifested dream in worthy product, plus a little less for the taxman come April.

There are strange blocks for the very young to heft and assemble. Larger than Tinkertoys or Legos and smaller than bricks.

The children are very curious. They handle the blocks. The parents drop the children off and are gone until the afternoon. The children walk and run and play outside and they build with the blocks back in the playroom.

The linchpins by which the blocks connect resemble the Syndicate logo. Isn't that cute? Cute, Syndicate! The Monitors, always smiling, one to every five children, are most helpful. Here, did you notice? Can you see?

Other monitors are not smiling, but no one sees them. They are monitoring, all the same. They watch the children over electronic video monitors; the cameras are so subtle you would hardly notice them in the playrooms.

The rooms of the hidden Monitors are up and away from the playrooms. Each one watches the children. One has shown a preference for chocolate. That one, when handling the couplings shaped like the Syndicate logo, notices a strong aroma of mocha. An onsite Monitor cautions the youngster not to place toys in his mouth.

There is a current running through the linchpins. It is quite pleasing, actually. But some of the blocks can deliver a noticeable shock. Not very pleasant, but insufficient to cause a yelp.

By a strange coincidence, toys in the shapes suggestive of the products or symbols of the few remaining rivals of the Syndicate are the conductors of the mild shock, whereas a pleasant tingle emits from the linchpins. This is not noticed.

In later years, there was immense and inexplicable brand loyalty everywhere the playrooms had been in operation, which was almost everywhere. Visitors from other realms found It really quite puzzling. After all, the products of the Syndicate were mostly mediocre and less. And almost nothing was spent in.research and development by the Syndicate.

It is all really quite puzzling.