Archive for dreams
The restaurant was illuminated by built in wall lighting so that parts were bright but pockets of near darkness were scattered throughout the room. A posse of early evening clientele were seated, talking, and sipping their pre-dinner cocktails. Through the kitchen doors, the faint sound of a busy kitchen could be heard. Delicious smells wafted out from behind the same doors. Paul was seated at a side table and was just finishing his second Manhattan. He had already made his mind up that he would opt for the fish dish tonight. Maybe the salmon. There was just something about the smell of salmon on a hot grill.
The tall, gracious woman glided into the room, her coat flowing behind her, a small hat with a green feather on her head. She scanned the room and her eyes settled on Paul; I small grin crossed her face, a face that bore the unmistakable signs of recent botox injections.
“Hello Paul, how lovely to see you.” Her approach was preceded by a subtle scent that Paul could not quite place. It reminded him of something or someone.
Paul, seated in a dark corner of the room, away from the other diners, rose to his feet politely. He felt rather light headed. Was this the woman of his dreams or maybe he was really, really hungry.
“Er, good afternoon, er, evening.” He pushed his chair back, moved around the table, and pulled back the second chair at the table, indicating for her to sit. The chair made a terrible noise and some of the other diners looked over at who or what was causing a disruption to their deliberations.
She looked down at him, a hint of a smile on her face. She raised her hands and sat down next to Paul. “How are you doing? How are the roses?” She placed her expensive leather handbag open the table. Paul looked to see if he could see any identifying initials. Who was this woman? But he had identified the scent. It was Opium or some such name as that. His wife had used it a lot. And what the hell was all this about roses. He wouldn’t know a rose from a daffodil.
Paul’s brown frowned. He was unsure what she was talking about. He tried to cover his confusion by a quick response. “Um, er, they’re doing well, thank you.” In his haste he dropped his napkin on the floor. Would it be impolite to reach down for it or just leave it where it had fallen? She might think he was trying to do something else, something entirely different than retrieving an innocent napkin. One of the wait staff dropping a tray of plates interrupted his thoughts. The noise in the restaurant seemed to be intensifying. Now the kitchen noises were raised and it seemed all the diners had started yelling at each other.
The woman seemed to take his response in and snapped back. “Betty well? I haven’t seen her for a while. And how is the new grandchild. It’s a girl isn’t it. Madison – something. What an unusual name. You must be thrilled.” She adjusted her wrap and to Paul it appeared she was actually looking down her nose at him.
Paul was now completely confused. Who was Betty? What grandchild was she talking about? Who was this woman? Now he wasn’t even sure about the perfume. “Yes, yes. All well.” Best, he thought to leave the napkin where it was and just hope that this woman, who was now glancing around the room, would just leave him alone. Seeing no one else she could sit with she noisily drew back her chair, picked up he bag and rose.
“I won’t keep you. Have a lovely day.” She turned on her heels and walked out of the restaurant. Paul, in his haste to be polite and stand, knocked his drink over. The smell of spilt whisky and the woman scent made for a heady mix. His head was spinning and the room started to go in and out of focus.
Paul sat down heavily. He must be getting Alzheimer’s.
Meanwhile the elegant woman looked back into the restaurant. I sly grin came over her face. She quickly adjusted her hat and strolled down the road to the next restaurant on the high street
The floor in front of me twisted and buckled madly and I felt my bowels evacuate a watery fecal gruel. I wildly scanned my memory for where I should shelter on a fourth floor building when an earthquake struck. I came up empty. I knew that lifts were out and somewhere in the deep recesses of my now terrified mind I thought of stairwells and arches. The balcony to my right suddenly gave way and amidst the dust and flickering lights I saw the door to the stairs a quick seconds sprint beckoning me, as the stench from my body finally penetrated my consciousness. I could hear the crumbling of the internal walls, the screaming of those unfortunate souls who couldn’t escape, and I thought of my own mortality. The roaring of the disintegrating building was terrifying. Each shock seemed to go on for eternity and then there was sudden silence. I relaxed and then another rumbling shock lifted the floor from under me and all around glass exploded and the screaming continued.
He stood there, in the car park, his red and black shirt sending its ominous message to passerbys. The black and chrome of his motorcycle, the weapons attached to the saddlebags, the string of off-siders, crouched in readiness around him. His widows peak didn’t make you want to giggle into your hand in mock embarrassment; it made you want to avert your eyes for fear of recrimination. He had once been a national icon as musician and poet, recently more notorious for befriending liberal-minded female patrons who funded his expensive alcohol and drug habit and elevated him to a kind of Robin Hood character. He held his arms out to me as I lurched through the smoke filled air.
“Bro! I didn’t mean for you to trash the whole building. Just do the business and vamoose. Kapeech?”
I was momentarily taken aback by his unfamiliar language; then it filtered through. I grinned, pretending that I was indeed, the man. Overhead the sound of crumbling concrete and twisted metal, tore through the strangely silent afternoon. Distantly I could hear the stirrings of the first fire appliances, ambulances, and possibly police. I could see the scanner on the back of Chris’s bike emitting signals.
“We better make ourselves invisible,” he whispered, conspirationally into my reddened ears.
I scrambled into the back of the awaiting RV and we roared off as the first of the suburban saviors screeched to a halt outside the stricken building. As I gazed out through the tinted rear windows of the departing vehicle I could see streams of survivors staggering form the building. The fools in the van with me didn’t realise they had been witness to the largest earthquake to have hit our city. They thought it was the charges that I had not yet laid; the charges that lay in the basement of the building. The charges that were sure to be discovered by the authorities when they scoured the building for survivors. As I was removing the large poster tube that contained my assassin’s rifle from my back, I saw my own motorcycle lying under a pile of rubble beside the road. The motorcycle that could now link me to that building and those explosives. I had to think of a way to get back there and remove all signs of my presence.
“Christ! What’s that smell?”
I must admit that doubts did enter my mind as I sighted down the long barrel of the heavily modified assault rifle. In the telescopic sights I had fixated who had been described to me as the enemy. She looked far from it. Flowing golden hair, those bee-stung lips, the Californian tan – she seemed as distant from an enemy as the small child playing at her feet. I squeezed the trigger and the soft thump of the bullet exiting the gun belied the enormous kick as it jerked in my hands. She reeled backward, the small child was covered in a wash of blood, horrified onlookers crouched and covered their heads with white-knuckled hands, as if that would provide them any relief. I shifted position as he had instructed me to do so and waited for the next target.
I cleared the rubble around the stricken vehicle and assessed the damage. Although the rear tire was flat, I held a portable tire repair cylinder in my hand. That would not be a problem. I could see that the headlamp and controls were twisted, but they looked usable. I inserted the repair kit over the valve and pushed the inflator. Suddenly I sensed a nearby presence and out of the side of my eye, I caught a flash of red and black. The incident in the truck would now come back to haunt me. I felt under the seat for my sidearm. It was gone.
“Looking for this bro?”
He held the nickel plated automatic out from his body at a ninety degree angle. He looked as though pulling the trigger would be as easy as twitching his eye.
“You’re not going to shit yourself again.” He said mocking me as I automatically held up my hands.
I am now asked WHY I DID IT. I answer in psychobabble, that debased and vague confessional language that allows people to imagine they are baring their souls when in fact they are exposing their shallowness. They are impressed, not so much by my advanced rhetoric (because they are all part of a trivialized educational system which equates confidence and poise with success), but by my ability to self reflect. Even if I explained myself as a demented she-wolf raised from the spawn of an alien master race, they would nod sagely, scribble unintelligibly on their paper tablets, then usher me into a rehabilitative program guaranteed to reform me to societies mores. I wondered if my neighbors back home would describe me as a friendly man, an *** (whatever it was they thought I did and it should start with a dominant vowel) who had lived in a modest home in Evansville and kept a neat lawn. He frequently jogged. “I was really surprised. As far as I knew, he was an outstanding neighbor.” I tell them they disgust me-they are impressed that this is a sign of my ‘active return to engagement’ with ‘my social self’. Hey! I did it because I could.
I jerk awake. My body is still anchored to the bed but my brain is humming with tinnea-like constancy. What the hell did all that mean?