I’m the operator of a cable car that travels between six planets in the deeper realms of outer-space. Out the triangular windows are various celestial sights that would undoubtedly mesmerize my waking-self but don’t phase my dreaming-self in the least. It’s all routine to me.
Today we’re traveling at a ridiculously high speed — way faster than usual. Emily is sitting across from me. I can sense that she is nervous. I glance around the car and realize that everyone is overtaken with a silent fright — and they are all looking to me for some sort of guidance. The car is a bit rundown and could use a paint job — the green pleather seats are torn and a good few of the lights are dim or flickering. As I’m glancing around the car it dawns on me (in a rather causal way, might I add) that we will all die in this car and, in fact, be dead within the next few minutes. The cables have snapped, and we are plummeting through space at an incomprehensible speed — a speed, that alone, will destroy this steel car and our ripe bodies within it.
I knew something was different about today. What am I talking about?! I’ve been working this job too long. There is no “today”. I haven’t lived a solid “day” in years . . . or a night for that matter. Life, for me, exists in perpetual motion. I have no star to call “Sun”, and I’m not even oriented by the billions that surround me. This car is routed on cables. The steering wheel in my hands is just for show. My presence here is a joke.
I decided it’s better to keep a straight face. No one needs to know about our fate. They will only freak out and begin to scream. And Emily? …why worry her? …to what avail? No, I’ll keep quite. Smile around, and send her a wink. We will all be stardust soon enough….
Suddenly, my ears begin to tingle and then sting. And then a single, insistent, and ever-sharpening pain shoots through my skull. The sharpest I have ever felt. I look around . . . everyone is cupping their ears with their hands . . . mouths agape. My eyes widen, mouth drops open. Am I screaming? Are they screaming? We all seem to be screaming. It feels like I’m screaming. The pain between my ears is so acute that, even though it is deathly silent, it is the loudest, most terrible thing I have ever heard. My consciousness, and entire life, have been swallowed by the searing pain — and I vanish into the empty soundless space.
I awaken in my room, it’s 1am, and I have the worst earache I have ever had.
I’m in a room, fairly large, square in shape, very high ceilings, no visible entrance or exit. I am among a group of people, dressed in black robes, whispering, pacing, whispering. The shape of a human form, small, sits indian style on a raised platform at what seems to be the front of the doorless room. Bundled in a white robe. His head is lowered. Hair white and frizzy. Above him is a spherical, pulsating blackness, subtle on the eyes.
I wait. I don’t know what I’m doing here.
His head moves up. I’m standing to his left. He looks straight ahead, yet into me and through me. His face is other worldly, eyes beaming an blue-green alien light. His features — indescribable with language — not ugly, not beautiful. Beyond words. I know that he knows.
I am shaking. I am emptied out. My sleep is taken from me.
I’m sneaking out of an abandoned house. I am covered with red dust from scarping against the bricks. The main entryway is tight, I’ve squeezed myself through it before, but this time I realized that there is a easily opened window on the side of the house — which would be better to use to avoid visibility. The police have been violent lately with trespassers.
I get out and make my way into a red van. It’s night. The van moves back and forth within a length of only a few feet, but somehow I am at an entirely new location. No, actually it’s the same house, but there seems to be a party happening inside. I crawl back through the window and am greeted by a woman with the head of a deer. She leads me into the basement. There is a bedroom and I go in to take a nap. When I wake up a man is sleeping next to me, and there are about ten small clay figures of (mainly) fetuses lined up by the door. I go to check them out, some are still soft. My friend, Chris, mailed them to me from afar. They are exquisitely detailed. One is of a mother eating her child. Another is of four skeletons holding hands and sitting in a circle — every bone accounted for. One, a purple faceless Indian deity sitting on a pile of splintered bones. Someone tries to handle the mother/child one and it is almost flattened, but I gently take it away before that happens. I leave them at the door and follow the candles to a windowless room, there are people sitting in rows. I am escorted to the front by the deer-headed woman. After I take my seat I realize that I am at a wedding. It is for my friends, Eamon & Lisa. They come out wearing, what looks like, pajamas — one-piece, black and with a large neon green collar. The ceremony is quick, and a loud applause happens, but no one has moved. They take their leave with a big smile and small bow. Still, no one moves — I sit awhile motionless and then get up. The room is empty and the ceiling has lowered to the point that I almost hit my head. The door has moved to other side of the room. Hunched over, I leave. I am upstairs, starring at the main exit. It’s still bricked up tight. I see the open window, but decide to push my way through the small hole instead. My body folds, unnaturally, but without pain. And I am covered again in red dust. ♨
The tall woman was seven feet tall. She was walking. I kneeled down to gather a handful of white flowers and came back inside to put them in a jar which needed to be fiddled with or cleaned. Inside the brown skinned man’s car with him like a spouse only we must have been somewhere where you drive from the left side. He was really happy to be in his car and he rubbed the ceiling. He had drinks to mix in the back. It was a strange thought to be married to a man I couldn’t remember being intimate with.
In a house looking for a room for the little boy, there was a room with old grey paintings, down steps and somewhere I knew he would feel creepy. Once I got to go to sleep in one of the three beds, a man with brown arms wrapped himself around my back strangely in desire. He was no one I knew. I was so relieved to see my little infant child crawling up beside the bed. I gathered her up. Then someone came in with guns. The ones out of the beds were in trouble. They were chained up. It was really disturbing.
I look to the right outside the passenger-side window into a blue crystalline cove of water with clay formations holding sparkling pools. I say nothing, but I too am amazed at what we found right near us. To the left is a huge tuft of brownish grasses and the air is vast in the landscape. I feel a palpable hope. We are cresting a hill in a car. We have escaped into a paradise. J is smiling. The sky is a vivid blue and everywhere I look is a sparkling water, or a formation of clay. We are walking now. There is a large conch-shell shaped formation that juts up on one side It has huge loopy openings. I hear a familiar photographer’s voice saying a technical term from photography. I float up to get a different angle. Looking down the long dusty road we came from in the distance, I think I make out a white bus coming. Then I see colors in the dust which are people everywhere, and up in the high clay cliffs, people running in Jalibiyas and turbans all coming for us. Some are carrying vendor boxes. We head back. We sort of run too…Its exciting. A short wet headed man looks up at us. He has skin the color of a muddy river, and he is wearing a nightdress or a Jalabiya.” Happy New Year!” J says. We are making a run for it. I don’t know why we are scared.
We push through double doors and are in a subway corridor. J slides in to sit at a bench near restaurants. Two large African American men in glossy eighties Baseball jackets are sitting in front of us but I don’t look at them. I am looking at the food. I noticed some enormous grilled scallops. You are upset about something irritating your mom did. I sort of tune you out and listen to the people around us.
Children are complaining about their orders. “Smaller shizzazz stew.” A boy said in a bored voice and sends his bowl of goulash back. A doe-eyed girl has a chunk of lard with black things in it on her right shoulder. As we talk J says he has to go set up for the hootu ritual. Says he will do just about anything for Lars. This doesn’t make much sense, being that my brother Lars doesn’t do rituals that I know of.
I recall that we were home, I wondered if I smelled like sex. I was dressed and ready for work and thinking I might not go. Still, I went to work at school on a Wednesday, even though I didn’t work on Wednesdays. I had gone into an office where my old principal was sitting in a roly-chair. I was stapling my credit card readout like one does in waiting tables at the end of the night. I asked her for the tape and began to put it back in the drawer until I realized it had been to the right of the computer keyboard before. I felt as though she was disappointed and shamed me. “Its wednesday, I didn’t have to come to work.” I said, in my defense. “I was surprised to see you.” she replied. Earlier I had sat in the back of a class, broken up a fight even. In the classroom, I had asked a question about having a cultural day. I was braiding a left chunk of my hair as I spoke, and forgot my question, so I asked about hair braiding. I wanted to know if we could all braid our hair like Dion. I could see the students in front of me. I could feel my blond hair in my fingers. It was an awkward question toward the end of class. I could tell the teacher did not appreciate the distracted opening into chaos. A few rows up, a girl I haven’t seen in more than fifteen years was saying she would like to have her hair braided too.
When I left the classroom, I entered a place of smooth dark glossy over-buffed floors and brick walls. I saw that under a ladder, a box of wine had broken. A few Latina women tittered about the spill. I smiled even though the specific funny word that raised her eyebrows meant nothing to me. There was a cleaning up and everything seemed cleared away and pushed back to reveal space. It all had to do with a man with a forgettable name.
I’m in a warehouse. It is owned by my father. Completely covering the floor is a pink/purple chemical which is a metre deep. I am above it on wooden walkways. My father is walking in the stuff. It is extremely dense and sticky, however, it doesn’t separate from itself–so as you walk you sink into the floor, and when you lift your leg the material clings to the bottom of your shoe, but only to a certain height and then it utterly releases and bounces back into its previous state, never losing solidity with itself. After a few minutes I decide it’s safe to walk on. I talk to my father, curious about why this strange stuff is covering the floors, and he explains that it is a drug that people take. We walk to the dumpster (which is inside) and he starts rummaging through it. Something explodes soaking me in smelly trash water. I’m annoyed because I have nothing to change into, nor do I have a towel to clean myself. I leave the warehouse and go outside. It is night. As I’m walking I see a very tall, thin woman dressed in black. She is has a large, glimmering knife and is approaching a backturned man. I yell, “You’re going to stick that knife in me!” She freezes thinking it is a disembodied voice. Fearing that she is insane, she leaves the man alone. I continue walking into the darkness. ♨