Last night I had a vivid dream which has stayed with me. These are the details:
I am standing in an incredibly blue lake. The water reaches up to my waist. Looking up, I see a cloudless sky that is as blue as the lake, and it seems to me then as if the heavens and the water are reflecting one another so perfectly as to be one. I look over toward the shoreline. There is a swimming race about to start. The contestants are boys around ten to twelve years old. They are all wearing identical red shorts and red swimmer’s cap. All of them have fierce, combative looks in their eyes as if they want to strangle someone at the end of this race. Their parents stand further back. They are cheering them on with a demonic zeal that contorts their pretty, white, suburban faces into something a lot more ghastly. Someone fires a pistol, and the boys jump into the water. I swim alongside one of the boys. He looks interchangeable from the others, but for some reason I am paying closer attention to him. His freestyle swimming is so fast and graceful as to resemble an angelic dolphin, and soon I see nothing more of him than red shorts and red swimmer’s cap skipping effortlessly across the top of the lake. I am keeping up with him, even as it is clear that I cannot swim nearly as beautifully and as fast as this competitor. At some point, the freestyle swim transitions into a kind of human missile. The boy tucks his chin into his chest, reaches out with his arms, and closes his legs together. A strange force is pushing him across the lake with ever increasing acceleration. He is so linear and fast I cannot tell if he is still on the lake surface or floating through the blue sky. Just when it seems impossible for him to speed up even more, a towering, granite mountain with a vaguely demonic face flutters into existence atop the lake. It looks more like a mirage, and seems to float inches above the blue water, but when seconds later the boy slams into it there is a boom that temporarily deafens me. Rocks stumble down to cover up the hole that is caused when the boy slams into the mountain facade, and then it is as gone as if it never had been there. The mountain flutters momentarily, and then it too simply vanishes. I swim to where the mountain had been. The lake is eerily calm there, and I sense that I am treading water now on a spot that is haunted.
I am walking down a busy alleyway in a working class neighborhood on Manhattan. It is a long time ago. Ellis Island is still the chief gateway into the States, and the buyers and sellers all around me are speaking more languages than I can imagine. I sense that this confusion is what it was like the moment after God disrupted the Tower of Babel. There is a great energy in the air as is apropos for New York City, and yet there is also a vague, disconcerting undercurrent of dread. People are in a hurry to sell what little they have so as to get out of there. Something horrible is going to befall this great city, and people are at the mercy of a handful of swarthy swindlers who see profit in despair. I take too much time pushing my way through the crowd, because by the time I get to the corner it is too late for me. I find the consignment shop on the left hand corner and up a flight of stairs, but an ugly, steel door has been pulled down over the storefront window. There is a sign on the door: Not Coming Back. I look around with growing trepidation to discern if there is anything else open. All the other storefronts are similarly closed for what we assume is going to be an endless night. I walk down the staircase and into the crowd. People are pushing and elbowing one another in a frenzy, and some are starting to run further down the alleyway like they are trying to avoid the bulls in Pamplona. I look up the alleyway. I cannot see what is about to trample them underfoot, but I can see the open eyed fear on all their faces. I hold onto a post to avoid being swept into this hot stampede of fear, and then I make my way down another alleyway to an idling taxicab.
I do not see the taxicab driver. Neither do I speak to him. He already knows where it is I need to go, though, and so I simply hold on in the backseat as he swerves in and around masses of frightened, fleeing people. At one point, he screeches to a stop. I see outside a woman who resembles my deceased paternal grandmother. Though she is not caught up with the stampede all around her, she is clearly agitated. I roll down my window, and I see that she is a kind of gypsy now with her low hanging, loose blouse and bejeweled skirt. She is a heavy, elderly woman trying to capture someone’s eye with her voluptuous curves. I am terribly aggrieved. My gypsy grandmother pokes through the rear passenger window. Her dangling breasts practically rub up against my face. She looks at the driver while directing her comments at me. I need to fetch the videotape before it is too late. I screwed up in not getting to the consignment shop on time. I need to be very careful not to screw up again. The videotape has all of our memories, and right now it is in the dirty hands of one of these street merchants. Get the damned thing, and get it back at once to her pad. One of her “girls” will fetch me a nickel, if I can get the videotape to her in time.
I am floating several yards above the top of a green hill. The air around me is cool, clean, and bathed in white sunlight. I sense other people floating beside me, but I cannot see any of them. I look down. There is a mad army of medieval villagers with pitchforks and knives climbing up the side of the green hill. They look like they are on the hunt now for Frankenstein’s Monster. I contort my body into a missile (chin tucked in, arms reaching out, and legs closed) and am pushed forward. I smashed into the side of a mountain that I see flicker into existence just seconds before I strike it. I realize then that I have been floating inside that mountain, and by smashing into the side of it from the inside I have made a hole that allows for a kind of portal between our two worlds. I float back inside the mountain and off to the side. Spock, the Vulcan from “Star Trek,” floats up to the big circle from further inside the mountain. He is carrying a cauldron of molten lava that he upends through the hole. The molten lava falls in fiery clumps onto the scowling army of men below us. This forces them to retreat, even if only for a while, as the hole closes up on us. Spock retreats back to where I cannot see him. I am alone floating in the cool air.