Down and Up the Mountain Dream

Last night I had a vivid dream which has stayed with me. These are the details:

I am standing at the top of a tall, rocky mountain that juts like an upturned thumb over the Mediterranean. The water below is ink blue, tranquil, and endless. There is only the hint of white foam from when the small waves break over old, splintery rocks. Soaring from the horizon line is a lighter blue sky undisturbed by clouds. It is high noon, and the sun is caressing gently the back of my neck. There are three identical structures which resemble the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco except that they are as white as snow and trimmed with garland. The three palaces rest along the edge of the cliff. The palace that is on the tip of the thumb is the one in which I am standing. It is an open air, empty space held up by Roman columns, and I am standing in between two of the columns at the edge. The palaces to my left and to my right are enclosed spaces. I step back from the cliff and over to the center of the circular marble floor. When I look straight up I see the sky dancing through the dome as a rainbow of colors. I step out from the palace and onto the road that dead ends at the top of the mountain. I view further down the road a middle aged, black man who resembles an overweight Satchmo. He wears a fine, black tuxedo and carries a walking stick with an ivory handle. His shoes are pink, fluffy, bunny slippers. His grin is big, wide, and mischievous. His eyes are much more intelligent and sinister. I see him, and immediately turn into one of the enclosed palaces.

Inside the enclosed palace is an exact replica of the Oval Office in the White House. The windows inside this Oval Office look out over the Rose Garden. There is a man seated in front of the Resolute Desk. He is waiting for me with a script in hand. I acknowledge him and take a seat behind the Resolute Desk. There is a script waiting for me on the desk. I pick it up and start to recite movie lines. The man seated on the other side of the desk is my scene partner. We both assume the posture and the voice of the “President” and his “Advisor” conferring on an important matter. While replaying this scene, I look to my side and see the overweight black man standing in the Rose Garden. He stares at me with his cold eyes. His grin is even wider than before. I leave the Oval Office without providing my scene partner any explanation. I step outside, and I see the overweight black man is out there already waiting for me. I am going to escape into the third palace, but then change my mind. I hurry down the street instead.

I am seated on a sofa in an overcrowded living room. There is a party going on, and I am in a tight space between two other men who are each holding identical scripts. As I look around I see other men and women seated nearby with scripts in their hands. The party guests are circling around to hear us recite lines from a movie. My copy of the script is on the coffee table in front of me. Unlike everyone else’s copies, my copy is not creased nor marked. There is no indication that it has ever been read. The actors remain seated, but play out their parts with their voices and melodramatic poses. They have their lines very well memorized, and keep their scripts closed on their laps as a sign that they know the work. I take my script, and I open it. I stand out like a sore thumb, since I do not know any of the lines, let alone my own. I find my character in the script and read my lines as needed. I try to create some sort of character with my voice, but mine is considerably less real than what the other actors are able to do. When not reciting their dialogue lines from memory, the other actors look at me with disgust. My sight-read is clearly not as believable as what they are doing with their prepared material. I am bringing down the performance overall. The partygoers are snickering at us. Several of them have started to throw food at our direction. I pretend to ignore the audience, but I cannot prevent the cold sweat from starting to pour down my forehead and onto my open script.

I am walking down a grimy, inner city sidewalk with a pact of actors. We are dressed in black cassocks and John Lennon style sunglasses. It is a dark night, and the tall, brick buildings on both sides hide the moonlight from us. There is a dingy fog that hangs over everything like a mold speckled blanket. Television lights from inside apartments cast intermittent light on this fog, but otherwise it is felt more than seen. The actor closest to me is an older man with whom I have acted in the past. I do not know the others who are in the pact. We all walk as a group down steps to the side that lead into a gutter. A door down there opens into an underground goth punk club. Emaciated drug addicts in goth punk garb languish in dark corners or lean against the candlelit walls. They stare into the eternal blackness with expressions on their thin, painted faces that are equally hopeless and serene. I step away from the pact of actors towards a brightly lit room. A dominatrix in a stark, black wig leans beside the door to this room. She grins at me as I pass her as if to say, “You have no idea what you’re getting into in there.” The brightly lit room is small, dirty, and rat infested. It looks like a space that had been a powder room but is now a closet for one’s private horrors. I stare into what looks like a dingy, cracked bathroom mirror. The light inside the room dims, and a sepia toned film appears on the mirror. I behold film footage of my older actor friend sucking another man’s large penis. My older friend’s eyes are clenched shut, and there is a sour look on his mouth. He has the sickly look of a man forced to do what he is doing. The penis lifts up and to the side like an upturned thumb. It glows white like something shot on X-ray film. I hear the rats scampering closer to my feet. I want to leave this room, but sense that I cannot do so.

A pretty, young woman is seated on a train. It is the mid 1920s, and she is dressed in a black, cloche hat with white ribbon and a black dress. She wears a delicate, ivory cross over her chest. She could be a schoolmarm except for her thick, black boots, which are scuffed from a lot of trips up trails and down alleyways where most women of her time do not tread. She is a white woman with large curls of brunette hair that playfully sneak out from beneath her cloche hat. Everyone on the train car is white except for the porter who looks like Satchmo. The porter is pleasant to everyone but is especially kind to this young woman. He makes a point of tipping his hat whenever he passes by her. The train rolls up and around the green, snow speckled Alps. Soon, the green grass will give way to the ice packed mud that blankets much of the winter; but for today anyway this little part of the world remains perched on that delicate line between seasons. A handsome, affable man with a movie script in hand sits beside the woman, and he strikes up a nice conversation with her. We see them talk from up close, and then we see them talk as if we are hovering just outside the window in the frosted, windy air. We watch from outside as the woman politely steps away from the conversation and walks down the middle of the train car. She steps into the next car, which has far fewer people, and we watch from outside as a crane from on high lifts this car up from the tracks. The crane lowers the car onto train tracks that are directly above the former tracks. The train below reconnects as if this car had never been there, and it continues on its way. The car above rolls forward on its own momentum awhile, and then connects with the train that is rolling forward on those tracks. These tracks are sloping upward towards the sky and away from the snow capped mountains below. The ramp holding up the train tracks falls away, and soon the tracks are being held up by nothing other than the air. The train rolls up these tracks in breakneck speed towards the ink blue sky and the first hints of starlight.

The pretty, young woman stands in the aisle of the train car. The man with the script who had been talking to her below apparently followed her into this train car. He removed his jacket along the way. He is wearing a white shirt with red suspenders. His kind manner is gone. He is now frightened and irate. He points toward the train far below that cannot be seen anymore from up here. He wonders why on earth she left that train for this one. The train down there has so many more people. This is so much more potential down there. This one is too serene. Most of the seats are empty, and the few people seated here and there are too quiet and unassuming to be all that fun. This car is a waste especially for a pretty girl like her and a handsome guy like him. When the man finishes with his tirade, the woman just smiles and takes her leave.

For a moment, the pretty, young woman is floating in outer space. She rests one hand on her heart, and reaches forward and up with her other hand. The stars dance around her.

And then she is back in her seat. She sees the porter tip his hat, and she smiles back in her polite way. She settles in for a long trip, as the train rolls around the high mountains and into the night.

Published by Michael Sean Erickson

I write, act, and produce films in Los Angeles. Everything else is conjecture.

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