Friday, September 5, 2003

Flies and Pearls in Bodega Bay

I am in the middle of a large office complex.

I stand in the center of the office complex, a series of hallways going out in all directions, with escalators going up to higher floors.

The office complex has a high ceiling, similar to a multistory mall and, in front of me, is a large geodesic dome. There is fake greenery planted all around the dome.

People wearing business suits rush around the office complex. They look worried.

All of them have pinks slips of paper. They talk with each other about being laid off from work.

All of the businesses in this office park have gone under.

They talk about their jobs, their friends, and good times and bad times in the offices as they worked together.

Some hug each other and get teary-eyed.

I decide to walk down one of the hallways of the office complex.

The hallway, with doors of businesses on each side, opens up more as I walk along. It changes as I walk.

I am on the street of a small coastal town. It is similar to Bodgega Bay in the Hitchcock film, “The Birds”. I see small shops and a cafĂ©. I smell the ocean breeze.

The local people in the streets talk about tourists that are coming. They talk about the factories closing in the town and the new shops and businesses that are opening to appeal to the tourists.

I see a small shop up ahead, a large wooden sign showing a fish hanging out over the sidewalk above the door. I walk inside.

There is a line of people, waiting patiently. I get in the back of the line.

There is a Latin man, the owner of the shop, sitting at a counter. He has dark skin, a moustache, and wears a white rumpled shirt and hat.

The people in the line talk to him about scheduling a fishing trip with him as a guide. He owns a boat.

It is my turn in the line.

"What do you want?" he asks.

"I'd like to learn how to make flies," I reply.

The man looks me up and down, glaring at me and playing with his moustache. He is annoyed and surprised.

"Do you know how boring that is?" he asks, "Are you sure you don't want to go fishing?"

"No, I want to learn how to make flies," I say.

"Have you ever been fishing?" he asks.

"A few times," I say. "It was okay."

"Are you sure you really want to learn how to make files? It's really boring," he says.

"Yes. I like doing things with my hands."

"It's really boring. What's the most boring thing you've ever done?"

I don’t have an answer.

The man thinks for a moment, looking at people in the line behind me.

"Sure, okay,” he says, smiling. “I'll teach you how to make flies. Come back in a couple of weeks and we'll get started."

I turn and walk away from the counter.

The people at the shop sit at wooden benches eating fancy French and Italian deserts.

There is an empty seat at one of the tables; I sit down.

The owner of the shop walks up behind me, sitting a dish and spoon on the table in front of me.

I look down at my dessert ­ it resembles vanilla ice cream, floating in a cloudy white liquid.

The owner examines the bowl.

"Excuse me," he says, "There's a pearl in yours. I'm terribly sorry."

He picks up the spoon and retrieves the pearl. He takes the pearl with him as he walks away.

I dig my spoon into the desert and it hits something hard.

I lift up my spoon and find a whole string of pearls hanging from it.

I am on the main street of the town. It is cold and getting dark. The town is deserted.

I walk along the streets. Everything looks run down and dilapidated.

I notice the shop I had visited earlier. The sign hangs askew, the wood weathered and the painted fish on it faded.

I open the squeaky door and walk inside. There is dust everywhere; tables and chairs are overturned.

I walk to the counter. There is a slip of paper there. I pick it up.

It reads, “He left his tantric ways and skipped town. There's nothing to see here. Keep moving. -- Matt Redbear".

Then I woke up.

Golden Gate Airport Filing Cabinet

I wake up in an apartment in San Francisco.

The place belongs to someone else. I am visiting the city for a few days. They are letting me stay there.

It is a beautiful apartment in an older building, warm and inviting, with big windows. There’s a wonderful view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I stretch and yawn. I move the white sheet to uncover myself. I get out of bed.

I walk around the room towards the window in my underwear. I look around, stretching and waking up, feeling the warm sun all over my body.

I hear someone else stirring in the room.

A drop-dead gorgeous man is in my bed. He leans back on a couple of pillows, naked, the white sheet pulled up to his waist. He stretches and yawns, the golden sun beaming off of his hard tanned body.

"Morning," he says. "It was nice."

I am taken aback. I don’t recognize him.

"We spent the night together?" I ask.

"Yes," he says. "But, don't worry. I'm just a figment of your imagination."

"Oh," I reply, somewhat confused.

I notice the man’s eyes as he looks at me. They are so blue and intense they almost glow.

“Your eyes are beautiful,” I say, “What kind of work do you do?”

The man tells me about his favorite ways of having sex ­ positions, locations, what he would do with my body.

“I really enjoyed last night,” he says, smiling.

He doesn’t mention what he does for a living.

“I’d better go take a shower,” I say.

I walk out of the apartment and into a hallway, making my way to a bathroom I know is up ahead. The wooden floors of the hallway creak as I walk; I feel the soft warm carpet running down the center of the hallway beneath my feet.

I open the door and go into the bathroom.

Two men are there, going about their morning. One is toweling off, just having taken a shower. Another stands at a mirror, shaving.

There is no eye contact between them and myself. It’s as if we share the same space, but they cannot see each other nor can they see me.

Things seem strange ­ I decide to skip the shower.

I exit the bathroom and walk back into the hallway. It has changed ­ it seems to go on for miles in the distance.

I decide to explore, to see what’s ahead in the distance. The apartment building hallway changes as I walk.

I am in the lobby of a large office building. There are people milling about, going in and out of a set of elevators in front of me. Some stand and talk with each other.

I wait there for a moment, still in my underwear, and watch them. They are dressed in suits and carry laptops and briefcases. They do not see me.

I continue walking through the lobby and enter a revolving door that leads outside.

I am on a long, narrow airport concourse with windows on either side.

Passengers rush about, going to and from their flights. Some carry or roll baggage. There are men and women, all ages. Some look like they are on vacation, others are dressed for business.

I am still just wearing my underwear. They do not notice me.

I look out the windows of the concourse. I recognize that I am in Los Angeles.

I continue walking and, up ahead, I see a film crew. They are shooting a scene with two men chasing another. They have guns. I step aside as they pass by.

I look through the windows. I want to go outside and enjoy the sun.

Suddenly, I am in a college, standing in an empty hallway. Everything is quiet and still.

There is a lecture hall ahead of me. I walk into it, feeling the cold institutional tiles beneath my feet, looking at the drab, somewhat dirty, beige concrete walls.

I walk into a tiered lecture hall. It is filled with old desks, all tightly packed.

I see a small wooden door, about three feet tall, on the far wall of the lecture hall near the podium.

I must get to the door.

I can barely walk because of the tightly packed desks.

I examine the desks. They are worn and covered with graffiti.

Each of the desks has a small rectangular wire frame on top for an index slip, similar to what one might see on a filing cabinet. Each frame contains a slip of paper.

My name is written on the slips of paper.

I finally make my way to the small wooden door near the podium.

I reach for the brass doorknob. I turn it and open the door.

Then I woke up.