I am in a tall apartment building in a city. My friends Stuart and Gil are walking through a hallway next to me.
We pass several rooms. The lighting is dim, the tiles faded and broken, the walls a dingy grey.
Gil knocks on the door of one of the rooms. After a moment, his ex-boyfriend Mitch opens the door and invites us in.
We enter and Mitch sits down in a chair in the middle of this dark, simply furnished room.
We are not in an apartment building.
This is a mental institution. Mitch is a patient there.
"How are you doing?" Gil asks.
"Fine," Mitch replies, flatly.
As they talk, I look around the room.
There is a bed, neatly made in one corner. Along a wall is a set of bookshelves. They are empty.
A single light is in the room, next to the chair Mitch is sitting in.
On the floor at Mitch's left is a small round basket. I bend down and look inside.
It contains small cheap toys you might find in a joke shop. There are Chinese handcuffs, fortune telling fish and little toys that would light up and make sounds.
"Take one," Mitch says to me, "Everyone who visits here gets one."
Gil, Stuart and I reach into the basket and we each take a toy.
"We'd better be going," Gil says.
Gil gives Mitch a hug as we step into the hallway and Mitch closes the door behind us.
We walk to the end of the hallway to a large metal door, painted white. It leads to the exit outside.
We open it and go down several flights of stairs.
Finally, we come upon a corridor. At the far end of the corridor is another large metal door.
The corridor is dimly lit, resembling a utility room. It has electrical switch-boxes and exposed metal pipes. We hear the sounds of the steam room nearby, the heating system hissing and churning liquids through the pipes.
Along the left and right of the corridor are large glass aquariums, several feet high, towering over us.
I feel a chill.
We walk down the corridor and I look inside the aquariums.
They have a layer of dirt inside and, on top of the dirt, are these large pulsating beings. They are brown and dull orange, round, like a beach ball, covered with dirt and slime.
They pulsate and move on their own; some are stuck to the sides of the dirty aquariums.
I find them repulsive.
A man is there on a small wooden stepladder. He has a bucket of dirt and slime and he pours it into one of the aquariums, feeding the beings.
"What are these?" I ask.
"They're chakras," the man replies, "Some people keep them as pets."
"Would you like to have one?" he asks.
"No," I say.
Then I woke up.
Monday, May 23, 2005
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