First, my buddy was there, Randy. Randy died years ago, colon cancer, just before his sixtieth birthday. He was two months older than me.
Suddenly, in my dream, he was still the hale and hardy southern boy I’d always known, a man without an ounce of remorse, but charming and polite, a rogue right out of a Faulkner novel. He was always an entertaining and generous man.
So he was in my dream, coming along as he did, naked, as he was, which was startling. Part of my conscious mind intruded, hollering, “Time out! Why is Randy, who is dead, naked in my dream?” Dream me just ordered, “Go with it, dude.”
Still, it was non-plussing to be visiting Randy at his house. Naked, he was talking and entertaining me, talkin’ about sports and music, while providing beer and hot wings.
Sometime during the dream flow, the house spun, or I left, or Randy left. Maybe it’s just a dream gap. However and whenever, I was now out in a woods, on a hill, by a cave. I’d been walking and was sweating, so I stopped to drink some water.
I’d noticed the cave. Weeds and brambles were growing around the entrance. The entrance’s squared-off appearance made me wonder what was within, and enticed me to explore. Searching for what might be within the cave — is it a cave or an old mine? What makes me think it’s an old mine? — I entertained entering it but hesitated. One, it looked dark. Two, I didn’t have a light. Three, there might be animals within in. Four, it might collapse.
But it looked sturdy, tall, and wide. The entrance seemed to be reinforced with cut granite. Beginning to think that it was part of a train tunnel, or for cars, I looked for railroad tracks, a road, or some vestiges that could be evidence of its previous use.
While this is all happening, I’m suddenly aware a man is there. White guy, not particularly old in appearance, but still with a balding gray head and a tidy gray goatee. I thought he was was wearing a toga but then he seemed to be in a suit but without a tie. I think he was barefoot. I also wondered if he’d come out of the tunnel, but he was behind me, so I thought, no, that can’t be right. Was he there before?
I then saw a pile of railroad ties to one side, prompting, aha, this probably was built as a train tunnel. Thinking that encouraged me to want to explore the tunnel because a tunnel is safer than a cave, was the reasoning, partly because it’ll be open on the other end and lead somewhere.
The man and I hadn’t addressed one another. In fact, I had the impression that he didn’t want to be disturbed. Just something about his demeanor.
Now, though, he was approaching me. I turned polite, expectant attention his way. He was holding a gray mortar and pestle. As I took him in with some wariness, I had the impression that he was offering that to me.
Which he was. “Here, this is for you.”
“What is it?” It looked like off-white shavings. I was suspicious.
“Medicine for what?”
“For everything. It’ll cure everything. Take as much as you want.”
“Okay, don’t mind if I do.” I reached in and took with my fingertips, then pushed it into my mouth.
Randy showed up and said, “I’ll take some of that.” He then helped himself as the man shrugged and said, “Help yourself, there’s plenty here.”
The dream ended.