It’s been several months since I’ve had a military dream. Being retired military, I always think of these dreams as representative of my desires for structure, order, and accountability. The dreams usually lack these things, which might be evidence about my state of thoughts when I’m awake.
This dream found me again as an U.S. Air Force master sergeant returned to active duty. As in my final years, I was working for the commander, a brigadier general. In this case, though, nobody was expecting me. Announcing my arrival, I was given a large packet of mail that’d arrived for me in anticipation of my arrival. Other than that, nobody noticed me at all.
The command section was noisy with overcrowded activities. Threading my way through, I asked others where I was supposed to sit. Nobody could answer. As I kept looking, I came into a small room and up against a wall. (You have to love the mind’s sense of humor, right?)
Throwing the mail down in angry disgust, I complained, loud and long, about not having a place to sit and work. Then I told a senior admin person passing by to tell the commander that I was there, and needed a place to work. After walking off, I meandered a bit because I thought I was due a promotion. Where was my promotion. I saw others being promoted, but not me. That irked me. I was certain I was due a promotion, because that was one reason that I’d returned.
Next, I was off on an assignment that took me off base and into the real world. I was driving a truck and towing a trailer. Two others (strangers who were junior NCOs), were with me. We were seeking supplies.
I came to a crowded and chaotic camp full of Army soldiers. I asked a few where I was to get my supplies. They had no idea. Where could I go to find the information? No idea.
Exasperated, I drove around, up dusty trails and around compounds of tents and marshaling areas until I found where I needed to go. I was expected and the trailer was filled with quick efficiency.
Ready to leave, one of the troops accompanying me began acting strange. He seemed to become fascinated with weapons that others were using. I ordered him once to come with me. Responding in a daze, he said, “In a minute,” and walked away.
This intrigued me. I followed him. He seemed to be wandering. I asked him, “Are you looking for something?”
“What is it?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I’ll know it when I see it.”
I told him, “We don’t have time for this. We need to go.” Yet, I wanted to indulge him in his search because it seemed so important to him.
That’s how the dream ended, with me following him through a dusty area as he searched for something that he didn’t know.
Heard this one on the satellite radio yesterday. Memory gates crashed open when I did.
Chicago released “Color My World” in 1970. The slow ballad was an instant hit at school dances because it was a modern song, sloppy and sentimental, but with a slow tempo. That made it a perfect slow-dance song. Slow dancing was important to me as a fourteen year old. One, I could dance with girls to it. Two, I could dance with girls to it.
The song’s author and vocalist, Terry Kath, died just eight years after this song was released. He was also Chicago’s lead guitarist. His extended solo on “25 or 6 to 4” mesmerized me when it was first released, and I still enjoy it.
Hope this song stirs some memories for you.
Maybe she’s sick or blind,
so, she don’t look this way, or,
maybe she’s afraid or worried,
so, she don’t look this way.
Maybe she’s unfriendly, stuck-up, or conceited,
cuz she don’t look this way,
or too insecure,
because she don’t look this way.
Could be that she’s dead,
’cause she don’t look this way
or maybe I’m invisible,
because she don’t look this way,
or I’m old, sick, or dying,
because she won’t look this way.
I keep wondering when my regular coffee haunt is going to start serving CBD-infused coffee? I mean, Carl’s Jr is serving a CBD cheeseburger.
What’s taking so long?
His turn, at last, just when he was about to explode from impatience. That woman ahead of him had taken, like, six minutes.
As soon as she walked away, he strode up. Spreading his fingers, he put his palm to the ATM’s cold, dark screen. A pulse rose through his fingers. Blue light limned his hand. Sharp tingling nibbled at his skin, and the hair everywhere on his body stood on end.
He tapped his foot, waiting for results. Like thirty seconds later, the ATM began printing sounds. More seconds passed. His hair flattened and then the pulsing faded, the light dimmed and disappeared, and the tingling ended. As he removed his hand, a slip of paper scrolled out. Finally.
Taking the paper with, he perused the print out. “You done?” the next person in line said.
Nodding with a grunt, he walked away, perusing his print out as he did. The bottom line was what he first went to read. It said, “Warning: your karma points have reached the minimum balance. Be careful what you do.”
A car horn blew. Looking up and around, he found the offending driver and gave them the finger. As soon as he realized what he’d done, he grimaced. Crumbling the paper up, he shoved it into his pocket and started walking fast. Of course his karma points were low. How the fuck were you supposed to get points in a world like this?
Getting into his car, he started it with a burst of smoky revs, shoved it into reverse, and punched the gas. His rear tires grabbed traction with a chirp. “Hey,” an old man shouted behind him. “Watch it.” Selecting drive, he scattered pedestrians as the car jumped forward. Cutting off another car, he started speeding down the street.
“Minimum balance,” he said, selecting another radio station and turning up the volume. “Fuck that noise.”
Lighting a cigarette, he went on down the road, speeding past a girl in the crosswalk. Minimum balance, right. How was he ever supposed to get karma points when the world was set against him?
As his father always said, there’s just no sense in trying.
You ever get sucked into listening to another group’s conversation – people that you don’t know, in a public place – and then they lean in and drop their voices, making it difficult to hear them? Doesn’t that just chap your nose? It chaps my nose because it puts me in a bind. I’m invested in their subject. I want to hear what’s going on. Asking them to speak up usually doesn’t work, and moving closer to them often interrupts the discussion.
Thank the flying spaghetti monster for the technology that lets me listen from a distance. Yes, I mean, bugs. You can just point and hear. Relatively inexpensive, they’re easily found on Amazon, are now so discreet that nobody ever notices.
The things I’m forced to do to satisfy my curiosity.
It’s hard staying disciplined today. I’m going through through my monthly cycles*, and I’m on a creative high. Sounds good, but…
My imagination has too many ideas about the novel in progress, rendering the process more difficult and challenging. Through my muses or myself, I’m besieged with new what-if scenarios. Each demands to be considered and incorporated, or discarded. Once a path is chosen, my fingers dash over the keyboard in mad hammering. As scenes and chapters are finished, new ideas jump in again.
The problem isn’t having ideas about the story or characters, or a writing block. The problem is that there’s so many ways to tell the story, so many choices about what to write. It seems like an enviable situation. Don’t be fooled. Knowledge gleaned from writing other novels has informed me, too many ideas can end up with a messy, messy novel. I know that I can write it all up and edit and revise, but I think that writing along the wrong paths dissipates the novel’s essence. Besides that, my puny brain struggles to keep everything straight. Adding more complications…well, complicates that process. The challenge is to find the best path and keep focused on it despite the temptations to stray, and some of them are very, very tempting.
Got my coffee. Know what time it is? Yep, time to write like crazy, at least one more time.
Note: my spectrums – the mood shifts from happy and optimistic, to dark and pessimistic and the energy levels that rise and fall – seemed monthly, perhaps driven by hormones, tides, or some other causes. My imagination runs on like cycles, as do my emotional and physical energy. Yes, some call this all hokum, others think of them as pseudo-science, but it’s something that I experience. Being aware of them helps me manage the dark times.