Warning Shot

It wasn’t as if he was doing this without meditation and forethought. A dangerous situation prevailed. This wasn’t just his opinion. He’d researched studies on the internet and sought validation by experts. It was only then that he formed his plan and executed it.

First, there was the gun, ammunition, and the ability to aim and fire it. Done in a thrice (an expression that he loved). Next he chose his location. Months of research were conducted. He wasn’t a marksman. A moving target wouldn’t work. Distance was also a premium.

It all came together on a bright and quiet Sunday morning. A guy driving a Prius rolled along, left hand holding his cell to his ear, dismissive of the person in the cross walk. Probably didn’t see them, too occupied with his cell phone. What was so damn important that he needed to drive and talk? Infuriating.

So it wasn’t hard to finally convince himself, do it. The blue car cruised toward him (a little over the speed limit, if he was to judge). He didn’t expect the Prius to stop at the sign. The driver nearly didn’t, but an elderly woman in an elderly green Subaru forced the issue (it was like God was helping him).

Stepping up to the Prius’ passenger window, he fired at the driver four times. Spinning around, he tucked the weapon into his pocket and walked away (calmly, at just over normal speed), defying his body’s urging to run.

Around a corner, he went into an alley where his vehicle was parked. Only then, after he’d gotten into the car, started it up, and driven it away, did celebrations begin.

He’d done it. Laughing, he hit his steering wheel. He didn’t know if he’d killed the man (a kill wasn’t required, the message was in the shooting), but he’d definitely hit him at least once.

Oh, the adrenaline, the feeling of exhilaration.

One down. More shootings were probably required before people got the message (most people were so stupid that they needed to be hit over the head). He’d send a letter to newspapers (that would take some doing to cover his tracks), explaining how and what he was doing. Talking on a cell phone while driving was dangerous. He didn’t want to hurt anyone. He was saving lives by sending a message.

Nodding to himself, he halted his car at the corner stop sign and watched a police car speed by, red and blue lights flashing, siren screaming. Even if caught and convicted, he was sure he’d be pardoned. He was absolutely certain that his President would approve of what he’d done, killing one to save many. Why, he was just like the police.

Smiling again, he decided on a change of plans. He was hungry. 

Time to celebrate.

The Chaotic Collage Dream

As far as I can remember, the dream began with me visiting my aunts and uncles and father. We were across the country somewhere. He needed to have his car driven home and asked me to do it. Sure, I said. He and the rest would fly.

I don’t know what the car was. Sometimes it was an exotic sports car but then it had a huge trunk, where I put several suitcases, along with books. Wherever I drove the car, it attracted a lot of attention.

I was supposed to arrive before Dad, but I was goofing around, playing with the car, and doing other things. When I realized that I was going to be late, I hurried up.

Driving the car down a hill, I passed a number of people. Somewhere going down the hill, I went from being in a car to being on a motorcycle. Going fast, I went up boulders and into the air with people pointing at me and talking about it as I did. Even though I was on the motorcycle and dozens of feet away from them, I could hear the people talking. They were really impressed with what I was doing.

After this huge jump over a boulder that was about twenty feet high (where people didn’t think I could do it), I landed and got off the motorcycle. Putting it into the back of the car, I raced away, passing a long line of people in cars and buses. There were many children on the buses, and some of the buses were school buses.

That traffic was all stopped, and was the opposite direction. As I sped past, they all pointed at me and the car in excitement.

I reached my destination. Even though I’d dawdled and had been running late, I was surprised to learn that I’d beat my Dad and his siblings. They were supposed to have already arrived. I was sort of relieved, too. Then, going into another room, I found them sitting around having drinks and laughing.

I thought I’d already gone through that room and that they hadn’t been there. I asked them, “Did you just get here?” Several replied, “Oh, no.”

Dad said, “No, we got here yesterday. We’ve been here at least a day. Did you just get here?” As I answered yes, he said, “But you left days ago. Where have you been?”

Two of my younger sisters and I ended up together. We were playing separate games. They were looking for game pieces. I noticed my game pieces were missing, too. We started investigating, hey, where did the pieces go? I started finding some and putting things together. But then, I realized that it was time to go. I didn’t want to go, so I tried hurrying. I then began writing. I said, “I need to write. Give me time to write.”

Dad come by. The scene changed. Several of my cousins, Dad, aunts and uncles were there, along with my younger sisters. We were browsing in a well-lit record store. As I said something about the extensive music selection, Dad said, “I’d go for Genesis. I like them.”

I said, “Genesis? You like Genesis?”

“Sure, Genesis, Journey…I like just about all of them.”

That surprised me. I don’t recall Dad ever listening to music or commenting on music or groups. It was strange, because Mom loves music.

Going outside, I found Dad squatting by the curb. He had a new car. Dad loves sports and luxury cars. He’s bought a few economy cars, and will drive anything, but he’s usually in a Corvette (he’s bought four or five of them), Cadillac, or a luxury SUV, these days.

This car seemed to be a Ford Escort. That’s a car that’s been out of production for a while, but this was a new one. Weirdly, though, Dad was painting or applying decals all over the car. I talked to him about it but I don’t remember the conversation, except that he seemed very matter-of-fact about what he was doing, when it was something that I’d never known him to do in his life.

Late for a flight, I headed to an airport. My flight was already boarding. The boarding process was random and chaotic. Seating seemed to be open. Inside the aircraft wasn’t like any aircraft that I’ve ever been in. Seating areas were in clusters of rows. The clusters seemed to be at forty-five degree angles. The seats were orange.

Many were familiar with the process, but I wasn’t. Everyone was rushing in. Confused, I noticed a few guys who seemed to know where they were going and followed them. They went down some steps and hurried into open seats. I followed but then, realizing that it seemed to be the flight deck, I stopped. As flight decks go, it was as wide as a house. The pilots were seated at windows up front but flight attendants were preparing food and drinks at counters on either side. The men I’d followed were seated. Other open seats were available. The seats were light gray. They looked like they were leather.

From behind me, a young boy, maybe ten, said, “Look at that dipshit. He’s going into the cockpit.” Many people laughed.

I turned to a flight attendant. I said, “Can I sit down here?”

My question seemed to surprise her. As she picked up a tray of beverages, she said, “Yes, if there’s an empty seat. And there are.”

Turning around, I said to the little boy, “You’re allowed to sit down here, if there are seats. People are already sitting down here. Now who’s the dipshit?”

We landed. I didn’t know where I’d landed. Well lit, with multiple levels and vast highways weaving in and out of buildings, it seemed like San Francisco with elements of San Mateo (CA), Pittsburgh (PA), Portland (OR), and Frankfurt, Germany. It teemed with people. Most were business people but some were shoppers. Somehow hurrying the place, I figured out where I was supposed to be going (although it was never stated). The next thing I knew, I was in a car and driving.

The dream ended.

It was an exhausting dream.

 

Two Beefs

I know these are probably just me, but it’s a Monday and I feel the need to spleen.

Rant #1.

People are in line buying something, somewhere, and then wait until the cashier tells them the final before finding their wallet/billfold, money, whatev, to pay. Yes, I am an impatient person, but, really? Are you just doing that to annoy me? If I was a more paranoid person, say at the Donald J. Trump level, I’d suspect that there’s a secret society out there that are doing it just to frustrate me.

Rant #2.

Speaking of being impatient, I’m the second, third, fourth car in line, whatev, when we’re stopped at a red light. The signal changes to green but one of the preceding cars recognizes the light change so slowly, and then accelerates at a rate that would make molasses oozing out of a tree in winter look fast, that the light changes again before I can enter the intersection. Makes me want to shake my fist and shout, “Damn you.” Yeah, I know, it’s completely irrational, adding about ninety seconds to my commute. Hey, it’s a rant, you know?

What ’bout the rest of you? Any rants that you’d like to share? And don’t rant about the guy ranting on a blog post. I’ve read that one before.

Choices

He was recovering from his surgery. Blood, of course, kept seeping into the bandages. They told him that would happen.

The surgery’s grogginess was finally gone by the next morning, but he was surprised by how much the surgery limited him. His movements were slow and tentative. Talk about a damn anchor. He felt pain, too, dull, throbbing, and steady.

They’d given him pain killers. He read the label and all of its warnings. Taking hydrocodon ACET 5/325 might make him drowsy or dizzy. “Do not drink alcohol with this drug.”

Well, that was that. He preferred a glass of wine or a mug of beer over some pain relief. Besides, if he took the hydrocodon, he wasn’t supposed to drive. He’d been driving since he was fourteen, beginning on the back-country roads of western Pennsylvania over fifty years ago. Not drive? That was unacceptable. He kept his red Camaro convertible clean and polished. Forget all of his education and work success; driving was one of the foundations of who he was, driving, beer and wine, and rock and roll.

That was him.

Friday’s Theme Music

Today’s music comes right out of my dream.

To begin in the dream, my older sister and I were in a walk-in closet. No reason ever became clear as to why we were there. She was chattering, as she’ll sometimes do, which irritated me. A song was playing. The song was muffled, as though it was being heard through walls. I knew the song but I couldn’t place it because of her chattering.

Then I was in a car, driving. My car was fourth in line. We were on a street with a double-yellow line. The three cars ahead of me were on the left side — the wrong side — of the road. I didn’t know why. They were going very slowly. The road was in excellent shape but the fact that we were on road’s wrong side annoyed me. No signs were visible to account for that. I wanted to change over to the right side but not knowing why they were on the left side – what did they know? – kept me behind them, following. I was hugely irked.

Music played then, something about going straight. Then the song, “Amber” by 311 played. I thought amber is all about warning, as in amber flashing lights. “Amber” didn’t end, but “Forty Days and Forty Nights” began. That song, covered by Steppenwolf, was what I’d heard in the closet with my sister.

It was still streaming in my head when I awoke, so here it is, today’s theme music, the Muddy Waters classic as Steppenwolf did it in 1970. Enjoy a little bluesy rock.

Lane Envy

Lane Envy – anxiety and desire to be in a different lane, often associated with driving and shopping.

In use: “Seeing the other lane going much faster, lane envy struck, prompting him to contemplate moving, but he knew the shopping gods were playing a cruel joke on him. As soon as he changed lanes, this one would go faster, so he stood where he was and bridled his longing to go to another cashier.”

The Old Friends Dream

I dreamed that I was with a lot of old friends. People I’d gone to school with, neighborhood friends from my youth, and people I’d worked with around the world while in the Air Force, or working in Progressive Angioplasty Systems, Tyco, Internet Security Systems, and IBM were there. Writing friends were there, along with sports and drinking buddies.

No occasion that I know was mentioned for the gathering. We were just having a big party in an enormous ballroom, a place so large that I couldn’t see the other side. Well-lit, round tables were set with crystal and silver.

Weirdly, I entered after being out with some, and that’s when the dream proper began. I’d been with one person who I no longer wanted to be with. I had no enmity with him, but he was drunk and being obnoxious, so I was avoiding him. As I was skirting where he was, a group of friends streamed in. Seeing me, they shouted, “There he is,” and waved, happy to see me. I joined them, and we chatted, having a good time.

Then Chris suggested we go somewhere. “Where?” I asked.

“Who cares,” he said, with the friendly and easy smile that he habitually presented.

“Let’s go,” I said. “We can take my car, but I don’t want to drive.”

Chris said, “I’ll drive.”

We got into my silver Mazda. I was in the back seat. Setting off, we talked about where to go. Chris came up with a suggestion, but nobody knew where it was. “Use the GPS,” I said. Chris knew how to do that and pressed the buttons needed.

With my next awareness, we were at a more intimate setting. Many of my friends were there in their party clothes, but everyone seemed tired, I think from partying so much. They were barely interested in the music.

And that was amazing, because up on stage was a young Marvin Gaye with a back-up group. All of them were in amazing bright blue outfits with white shirts.

Marvin finished his performance. I looked around, like, why isn’t anyone applauding. As I began clapping, so did someone else. Putting his hands out, Marvin said, “Hey,” and everyone else sat up and applauded.

Then Jeff was by my side. Pointing at Marvin, he said, “He’s wearing a one.”

Yes, the number one was in black on a white porcelain appearing badge that hung down from his shoulders on his front. Seeing Jeff point at him, Marvin came over to speak with us. I was awed to be in such close proximity to such a creative and intelligent person. He was so pleasant and polite. We shook hands and chatted, and then Jeff, pointing again at Marvin, said, “That one is for London Park, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” Marvin agreed.

Jeff bobbed his head with enthusiasm. “I was there, I’ve been there.”

Bewildered, I wanted to ask, where’s London Park? I’ve never heard of London Park. How do you know the one is for London Park?

I didn’t get the chance, because that’s where the dream ended.

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