Just In A Dream

Another hill to climb.

Sweat plagued his eyes. He sniffed and swallowed, wishing for water. He’d been going since sunup. Heat and humility built around him. It seemed determined to crush him like a grape.

Giving up was considered and dismissed. He was here and going to do it. Doubt about whether he was following the instructions kept bouncing through, confusing him about what the little thing told him. Half-asleep, he wasn’t sure if it was a robot, tiny human, or something else, like an elf or fairy. They hadn’t introduced themselves. Maybe it wasn’t even real. Just his imagination.

Without preamble, “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)” derailed his thinking. Didn’t matter. He’d reached the hill’s crest. Signposts were ahead. An intersection. Down this hill and up another. Stepping faster, he was there in less than ten minutes, perspiring with more vigor, and breathless. He didn’t think he’d need water for this. Not for a dream. Didn’t think it’d be sunny, or like a day in any way.

The signpost was in the center of a large gold-bricked circle. Arrow shaped signs. About a hundred of them. No, more than that. Maybe a thousand. Different colors, languages, and printing styles. Looked crude. Homemade.   

His little nocturnal visitor sounded like an irritated teacher when they said, “I’m tired of you sitting around, whining, waiting, and wishing, so I’m doing you a solid.”

They pointed. “See that?”

Slow because he was half-asleep, he pressed to see what the little one meant even though the little one was still talking. “Get in there and turn left for the past, right for the future, or straight ahead to another existence. Whichever way you go, you’ll come to a signpost.

“You better hurry if you’re going to do it. The portal will close and fade, and your opportunity will be gone.”

“Wait, what?” He sat up. Yawned. Stretched. Rubbed his eyes. Massaged his genitals. Considered peeing. Frowned. “What?”

His small visitor was barely a fading memory. The opening remained where there was usually a wall. A portal? Thinking, I must still be dreaming and I’ll wake up at any moment, he entered the opening. Fearing the future, regretting his past – too many things to change there and who knows how it would turn out – he’d gone straight.

He stared up at the signs. Words emerged. Animals.

A frown creased his face. What was that about? He’d always liked cats and they liked him. He admired birds. Dogs were okay…

He stepped in the cat’s direction with slow, short steps. Shivers tickled him. Changes took place. His fingers were gone. Paws halfway through construction had replaced them. Looked like he’d be a black cat.

He backed up. More shivers traveling him, his fingers returned.

Did he want to be a cat? He looked back down the road he’d followed to come here with the thought, maybe he should have gone to the past to see what he could have changed. He might have been hasty.

The road was gone. Nothing was there. Gray nothing.

He walked toward it. The gray nothing stopped him from advancing. Like trying to wade through stiffening tar.

Well, what the hell. This was only a dream.

He turned back to the sign and read the offerings. No doubt, that’s what they were. Unicorn. Whale. Elephant. Dog. Kracken. Dolphin.

Dragon, he saw.

Dragon. It’d be so cool to be a dragon, even if just in a dream.

But bravery wasn’t in his personal inventory. He stood, staring, considering, flounder, eel, coral snake, eagle – eagle would be fun. Puma. Tiger. Heron. Emu. Alligator.

No. With all of his fears and hopes, the best thing he could become is something fantastic.

Happy with his decision, he turned and advanced, shivering and coughing as he grew and changed until at last he walked out of a high mountain cave into a purple dusk. Spreading his golden wings, he released a fiery roar and felt the world’s fear. Yes, being a dragon was going to be so cool.

Even if it was just in a dream.

The Bureau

Patrick felt like warmed-over crap. Aches gnawed his spine. Coffee tasted like tar in his mouth. Betrayed by coffee. How was that possible?

Squinting at the ceiling, Patrick loosened a long and heavy sigh. “God, universe, whatever, please, please, change my luck for me. I seriously need a change.”

A small person at a gray desk floated in front of him instantaneously. She was about four inches tall, seated as she was, in a pleasant black suit with a white shirt. As he gaped at her and backed away, the napping black cat arose from his desk and hurried over, ready to pounce on the newcomer.

“Control your cat,” the little pale-skinned female with short gray hair said. “I don’t want to hurt it.”

Grabbing Loki, Patrick asked, “Who the hell are you? How’d you get here?”

A little disapproving cluck came out of the little one. “Call me Hortense. I’m with luck prayer services. You prayed for a change of luck. I’m here to address your request.”

Meowing, the cat squirmed in Patrick’s arms while keeping hot green-eyed focus on the little floating agent. “I’m never heard of…what’d you call it?”

“Luck prayer services. I’m Hortense, your account manager. You asked for more luck. Unfortunately, you’re out of luck. In reviewing your account, I see that you were born with a great deal of luck. Intelligent, talented, white, male, born in the United States of good parents…minor issues with them…  No genetic issues. Yes, you were lucky. Unfortunately, you’ve used it all up.”

Tapping a keyboard, she leaned into the screen. “Several car accidents while drink driving in which you escaped unhurt and without legal repercussions. Tornados. Hurricane. Earthquake. Promotions. Stock purchases. Health. You smoked cigars for ten years and had no respiratory problems when COVID-19 struck. You realize how lucky that is?”

“I…yeah, yeah.” Patrick bobbed his head. “I know, I know.”

Loki broke free and leaped for Hortense. Something caught and held the cat in mid-air.

“Told you to control that cat, sir,” Hortense snapped. “If you don’t, I will.”

“I – sorry.” Patrick took Loki and put him in another room and closed the door. Hortense and her desk followed him throughout.

Turning and encountering her in the hall made Patrick jump. “Jesus, you.” He shook his head. “I’ve been thinking about what you said. It sounds like you’re telling me that my luck has run out.”

“I am, sir.”

“That doesn’t sound good for me.”

“No sir.”

“Anyway I can get more?”

“Of course.” One thin eyebrow jumped on Hortense’s tiny face. “It would take more money than you now have but you can buy more luck.”

“That doesn’t sound promising.”

“A deal with the Devil is highly rated.”

“Yikes. Don’t think I’m ready to do that. Isn’t there anything else?”

“You can try to create your own luck. Some people have luck with that.” Hortense chortled. “Or you can steal some.”

Loki yowled at the door and vigorously clawed it.

“Are you seriously suggesting that I steal someone else’s luck?” As he asked, Patrick amended his thinking. “Can I choose my victim?” He was thinking, Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump both seemed pretty damn lucky. Or Soros. Gates. Musk.

“You can but that rarely works out. Hard for most to differentiate between good and bad luck. You might accidently pilfer their bad luck.”

“Well, I wouldn’t want that.” Patrick felt resigned, which oddly made him feel better. It was like, this wasn’t in his control. Knowing that relieved him of responsibility. Nothing he could do about it. “Is there anything else?”

“Well…yes. According to your records, you are eligible for employment.”

Patrick went still with thought. “Go on.”

“If you work for us, you can be compensated in good luck.”

“Who is us?”

Hortense smiled. “We just call ourselves The Bureau. Capital T, capital B.”

“You’re recruiting me.” Patrick suspected a setup. “So I do a job for you and The Bureau pays me in good luck.”


“I assume whatever it is won’t be easy.”

“They’re normally not. But let me tell you. With your luck, if you don’t take this offer, you’ll be dead in a year.”

That’s how Patrick’s career began. Hard to believe but now he was about to start his tenth mission.

He’d need all of his hard-earned luck to stay alive.

Friday’s Theme Music

Friday. I’m ready for the weekend. Wednesday felt like Friday. So did Thursday. Now Friday is here, and Friday feels like Friday.

I ruminated about what that means, when a day feels like Friday. It feels like you’re ready to rest and have a change from your routines. Mind you, I don’t work. I set my own routines. So all this is a mind game for me. The mind is winning so far.

Yeah boy, it’s Friday, January 13, 2023. Last night’s winds were the worse of this season’s offerings. They reached sound levels where I looked out expecting to see huge animals stampeding past. I’ve been in hurricanes, typhoons, and tornados. These wind sounds didn’t achieve those levels, but they did inspire The Neurons to say that if this keeps up…

It didn’t keep up, though. After a few power short power outages, not even enough to restart the clocks, but enough that the clocks opened and closed their eyes, the winds finally tailed off in the night’s middle. Rain kept going and still is. Today’s high is 54 degrees F. We’re at 52. After peaking, we’ll going to go downhill into the lower forties. Still not bad temperatures, right? Snow was sitting on some of our surrounding mountain ridges and peaks yesterday. We can’t judge that and whether our drought is over until it’s all done in the spring, but at least rivers and cisterns are full for now.

Sunrise brought enough light through the clouds after 7:39 this morning to look around for damages and see none in my area. Hope the other areas fared as well. I’ll check it out before the sun checks out at 5:02 this evening.

Wind thoughts brought “The Zephyr Song” into the morning mental music stream today. The Red Hot Chili Peppers released it back in the new century’s early years. Lot of rhyming going on in it. It’s a mellow tune with a few harder splashes about being on a wind and connecting with others. Those are thoughts I entertained when I was a teenager, the “wouldn’t it be neat to ride a wind whenever you wanted to, go wherever you wanted, meet others and take them with you” variety of mind playing. Naturally I thought of riding last night’s wind, hurtling the Cascades and Sierra Nevada, thundering over the rivers and plains until energy is spent and a calmer place is found.

Coffee has arrived to soothe The Neurons and uplift the rest of the body. Stay positive and test negative. Worry about tomorrow the day after tomorrow and move it forward. Here is the song. Cheers

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