I am driving very fast down the street I grew up on. Though it is nighttime, I am able to make out the shadowy contours of a car that watches as I speed by. I get the sense that whoever is in that car represents the authorities. I relax momentarily when I remember I had glanced at the speedometer and had only been going 70 mph. But then am overcome by guilt when I realize that I was on a residential street, not the interstate. Hoping to hide from the authorities, I quickly run from my car into my parents’ shrouded house. A small plastic chair stands in the way on the porch and I quickly pick it up and carry it inside with me as there is no time to lose. I make my way with the chair up the stairs immediately inside. I look over my shoulder and see the black car sitting in the driveway. This gives me a feeling of impending damnation and doom. I walk downstairs and my brother and his wife are hosting a large gathering of people. They all seem to be watching a movie. I ask what they are watching and my brother tells me, “Home Alone.” Odd choice, I think. Then I hear the door knock. I swallow my fear and open the front door. There is a woman, my age, who looks strangely familiar sitting on the stone planter on the porch. I am friendly and say, “hello!” She doesn’t appear to be a cop. “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” I ask. She smiles. Not wanting to seem rude, I think it best to try and flatter this woman of authority in the hopes of swaying her to let me off with just a warning. I invite her in and show her into the living room. I ask her if she wants anything to drink. She mumbles something as she turns around to sit on the blue couch. “Is green tea, ok?” I ask. She nods. I turn to the kitchen where Brian and Jamie are pulling out a dish of baked chicken. Wanting to appear as gracious as possible, I make a plate of chicken for my guest. I hope that the kinder and more generous I am, the more unworthy of punishment I will be.
My grandpa Royce has given Molly and I an RV. I am so excited about the idea of driving across the country, living out of it. It felt like being given the possibility of absolute freedom. I could see inside of it and there was an unknown woman lying on the bed inside the RV. I could see that there was another mattress underneath it, but as far as I could tell there was only room for one person the sleep. You could stack the mattresses and make the bed taller, but you couldn’t make it wider. I kept thinking about the logistics of us both sleeping inside of this small RV. I was also so excited to be on the road. Gas expenses would be high though, I thought, so we had better only go to places relatively nearby.
I am in a stone building inside a room that somewhat resembles a large loading dock. The stone walls are painted a light grey, almost white. The room is well-lit. It also feels as if we are in the basement living room of my parent’s house. There is a large crowd of people gathered here who have come to watch a concert of musicians of which I am a part. There will be three bands performing tonight, and we are the first ones, which is good because I cannot stay past 11:30pm anyway, since I have to work in the morning. The observers sit on several couches along a wall and appear to be waiting for the show to begin. Of them, I recognize several who were part of the music scene in Lincoln and Omaha such as Shannon H and Nathaniel G. There are several other musicians who are joining me on stage. Some of them I know; like Zane, Matt, and Adrian. Already slung around my shoulders is an electric guitar. I walk to the stage and a sense of anticipation and excitement fills me. I am thrilled to have a band to play with, and an audience full of people that I have, for some reason, always wanted to impress with my talents. This is good, because I feel in top form. This is going to be a great night! I face the band (especially the drummer) and announce, “ok, so we have to play a little quieter because it’s late. I know it won’t be as much fun but it’ll be a lot more fun than having the cops come and ruin it for everyone.” I sincerely believe it will be ok and that the performance will go wonderfully. Realizing I need to find my amplifier before I can play, I walk off stage and search a room that is filled with other pieces of equipment. I am embarrassed and angry at myself when I cannot find it, despite hunting through the room. Curiously, the room resembles the utility room in the basement of my parent’s house. Hoping it won’t be noticed or minded, I grab a different amplifier and bring it out onto the stage. While I do this, the thought enters my mind, “you sold your amplifier.” It would have saved me time if I would have known that earlier instead of searching in vain. All the while I feel that I am in a hurry since there are two other bands who will play after us. I am afraid the next band will just get on stage if we take too long. I set the amp up and when I take the long walk to the microphone I realize the amp is basically in another room. I strum a few strings on my guitar and the sound is muffled and faint. Embarrassed again, I walk back to the amp to turn it up. However, as I look at the amp, I cannot seem to find the volume knob. Instead, I see dozens of other knobs, switches, and dials which I cannot understand. Appearing desperate and confused, I call out for help. There’s a young man who is watching me nearby. He looks vaguely familiar. I call him by the wrong name and he shakes his head in disappointment. I apologize and say, “I know we were in youth group together.” He then tells me his name while he impatiently nods his head and lists a few other groups we both belonged too. He looks exceedingly disappointed in me. A sense of failure is growing. It’s then that the owner of the guitar approaches and points to a knob on the side of the guitar that faces me. I push the guitar away from my body and look down at a three-tiered knob which sticks out like a tiny minaret. He indicates that the tallest and skinniest level of the knob is the volume. Relieved, I turn this and go back to the stage where I find, thankfully, that my guitar can now be heard. My friend, Adam H, tells me that Scott, the drummer, has left. I do not know who Scott is. I walk to what seems like a garage door and look out across what feels like a huge expanse and can see the drummer, dwarfed by the distance, lying on the ground along with several half-naked women. I think to myself, “Wow, Oregon is crazy!” Apparently I am looking at Oregon all the way from Nebraska. He looks like he is in no hurry and would rather stay where he is before joining us. Adam yells something along the lines of, “Hey Scott, you asshole! What are you doing? Get back here we’ve got a show!” I wish I could stop his barrage of insults in the hopes of eventually coaxing and maybe pleading for Scott to return but Scott appears fed up already. His tiny body stands and walks away from the scene along with his fan-club of women. Sensing the situation growing bleaker, I walk back to the stage and deliver the bad news to everyone, “Scott has quit. We don’t have a drummer” I hang out by the mic, attempting to start the performance anyway. With a dreadful feeling, I realize that we are not even well-rehearsed. I cannot think of a single song that we can play. “We can play that St. Vincent song,” someone from the band suggests. “We could play it, but I don’t know the words,” I reply. I am extremely disappointed in myself for not being better prepared for this moment. Not sure if I should just give up, or continue trying to find a way to salvage the situation, I walk down a hallway behind the stage.
Will H is lounging in a chair, looking as relaxed as anyone could be. “Hey man, you look like you need a beer,” he says. He reaches over and opens a cooler beside him and hands me a cold can. All I can think of is how depressed and disappointed I am feeling. With each obstacle, I feel a grand opportunity is slipping away from me. I open the beer and think, “well, at least I can get a little drunk and help me forget all this.” I feel the urge, so I walk to the bathroom which is another large, cold-feeling room with white tile and smooth, pale yellow bricks. There is no way to get any privacy as there is no door and only one toilet in the middle of the spacious room. For some reason, I take myself out of the front of my pants before I even reach the toilet. Just as I start to pee, I slip on either my own urine, or that of someone else, falling on the hard ground, soiling myself in the process. Extremely embarrassed, my gaze fixes on the entrance, staying vigilant in case anyone should appear and find me like this. I manage to get to my feet just as a young man with a camera phone in his hand enters, presumably taping me just as I have got myself together. In nagging fear I wonder, “did he catch any of that?” I turn on a faucet to wash my hands and as I put my hands under the water I hear the next band start to play. That’s it. I sense that it must be 11:30p, and it’s no wonder that they started playing before us. Now it’s too late. The mood of the dream goes from teeming excitement in anticipation of my performance, to one in which I am covered in my own piss, and with no opportunity left. I wanted so badly to be on stage. To shine in front of my peers. And it was almost mine, but then obstacle after obstacle appeared.j
I am vehemently pursuing a man who is trying to evade me. He hides himself inside small indentations along a wall until I come near and he quickly speeds away. Totally bent on catching him, I finally rush ahead and grab him. I spin him around and see that he is middle-aged, balding, and his mouth is completely full of something. He looks like he must do everything he can to keep some object or objects from falling out of his mouth. “Tell me!” I scream at him as I violently shake him by the arms. “You can tell me!” He shakes his head and little pieces of purple stone fall out of his mouth. Intuitively, I recognize the stone as being amethyst. “You can tell me! Just tell me!” I don’t know what I want this man to tell me but I want to hear him say it more than anything. His reticence infuriates me but I never consider that having a mouth full of amethyst would make it impossible for him to tell me anything. His facial expression appears as if he would like to say something, but something prevents him – perhaps his mouth full of stones? I continue to yell at him and shake him, hoping to get something out of him.
I am with Molly and all around us are little African boys and girls. We play with them for a bit and later I tell Molly, “it makes so much sense that you have brothers and sisters from Nigeria.” At the time it does make a lot of sense, since Molly is so cosmopolitan. I assume that her parents adopted these children at some point. Later, Molly and I are with my family, enjoying each other at our wedding reception. They are downstairs, while I am up near the hotel rooms. I think I hear one of Molly’s Nigerian relatives say that it is almost time to go back. This puts me into a panic and I start packing frantically, not wanting to be left behind when my family leaves. I cannot decide which clothes to take and am so rushed and frantic that I cannot think straight which makes it nearly impossible to pack. Do I take shorts? How many? Is it going to be hot? These questions and more swirl around in my head. After a period of time I am somewhat satisfied and I go downstairs where my family is sitting at a long table just next to a beach. I arrive near the middle or the end of the festivities and realize with great regret that I have missed out on most of the party. My family looks at me with a bit of shame and confusion at my absence. I realize that no one has any intention of leaving and I’m embarrassed to discover that I must have misheard Molly’s relatives. I feel I rushed to a conclusion before having any clarity of the facts about the situation. I am always doing that, I think. A strong resolve to avoid doing this again arises.
I run into a house in order to ask the woman who lives there a very important question. The woman I am going to see is Spanish and reminds me of Mrs. Calderon from my early Spanish classes. Strangely, I cannot remember the question. When I enter the house I find two guitars inside hard flimsy cases side-by-side in front of a couch in the living room. The house reminds me of Molly’s parents’ house in waking life. A man is there in the room with me and I open each case to view the guitar. For some reason, I am ashamed at having ordered a case with each guitar. It seems superfluous at the time. Before the man can judge me at being so wasteful and materialistic, I say, “the cases all came with the guitars. I couldn’t get them otherwise.” Soon, from another corner of the room, my friend, Matt Bobo, emerges and sprays red paint all over the guitars, the cases, and anything else in the room. I go back out the way I came and into a small closet. I begin to violently project thick, clear liquid from my mouth onto the wall and floor. The amount of liquid I produce is enormous, however it doesn’t seem to concern me. I think to myself, “I will have to go back in and explain to Matt that this is what happens when he does things like that. But so as not to hurt his feelings, I will tell him that I do it often anyway.” After it seems like I have purged all I can, I grab a long, thick towel that hangs on a hook just beside where I have vomited. When I shake the towel out, a heavy dust fills the room and clouds my vision temporarily. The dust is from all the other times I have vomited, and wiped my mouth, apparently. After the vomit dries, it must remain coated on the towel. I wipe my mouth. The whole scene is somewhat disgusting. I do not know what the thick, clear liquid is. I do not feel ill, but I do feel slightly better, now.
I am driving somewhere in a car with Molly in the passenger’s seat. On the radio, a new song is beginning, and within only a second I recognize it. “This is Bjork,” I announce. It’s a rendition of her song, “Big Time Sensuality,” that I have never heard. It sounds chopped, raw, and almost unrecognizable.
Later, we are in a small room in an apartment. Molly and I along with a few others are seated on the furniture, while we watch Bjork perform in a small kitchenette area. She seems erratic and distracted – much different than the goddess she has manifested as in earlier dreams. She only performs a couple of songs, much shorter than the usual set. The dispassionate performance is quickly over. She busies herself in a small kitchenette with a few of her assistants, adjacent to where we were seated. The relationship Molly and I have with Bjork is strange. It is as if we are away from home and Bjork has agreed to help us out in some way. One of those ways is apparently by allowing us to wash our clothes. Like it’s the most natural thing in the world, Molly and I begin loading all our extra garments into the dishwasher. It is like no other I’ve seen. One must load the machine in a detachable compartment, and then it folds in on itself to be placed back inside where it is washed. When we’re finished, we are about to leave but I want to take this rare opportunity to say something to Bjork in parting. She is standing in front of the sink. I walk toward her and place my hand on the back of her shoulder. I notice how thin and frail she seems. “Thank you,” I say, not sure if I should say her name, as I have heard that though in the States we pronounce it, “Bee-york”, it is spoken, “Bee-yerk” in the Icelandic pronunciation. To be on the safe side, I don’t utter her name. “Thank you for everything.” She turns around and looks at me, blank-faced and emotionless. “Will you be here tomorrow afternoon so we can pick up the laundry?” She responds, “Well, we’ll be here until noon.” “Okay, we will be back in the morning, then.” I then falter a bit and risk getting a little more intimate. “You’ve been so…Thank you for everything.” I clumsily utter. Bjork seems drained of her spirit and offers nothing in response. I expected her to be a bit more engaged in this exchange but it seemed as if she did not want to be bothered, so I cut short what I wanted to say. I intended telling her how much she and her music means to me over the years. As we turn to leave, I blame myself for the awkwardness and feel somewhat foolish, though still fortunate that I got to touch the shoulder of Bjork and speak to her directly.