When the bell rang, signaling mid-morning break, the floors of the factory shook as workers scrambled away from their stations, rushing to vending machines or out exit doors for a smoke. Morning break was eight minutes. The men on the loading dock kept working. They kept working because they were blind and eight minutes was not enough time to navigate from one place to another.
In the dream, all I had to do was keep going until I got to the center of the city and then turn right to get to Grand Central Station. Before that I had been in L.A. where some cultists were convinced the world was going to end in another two days. They saw the signs in the street and were all standing around and pointing at a string of lights laid out in a certain way. My boss, Steve, thought they were crazy. He, or someone else, was telling us about a new service, a van set up as a portable office at the airport where you could sit for a while and do your business. Someone handed me a pile of photos which Steve wanted to see so I handed them to him and he found one of himself and his wife and there was a visible reaction that showed me they were very close. Before that I had been standing on my lawn and about a hundred noisy kids were living next door and someone had come by to replace my cell phone and he wanted to know if he should remove the loudspeaker. The further back I went the more complicated the dream got. In any case it must have been Steve who sent me to Grand Central. He liked to have us exercise, so there was someone else from the office out walking too, a woman, but she turned off where there was a fork in the road, following an arrow, while I continued straight through, catching green lights all the way.
I don’t hear the car. The storm has swallowed the world in a white noise that bites at my ears. It pulls up ahead. Silent. Expectant. Home is a 3k walk away, and a slick trip down the mountain. A beautiful vista on a mild day, tortuous when a storm came to town.
My God, it’s a library, Thommy thought on her way out of an anthology of dreams and into the early morning light. She lay in bed looking up at the ceiling, contemplating dreams that really weren’t dreams as much as they had been the opening of files, which had been uploaded into her mind by Keeper yesterday at New Town Cemetery. Emma’s right, I do remember everything.
Ace told Tangee he had a surprise. They took the bike path up Embarcadero to the Port Beach. Cars passed on the left as they hugged the curves and rode in sidewalk gutters, chains circling as their feet pedaled. Small silver waves broke in the ocean beyond the chain link fence.
I prefer my Tel Aviv from the vintage days – before the upper crust skyscrapers disturbed the eyes and the hype the ears, and most of all, before the arrival of the glitzy marina. I berth my skiff wherever I find a bit of sand on the shore that hasn’t yet been taken for private development. Nobody disturbs the boat — it’s been around so long they know it’s mine — vintage, like me. I make it a point to fish with my back to the skyscrapers, facing the horizon.
Other than dying, there aren’t too many things I recall about my sixth birthday. I know I had a new bike because I was riding it when I was killed. It was green with black trim and it had one of those little single chime bells you could twang with your finger to warn off pedestrians who had stumbled into your path. I can’t remember if I chimed it at the car that was heading to the crossing too fast or if it got hit by some part of the car at the same time I was struck but I know it was the last sound I heard. Still, it was a proper big boy’s bike that I could grow into; except, of course, I didn’t.
Sorry, I should probably clear a few things up. You see, I’m not dead. I’ve had plenty of other birthdays and plenty of other presents. Never a bike though. I just couldn’t face it. Besides, dad was always a runner.
When I lived in London I heard that you were never more than three feet away from a rat. It’s a bit like that with cyclists around here Danny. Continue reading