The sun is bright, too bright. I squint to see a tank coming over the distant rise. Its treads are chewing up the desert and belching dust. I peer through my rocket launcher sight. He hasn’t seen us yet. I can get him from here. I turn to my loader. He’s not here. I … I … I hear thunder. A loud boom shakes the house. My mother yells at me to unplug everything quickly. I race to the TV set. The Steve Allen show is on. The picture is all snow. Too snowy to watch. I adjust and readjust the rabbit ears. The screen goes blank. Nothing. Nothing is on. I push buttons frantically. Nothing.
My shoulder aches. I must be laying on it wrong. I shift. I squirm. It’s too dark to read. I click the switch on my lamp. It explodes in light. My eyes adjust. I’m on a beach with white, white sand. A beautiful girl is coming out of the surf. She’s walking towards me. She’s nude. She’s beautiful. I rise to greet her and my shoulder screams in pain. My high school football coach yells, “Walk it off. Walk it off.” I look down and I’m barefoot. Where are my cleats?
I read the same paragraph over and over. What does it say? I read it again. I close the book. The cover is blank. I open the book. The pages are blank. The sweat is running into my eye. I wipe it away. The target becomes clear, but it’s quivering. I take a deep breath and begin to squeeze the trigger. I have to pee. I look around the crowded room. No one notices me. I really have to pee. I look for a door. There isn’t any. I panic. I …
I knock him back a couple of steps. He charges at me and I parry his right. I hit him again. He steps back and pulls out a huge samurai sword. I turn and run. I’m running as fast as I can, but he’s gaining on me. I can feel the breeze as his sword passes close to my head. My legs weigh a ton. He’s gaining … Bobby, help me carry the groceries in from the car. I go to the back door. It’s dark. It’s night. There is no car. There is nothing. I turn to tell my mom. She isn’t here either. A baby cries. I jump from my bed. There aren’t any babies in my house. It continues to cry. I search and search. The crying gets louder and louder. I find an old photo album. I open it. It only has one picture. An old grainy snapshot of my grandfather in his police uniform. The photograph speaks but I can’t make out what its saying. Grandpa …
Dave is yelling over the noise of the plane’s engine and the wind rushing through the open door. I sit at the passenger door frame with my knees on the edge. We’re at altitude. I reach out and grab the strut with my right hand, I put my toe on the step and swivel as I grab the strut with my other hand. I push off, letting go of the strut. I’m free of the plane. I’m in freeeeefaaaaall. I turn my body to the right and … Lauren Bacall, as Slim, is telling Bogie, “You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and ... blow.” She turns and leaves his hotel room. The black-and-white hotel room is empty. A fire truck goes by with its siren blaring and its horn honking. Weeeoooeee, honk, weeoooeee … I’m cold.
His knife goes into my ribs. I grab his arm. He kicks at me but misses. My side is bleeding. I want to run but can’t. The truck is barreling down at us. I flash my lights. I honk. Linda screams. The grill of the Mack truck fills our windshield. She nibbles on my earlobe. I pull her closer as she unzips my fly. I turn to kiss her. Her breath is foul and rancid. I open my eyes. Eeeow. They’re going to execute me in the morning. In the morning. I can’t go home. Everybody at the office is especially kind to me because they know. They know. It’s late, but I can’t go home. They’re going to execute me in the morning. I go home.
There’s a nude, fat guy crammed into a child’s coffin. He’s lying on his side. That seems unusual. I poke him. Nothing. I poke him again. He stirs. We’re twenty feet off the ground. He looks down. He yells. I turn and leave. This scene is too weird for me. I shinny up a flagpole for no apparent reason. It’s hard work, but I can do it easily. The pole is cold and my legs freeze to the steel pole. I can’t move. I try to yell but no sound comes out. I can’t hang on any longer. I’m … I …
Ginger, the girl next door, and I are lying on the lawn watching the billowy clouds form patterns as they travel across the blue, blue sky. She points to what she thinks is a horse's head. I tell her it’s a map of Italy. She giggles when I point to a cloud that looks like a catcher’s mitt. She’s cute with her hair scattered across the grass and her newly developed boobs pointing skyward. I point to what looks vaguely like a kitten. She doesn’t giggle. She doesn’t speak. I turn. She’s old and ugly.
This doesn’t look familiar at all. I can’t be lost. I just came this way. Everyone is going about their lives as if I don’t exist. I look around frantically. Where am I? I ask the kindly looking old lady. She doesn’t hear me. She can’t see me. I reach for her, but she’s not there. I turn. I scream. No one hears me. Maybe I’m not here.
I leap out from the rim of the canyon. What was I thinking? I’m falling, falling fast, but it’s thrilling. The canyon wall races by. This must be a really deep canyon. I look down. There is no ground. I look for the canyon wall. It’s gone too. Ahhhh … this feels good.