I used to regularly have big, wonderful dreams — a vision of a bare-breasted Goddess of Life And Death treading shoeless between rows of corn that were planted over buried human skulls, for example; of a make-or-break career exam (I had two hours during which the questions would scroll slowly past on a screen, and if I didn’t do well on it, I would never have a place in life) in the middle of which a short story came to me entire, and I decided to write it and blow off the examination. These vignettes seemed to mean something; some even had a certain majesty.
These days a different provider seems to have taken over. Last night I found myself embroiled in some sort of political and academic conference in the context of a looming global war, and one of the attendees, illogically, was a nasty, thuggish frat-boy type who was clearly physically abusing his mousish girl-friend. I had already called him out on it, so he decided to embarrass me by producing a worn outfit of my clothes, underwear included, burgled from my hotel room, implying that I had slept with him. I came within an inch of knocking his head on the floor when I thought “I can do this without breaking a sweat, but it will get me arrested and we have bigger fish to fry.” And indeed we did, because confidential word came through that the missiles were flying.
There was already a well constructed bomb shelter a few miles away where we had a claim, and I gathered that someone who was not supposed to know had already taken off for it in a zippy little sports car, but he was only one person whom we could accommodate and we had a vehicle that would transport all the rest of us. Whoever was driving floored the pedal. The landscape was mountainous; one gathered that the shelter had been blasted into the rock. As we rounded the last hairpin turn before the entry, a small vehicle with a trailer pulled past us and the driver turned to wave: a smiling, jaunty young woman wearing a blue begoggled aviator cap, reminding me a bit of the little manikin in the Cox Communications ads (I have never had any dealings with them). The panel on the side of the trailer read: “Troyakos’ Dancing Bears.”
I actually Googled it. It didn’t match any documents. I feel irrationally relieved.