Good morning, everybody.
A view of the backyard of the house of a family. It was daytime. There were a lot of workers in the backyard, along with at least the mother and the father of the family. The house was a nice, two-story house. The mother and father were white, attractive, and kind of wealthy looking. The workers may have been dressed in yellow, pale green, or white, plastic protective suits.
The house was being worked on because the family had all suffered from some disease. The disease had probably been called diphtheria. The disease was apparently like scarlet fever because, when you had it, you had to burn everything you'd touched while you had it. So the workers were working, not on burning everything in the house, but on sanitizing it in some way.
One of the things the workers were doing was to plow up the ground all around the foundation of the house. Then they sprayed something all over the plowed up soil. This stuff looked like the white smoke that comes off of dry ice. It would do something like freeze the ground. But it was also adding a chemical to the ground that caused the soil to do something like freeze itself.
I understood that the diphtheria germs had come from the soil. The soil had been disturbed, releasing these old germs. Now the soil had to be chemically frozen, to kill the germs.
But now the workers began to ask about other items the family had been around in the house while they'd had diphtheria. In particular they began asking about the family dog. My view, which had been really close in on the soil that was sprayed, now backed away. I got a pretty full view of the back of the house. And even though the dog wasn't back there, I got a pretty good image in my head of the dog running along the back porch, in the shade of the back wall.
The mother of the family knew that if the workers knew the family had touched the dog while they were sick, the workers would want to spray the dog with the freezing chemicals, too. But the mother knew that that spray would kill any living thing. So the mother said that the family had not touched the dog while they had been sick.
I was in some kind of small store, like an old-style office supply or stationery store, or an old-style furniture store. It was pretty dim inside, and everything was grey, like even the walls and carpet were the same colors as the old, grey-painted, metal shelves.
I stood, or even sat, before some grey counter. The counter made a kind of L-shape that connected with the back wall and the left (my left) wall, making a kind of big square of space for the workers. There was at least one office-style desk behind the counter. The space felt like an old office overall. But at the back wall was a kind of window, like one might see for a service area between the cooks and the waiters in a diner.
Behind the counter sat two workers. One of the workers sat pretty close to the counter. The other worker sat at the desk, off in the back, left corner of the worker's space. The worker close to the counter was pretty young. He had been dealing with me in some way or another. But he had been rude to me, and he hadn't done what I'd needed at all.
I had told the young man that I was going to complain. The young man didn't seem to believe me or even care if I did complain. But I knew that if I spoke directly with one specific man: the other man sitting at the desk. He was the young man's boss, and he didn't seem to like the young man too much to begin with. He was looking for a reason to fire the young man. And I knew I could give the man a good reason.
The young man knew I was serious. So he decided to listen to me. But he was really mad at me. He asked, "What do you want me to do for you? What do I have to do?" in a kind of angry, but desparate tone.
It was now like we were talking on the phone instead of standing face to face. I could see the young man's angry face on the phone. At first he looked like he was a young, kind of skinny, black man. But his face morphed into a young, bald man with a kind of olive-colored to light brown complexion. His features were really sharp but smooth at the same time. He had a tight skull and sharp cheekbones. And he looked really sullen and angry.
I was through dealing with the young man, though, and I told him that I wanted to speak with the older man now. The young man didn't have a choice but to put me through to the older man. The older man was a kind of fat, white man with pale skin and hair in a spiky cut that looked like it was dyed blonde. He had kind of red cheeks. He wore a black polo shirt and black shorts. He was obviously in his forties, but his clothes and style made him look younger.
The older man knew he had to take my call, and he was already mad at the younger man. But the older man was on a phone call at the moment, so he told me I had to wait. The younger man stood up and walked into the back area, the area behind the back wall.
The older man fiddled around with his phone for a moment while talking. Then the call was over. But the older man acted like he still had a number of things to do, probably making phone calls, before he could finally get to helping me. He actually stood up and walked toward the back area himself.
I was still in the office. I was standing at the counter. But now the counter was more like a stainless steel counter. And behind the counter was now a small area like in a small bakery. The whole place still felt old, grey, and dingy. But now there were kind of fancy pastries everywhere. The counter ran in an L-shape. But now the L-shape faced away from the wall, so that the area behind the counter was also L-shaped.
The older man was working on putting all kinds of pastry orders together. He was completely avoiding me and any of the complaints I had, acting like he had to take care of all these orders first. I'd even ordered some pastries. And even though my order was small and simple, he was taking care of all the bigger, more complex orders first.
A group of Latina women walked in. A couple of them were maybe in their late twenties or early thirties. They looked like mothers. They were all happy. They all made orders with the man. The man put their orders together and gave them to them almost instantly, still completely ignoring me.
I looked at the women's orders. One of the women had a kind of bright pastel, sweet, delicate, bready, but dry-looking cake. The other had some kind of syrup-topped, pie-like thing that I told myself was made with guava. Both of the items looked good. But I was more intrigued by the guava item.
The women seemed to be leaving the store already. I had been shy while they were in front of me, because they were all pretty. But now they were all passing me to get to the door.
One of the last women to pass me must actually have been a girl. She was kind of short and very skinny. But she had a flat chest. She wore tiny, black jean shorts and a tiny, black bikini top with silver fringes. But the girl's chest was so flat that the bikini top was a little bunchy and loose on her in spots, even though it was drawn pretty tight around her back and neck. But despite the fact that the girl was so young, I was really aroused by her.
I was at "my office," sitting at "my cubicle." The walls of the cubicle were tall. I seemed to be sitting pretty close to the right edge of the wall, my face very close to the wall. To my right, and also pretty close, was a window with blinds. The light coming through the window seemed to be filtered through some kind of UV coating. It was greyish-brown, but still kind of sparkling somehow with the whiteness of bright sun.
Between the cubicle wall and the window was a little walkway. I knew that beyond me were one or two other cubicles, then a more open space for people to walk through. I knew that my boss BB was walking through that space, even though I couldn't see him. I could barely see another co-worker, SW, walking into that space.
My boss had just been out on some business trip through a few big cities. SW asked my boss, "Hey, so, while you were out there, how was business sentiment looking? I mean, how was the consumer outlook? Are people looking more positive?"
I thought this was a strange question to ask. It implied that my boss had actually been out to enough towns to actually get a good sampling of business sentiment in all of America. And it implied that my boss had actually been out talking to all kinds of people on the street.
But my boss had only been in a few cities. And those cities were pretty isolated, probably geographically, from the rest of America. And my boss had only been speaking to higher-up business people, about very specialized topics. I didn't think my boss' answer could really indicate a big picture view of the American economy.
But SW was going to take my boss' answer and use it to reflect the American economy. SW was like an economist for our company, as if our company were something other than it was, something more like an investment firm or an investment advising firm.