Good morning, everybody.
A view of a room in grainy-looking black and white, like an overexposed or extremely zoomed-in shot, but also digitized. A group of small kids, mostly small boys, working in a white grid of small spaces. The boys may have been assembling something. There may have been a conveyor belt somewhere. The boys may have had deeply tanned skin and well-combed, short hair.
I was in an empty arcade with one other guy. The arcade was so quiet, it felt like it may even have closed down. The guy and I may in fact have found our way in here by accident. So we decided to play some games.
There was a wide arcade console near the front window (to my left) that played the old game Centipede. My friend told me we should play Centipede. I told him I'd never played it before (???). He told me he'd teach me.
The game started up. It had the same primitive graphics as the old Centipede game. But instead of controlling a figure down at the bottom, you actually controlled a little blob that was a piece of the centipede as it ran downward through the screen. The piece of centipede had the ability to shoot. There was at least one long centipede running through the screen. There may have been more. You had to shoot the centipede, knocking off its pieces until there were none left.
But I was apparently really terrible at the game. Even on the first level,which was basically a blank screen with no obstacles, I did really horribly. I couldn't figure out the shooting mechanism. It was taking me way too long to twist the part of the centipede's body over to where the long centipede was coming from, aim at it, and shoot it. I must have gotten to a more difficult level. But this one was full of obstacles and may have had more than one long centipede. I think I was thinking of asking my friend to teach me how to shoot.
I was either at a beach or at a really big pool with some friends. But a lot of us were just hanging out in front of the outdoor showers. The showers ran alongside a big, cinder block wall that stood before a wooden boardwalk-like walkway. Each shower had its own little division, like it's own little stall, although the dividing area only rose up to about shin-height.
I don't know whether we'd already gone swimming or if we were just getting ready to swim. But at least I personally seemed to be obsessed with the showers. My shower didn't seem to be working. It had hot water for a little while. But then the hot water all went cold. Now something weird was going on with the nozzle.
A male friend to my right -- tall, muscular, attractive, and white -- laughed cheerfully and told me something like I just had to keep positive and hope for the best, and that the shower would probably get better soon.
I stood in the shower a little bit longer. But now the nozzle was loose. I could see, at least in my mind's eye, a white, conical nozzle like the tip of a cake-icing tube almost hitting me in the face through a cascade of water. And my stall was full of a bunch of equipment, like parts of a shower that had fallen out and were left discarded in my stall.
But another person, maybe a female friend of ours, told us that it was time to go. So I had to go to the locker room to shower and change back into my regular clothes. I went into the indoor locker room, a cinder block building with dim, watery, green-grey fluorescent lighting. There seemed to be a lot of people in the locker room.
I headed toward the shower. It was probably just a nozzle, probably all by itself, among other restroom elements like urinals, toilet stalls, and sinks. The shower may have worked fine. I walked back into the main locker room area. I knew I had to hurry to keep up with my friends.
I now noticed that I was in a special area of the locker room. The locker room had been divided into sections. Regardless of nationality, people like me with brown skin had to use this part of the locker room and stay divided from other people in the locker room.
I knew that while people with brown skin were required to use this part of the locker room, it was also assumed that anybody who was using this part of the locker room was using it expressly to conspire with other people in this part of the locker room in some destructive plan. So everybody was always suspicious of the people in this section. I tried to rush out of the place as soon as I could, to avoid suspicion.
The edge of the section for brown people was bounded by a set of small, orange traffic cones. The cones were connected by yellow rope which ran along their tops.
I was heading into a fancy restaurant with a male friend of mine. It seemed like we were coming here to meet a business contact. The lobby of the restaurant was all made of heavy wood.
A skinny, wiry black man with short, but really frazzled (almost shocked), hair stood at the front desk. The worker knew my friend, but he didn't know me. He looked like he was already getting ready to tell me to leave. But my friend not only told the worker that I was his friend, but he told him my name.
The worker's tiny, tight eyes bugged out as wide as they could. The worker said, "Oh!" He grabbed my right (?) hand, folded it at the wrists, and then covered it in both of his hands. Then he put my hand to my chest -- or possibly to his own chest -- and led me through the restaurant, to the table where our party was waiting. I knew I was getting special treatment because of who I was. But I didn't know why I would deserve special treatment.
The restaurant was empty, other than the table with the party we were here to meet. The restaurant was bright with natural light, which came in through windows high up on the wood walls. The place felt open and very nice, full of nice furniture, but kind of old and dusty, a little run-down, especially in the carpeting. There were big, round tables throughout the room and booth tables along the walls. Off to my right was a room that was much dimmer than the room we were in.
I sat down at the round table with our party. I don't know if my friend did. I don't think he did. I think he just walked away. My friend was tall, white, and muscular, with a kind of long haircut done up in a sweeping, squarish, but spiked style. He wore a really nice, grey business suit.
I was now sitting at the table with a group of old men. There may have been a few empty seats. One of the men I recognized as my grandfather, who died about four years ago. Another man I recognized as my mom's old boyfriend. The remaining men were, I assumed, family members or relations of some kind. They seemed very old, and they wore very nice suits.
I opened my menu. The menu looked like a Denny's menu. I couldn't decide what I wanted. But now my grandpa and the other old men stood up and walked away, leaving just me and my mom's ex-boyfriend at the table. One of the men must have come back, but only momentarily, leaving a plate of french toast covered in syrup and a couple links of sausages on the table.
I saw that the men had all gone to the dim room. I now realized that in that room there was an all you can eat breakfast buffet. The old men had all chosen this all you can eat buffet for their meal. I said, probably to the air, "Oh? Is that what everybody's doing? I'd much rather do that. Did they want me to do that as well? I hope I didn't offend them by looking into the regular menu." I didn't want to look like I was trying to order something that was higher-priced, or a worse value than, the all you can eat buffet.
I stood up. I was about to head to the all you can eat buffet. But I saw my mom's ex still sitting at the table. I thought that, instead of being rude (???) and leaving him alone at the table, I'd sit and wait here and talk with him until one or two of the old men came back.
So, sitting down my menu and a handful of plates, which apparently came from nowhere, I asked, "So, how's it going? How's everything been for you lately?"
My mom's ex looked at me in offended surprise, as if to imply that I really had some nerve talking to him at all -- especially after what I'd done to him. I couldn't figure out what I could have done that would have offended him so much. But I just decided not to say anything.
I went into a museum. I went into a special exhibit about some ancient culture. The special exhibit was only going to be at the museum for a short time. I didn't know whether I'd be able to make it. So I was really happy to be here. But I was all alone in the exhibit. A lot of the old artifacts were huge and resembled human faces. It was kind of spooky to be among them all, all by myself.
But I walked into a small room full of these faces (maybe huge, wooden faces, like segments of a totem pole?). There was a big video playing on a wall. In front of the video screen were a long, stainless steel table and three chairs. It was like a little study area. I took off my jacket and pulled out a notebook and pen to start taking notes.
I now noticed an old man come into the room off to my right. The room was like the main entrance room for the exhibit. It was a huge room, like a ballroom. And it seemed like it only had one exhibit display in it, right along the front wall, just a small display of a few artifacts. The rest of the room seemed to be completely empty.
The man had, I knew, noticed that I had walked into the special exhibit. He didn't like my looks, so he decided to follow me and harass me. The man was white, kind of stout, with long, frizzy, white hair along the sides of his head and a completely bald crown. He wore thick black-rimmed eyeglasses, a red and white plaid shirt, and khaki slacks.
The man was really only focused on annoying me. But he wouldn't come into the room I was in. I think he thought that even though he was following me, stalking me, that his stalking would be too obvious if he was in the same room with me. So he stayed in the other room, but he began dancing in a really stupid -- kind of hilarious -- but really distracting way.
I tried to keep focused on the video in front of me, the figures in the room, which I was apparently studying, and my notebook writings. But I kept losing focus. The man kept shifting his movements so he was always in the corner of my eye, doing a weird kind of stompy, twitchy, flailing dance that was hilarious, but that really annoyed the hell out of me. I was getting to the point where I was going to stand up and start a fight with the guy. The way the guy was moving made me wonder if he was on drugs.
But now a tour group was heading into the room. The man saw the tour group and dashed away. I knew that the man was only doing what he was doing to annoy me, as part of a stalker/targeted individual technique. He didn't want his role as a stalker to be seen by anybody else. He didn't want to give himself away. He didn't want anybody to believe me if I told them what he was doing. He wanted everybody to think I was crazy. So he ran away before anybody could see him.
The tour group looked pretty big. A whole line of people entered the room. At first I was just relieved that the old man had gone. But now I thought I should try to get someone to get rid of him altogether. I should tell someone, the tour leader, about the man.
Even though I hadn't seen him directly, I knew that the leader had entered at the front of the line. The leader was already working his way over to the section that was considered to be the beginning of the exhibition. I knew the leader would take a minute to let the tour group get situated, and then he'd start his presentation. I decided to run to the leader really quickly and tell him about the man.
The beginning section of the exhibition was set just a little bit into the right side of the big room. The rest of it went into a room separated from the big room by a sort of overhang. The section itself was like a maze, constructed out of knee-high metal railing. Behind the railing were artifacts. Many of the artifacts were either tall as standing men or else set on pedestals about that height, or even taller. These artifacts may have had more of a Gothic, maybe even more of a Buddhist, appearance.
I found the tour leader standing in the middle of this maze. A few members of the tour group stood around him. The rest kind of filtered through the maze in a long line. But people were still entering the room and getting situated. The tour leader himself was tall, white, but with reddish-tanned skinned. He had dull blue eyes and reddish blonde hair. He was skinny-looking, but he was actually muscular. He had a kind of whiny look about him.
I got the leader's attention in some childish way, maybe by tugging at his elbow or something. I may have felt like I was a child, or at least the height of a child. I at least felt like my head didn't even come up to the leader's sternum.
I very shyly started trying to tell the leader about the harassing old man. But as I did so, I realized that, along with my notebooks and my jacket, I had also left my cell phone at the desk I'd been studying at. I was sure that if the man worked his way around to the room I'd been in, which was like the last room of the exhibit, he'd steal my cell phone for sure.
So I told the leader, "I... uh... I left my cell phone in another room." I knew that the man would start speaking before I returned, and that once he'd started speaking he wouldn't stop for me to tell him about the old man. I couldn't ask the leader to hold off on his speech until I returned. All I could do was try to get back to the leader before the tour group was situated, and hope that the man would be patient enough with me to let me tell him about the old man.
But I still, walking away, tried to at least hint to the leader that I needed to get my cell phone before it got stolen, but that I needed to speak with the leader as well. But all I got out to the leader was something like, "Uh... I'll be... uh... a... just a moment... I'll be right back!"
I walked backwards through the maze. But it was filling up with tour members. It was hard for me to make any progress as I tried to squeeze past them or excuse myself or push past them in the opposite direction. I had a feeling that, with all the time I'd been away from the room already, the old man could easily have taken my phone. If he hadn't gotten to my phone yet, I needed to get to the room as soon as possible, so he couldn't get to it.
Suddenly, I just lifted myself up in the air. I began flying over the tour group. I flew over the group in kind of a weird way, like I was lying on one side, maybe my right side, and clawing the air below me with my right arm -- though my right arm was bent in a really weird way -- while also clawing the air before me with my left arm -- though my left arm was held almost completely to my chest, so that my clawing hand was really only flopping back and forth at the wrist. But I was moving faster than I would have moved by walking.
The line of people filtered all the way through the maze-like area. Just past the maze area there was a staircase, apparently going up to the balcony that overhung the maze area. The line wove under the staircase, not single-file, but with four or five people all beside each other, and then went all the way through the big room and out the entrance door.
I was awed by how massive the tour group was. I had a hard time trying to imagine how the leader was supposed to give a presentation, in just his voice, with no microphones or speakers or anything, to a crowd this enormous.
I may have seen a female tour guide, who was in place to monitor the back of the crowd and make sure nothing got out of hand. She was white, blonde, tan, kind of pretty. She wore the same uniform as the man, except with a mini-skirt instead of slacks. She looked nice enough to talk to without being shy. I thought that I would tell her about the old man after I'd gotten my phone.
I may have landed near the door of the room with all my stuff. I was still really afraid that the old man had gotten to my cell phone first. I felt like I really needed to hurry to get to my things.
I was with some group of people, maybe something like classmates or a group of friends. We had all finished something. We may have been in a place like an auditorium or a movie theatre at first. We may have been watching a movie or movies made by people in the room, or we may have been watching physical performances which were very much like movies somehow. But now the performance was over. The lights had come back on, and people were leaving the auditorium.
We all walked out into a huge room that looked like a gymnasium where we were standing. For a little while I spoke with one of my friends, a kind of heavyset, Hispanic looking girl with her hair pulled back in a ponytail. She looked athletic and tomboyish. I think she was gay, and I think she was worried that I was trying to hit on her. But I just liked talking to her as a friend, because she was so easygoing.
Farther away, the gymnasium changed into a cathedral. There were rows of pews, like in a church. Then the room tiered upward along a wide, solid staircase. It went up to a mezzanine level, where there were more tiers and rows of seats. And along the back wall there were some enormous, incredible stained glass windows. There may have been stained glass inside the building, too: maybe along some of the railings at the front of the mezzanine level.
I was mesmerized by the beauty of the stained glass windows. I wanted to see the windows up close. I walked toward them. Some other people walked around in the cathedral area near me, apparently because I was walking around here, so they figured it was okay. I was pretty sure it wasn't okay for any of us to be here. But I really had to see the windows up close.
But our leader called us away. It was like he was an adult and we were children, maybe high school aged children. I may have been my age. But I may have been recognized as a high school kid. This may have been kind of frustrating to me. I wanted to be recognized as an adult by the leader. But I didn't feel like I had enough power in me at all to be recognized as an adult.
Outside, we headed down some barren slope of tan soil to a few big buses that were going to take us back to wherever we'd come from. The buses were parked alongside a pond, which we'd apparently used at some point in the day for swimming. There were still some kids swimming in the pond.
There were a couple adults, probably leaders, too, with the leader who'd called us out of the building. The leaders were all laughing about how kids would shower and then get right back to swimming. But now we had to leave, so the kids couldn't take a shower again.
I stood or sat just offstage, watching some sort of theatrical performance from the wings. My old office manager sat just behind me and to my right. She kept whispering stuff in my ear about this performance. I think I found the stuff she whispered useful, but annoying.
On stage, a sheer, baby-blue curtain was let down, maybe about halfway back in the stage. It ran all the way across the stage, and all the way down to the floor of the stage. The fabric was like the fabric of a negligee. A red, 1950s style car drove up behind the sheer curtain. It glimmered romantically in the spotlights. A slow 1950s style song began playing. A beautiful woman may have appeared, sitting on the roof of the car. The car may slowly have driven off stage.
The last episode of a TV show for teenagers. The show was a variety show, put on largely by teenagers, but with a few adults who acted like moderators and mentors for the teenagers. The show was mostly informative, about pop culture, fashion, and so forth, with little bits of comedy and sketches here and there.
There was a segment showing some of the kids who ran the show getting all sentimental and crying, some of them right after they'd stoutly announced that they wouldn't get all sentimental and start crying. One image was a closeup on a girl's face as she cried. The girl was white, pale skinned, with freckles, pale blue eyes, and frizzy, black-brown hair. She, like all the other kids, wore a yellow t-shirt and blue jeans.
But now it was like the final episode of the show was just beginning. The premise of the show's beginning was that all the kids were going to treat the show just like any other show: that, even though this was the final episode, the kids were going to act like it wasn't. But then, once somebody got out onto the stage, maybe the adults, but I'm not sure, the kids would all shout, "Surprise!" After that, the show would be like a big party.
I knew that at this point, all the crying would take place. I kind of didn't want to have to go through all the crying moments again. Even though they were silly and sappy and kind of endearing, they were also kind of painful. And I didn't want to have to go through the pain again.
The first scene showed the kids running through the backstage area, which was kind of like a huge warehouse full of supplies like bulk-quantity craft supplies: like huge rolls of paper and so forth, on huge shelves towering all the way up to the ceiling.
The kids were, either genuinely or as part of the show, running late for the beginning of the show. They had to get there before the adults did, so they could surprise the adults. But there were people -- not planned by the show -- who were apparently doing work backstage. They paid no attention to the kids, and were even a little smug with the kids. They kept on with their work laying all kinds of obstacles in the kids' path, and walking slowly at right angles to the kids.
The kids were now genuinely late getting on stage. Then one of the girls tripped on one of the workers who had gotten into her path. She fell and slid across the floor. All the kids who'd seen the girl fall stopped running and knelt down to help the girl. It was now painfully obvious that these kids, if not all the kids, would now be extremely late in getting onto the stage.