Good morning, everybody.
I was with a woman. The woman may have been my girlfriend. We were moving through a series of locations, something like rooms in a museum. But each location had to do a different rock song, maybe always a Japanese pop song. The locations were all mostly dark, with electronic imagery spreading through the darkness.
In one location, the woman and I were sitting in seats like movie theater seats and listening to a song ("Wasurenai kara?") by the artist Gack't. Overhead spanned a dark beam, like the underside of a bridge. In the distance was a red city skyline.
I found the scene very beautiful, but I wondered whether the woman was feeling bored. Maybe this kind of journey wasn't her thing. Maybe the woman found me boring and resented the fact that she had chosen me for a boyfriend.
I suddenly realized that I may have had to attend some sort of class. I stood up and turned toward the woman, who remained seated. I told the woman not to worry, that I'd be right back. I had to go check whether I needed to take a class right now. But, I told the woman, if I needed to take the class, I'd make sure to come back and get her, so that she could be in the class with me.
I walked down a dark hallway to a lit room where a class was in progress. Most of the people in the class were women. They were all talking in a semi-irreverent, exaggeratedly down-to-earth way. The class was basically a class on how to carry out a divorce most effectively. I was mainly coming to this class because I was trying to help someone through the divorce process.
As I listened to the teacher, who was the most exaggeratedly down-to-earth of all the people, I realized that the woman I'd been journeying through the locations with would think this class was really helpful. So I went to look for her.
But as I was looking around in ----- (the red zone, with the movie seats?), I heard the voice of JS, one of my professional seniors and a person I consider to be a mentor and role model, calling, "Preemie. Preemie! Preemie, wherever you are, get your rear end down here!"
I was so panicked on hearing JS sounding so insistent and disappointed in me that I floated downwards through the floor and down through a huge room, like a fancy bar, where JS sat at a couch and coffee table with a number of other women. JS, seeing me float downward from the high ceiling, asked, "Do you have your divorce report finished? Everybody would like to see it."
I landed and knelt on the ground before the coffee table. I pulled out a stack of papers and began working through them. All the ladies gathered around me, looking over the papers I'd pulled out. I could feel that JS now felt bad about being overly insistent, and that she was now trying to make up for it by being gentle and attentive to my report. I felt like I had put a lot of effort into the report, and I felt like JS could see that.
I was with my mom. We were on something like a bicycle, riding down a slope inside a concrete structure that looked like a mix between a parking lot and the underpass of a highway. We were trying to get to a final destination, but we may have been finding the going pretty difficult.
We were now behind a garbage truck. My mom told me, "If we latch onto the back of the truck, we can let it carry us down the slope. That will make the effort a lot easier on us."
I tried to argue with my mom that latching on the back of the truck, especially while we were going downhill, would only put us in danger. For instance, if the truck stopped, we wouldn't be able to control ourselves, and we'd crash right into the truck.
I could tell my mom was upset about the arguments I was making. But thankfully I didn't have to make them anymore. The garbage truck curved around a stairwell and drove away along some flat stretch of concrete. I knew that my mom and I needed to go down the stairwell. So we wouldn't be able to follow the garbage truck.
I lifted the bicycle up onto my left shoulder and began walking down the steps. The concrete floor had been strewn with some kind of fragmented, glass-like litter. But the steps were even more cluttered with this litter, and the litter was kind of grimy.
I didn't pay it much attention, though. I began speaking to my mom, who I thought was behind me. I told my mom that she'd find she was much happier now that we'd done things the right way. We may have put in an extra effort. But I was shouldering most of the effort for her. I asked her, was she feeling overstrained?
But my mom didn't answer. I realized my mom wasn't behind me. I had no idea where she was. I got to the bottom of the steps and into another huge, concrete room. My mom was standing a few meters away, looking at furniture. There were furniture and rugs all laid out, well-spaced, in this huge room, like exhibits in a museum.
I walked up to my mom and asked her something. She may have asked me something as well, like asking me to remember to do something for my family on her behalf.
I was sitting in a sandbox as big as a public swimming pool. My second oldest nephew sat outside the edge of that sandbox, flinging sand from the edge further in, as if he were splashing water in a pool. My nephew may have been speaking to me about something.
A friend of my nephew now came up. My nephew introduced me to his friend. The friend came into the sandbox. I shook the boy's hand. When the boy took back his hand, he seemed a little panicked. I began to wonder whether my hand had been bleeding and I'd gotten blood on the boy's hand. I felt like this must have been what had happened to make the boy skittish.
I asked the boy what was wrong. He acted like nothing was wrong. But he then showed me a few bruises and healed cuts on his hand. I understood that the boy thought highly of these wounds, so I treated them like they were a really big deal. I realized I also had wounds on my hand, so I showed them to the boy.
The boy began talking about people's hands. He mentioned how some people's hands have an extra little nub of flesh on them. The boy himself may have had this extra nub of flesh. I knew I did. The boy began talking about the different shapes the extra flesh could take on a hand. He mentioned one type which was very much like chicken skin. I thought that must have been my type. I began to feel very ashamed of myself.
I walked into a room with my mom. My second oldest nephew was in the room, holding a flower. My nephew, upon seeing me, got a little teary-eyed and complained to me about how I don't spend as much time with everybody as I should. I felt really bad about this, and I avoided my nephew's eyes.
I looked at the flower. Like an onion, it was bulbous, purple at the base and white at the top. But it also seemed to be folding open into slender, almost orchid-like, but thick, petals.
I was now walking up through the stairwell of a big building. I reached some high up floor. I went up into an apartment which was temporarily mine. It was like I was on some kind of extended business trip or project, and that I'd been given the apartment during the project. Possibly my mom had gotten this apartment for me. I had just come back from a business meeting. This was the first time I'd actually seen the apartment.
There was a huge industrial vent right in the room, near the door. The vent pointed toward the wall, away from the rest of the room. I knew the vent was connected, under the floor, to a much larger system in a small room on the other side of the wall from my apartment.
I knew this larger system at least partly served as a chiller. I had the idea that if the chiller exploded, it would blow open the wall of my apartment. It could possibly even kill me. I wondered whether it had been a bad idea for me to be put into this apartment. I even wondered whether I'd been put into the apartment on purpose, so I would be in constant danger. But I eventually dismissed the whole thing as not being so dangerous after all.
There were huge windows all along the left wall of the apartment. I knew all the windows had been closed while I was away. But now I looked over and saw that one of the windows was open. I couldn't quite believe my eyes at first. But I looked again to see that the window was open.
I went over to the window to close it. But looking out the window, where before I'd just seen a city skyline, I now saw that something like a garden embedded in concrete connected this floor of my building to the corresponding floor of the building next door. The windows in that apartment were open as well. The garden connecting the two buildings was mostly filled with desert soil and plants.
I now began to wonder -- did somebody from across the way come into my apartment? If they did, did they take anything? Or were they still in my apartment? Had they been sent, perhaps, to hurt or kill me?
I reflected that I couldn't really do much about the lack of security before this moment. But right now I could take steps to secure my apartment. I would close and lock my windows right now. I looked down along my wall of windows. I now realized that almost every single window along the wall was open! Somebody must have come in here!
I went into a reverie. I began hearing two people speak. Both of the people were Equity Research analysts. I may have known one of them as CU, an analyst I'd been friends with at my last research job. The other analyst asked CU whether he'd had his report out yet. CU said he hadn't, but that it was basically ready.
The other analyst asked whether he'd read the other reports put out by the other analysts so far. CU said he hadn't, but that his report was probably pretty up-to-date anyway. CU said he could show the other analyst what he had so far.
I now saw what CU had: a whole stack of blue and red construction paper. On each piece of paper was pasted a white piece of paper with black, psychedelic-wavy-style lettering printed all the way down it. This "report" was giving some sort of eulogy for a fellow analyst who had been found dead -- maybe in the very apartment in which I was currently staying.
The thing was, and I could see this as I read CU's "report," that CU was giving very broad, general information about the analyst's death. Not only was the information about the analyst and his death so general that it wouldn't be telling anybody anything they hadn't already heard; it had also missed some of the latest developments surrounding the investigation into the death, so that it was even misleading. I thought this report was almost insulting to the analyst who had died.
I thought that CU must have known the analyst personally. But now, reading the report, I had my doubts. CU's report spoke kindly of the man. But it almost seemed to disavow that CU had ever known the man personally. The details of the man were like details out of a press release.
Apparently the man had also had a little fantasy of being a movie star. He'd even had some little roles in a few movies. The role for which he was most famous was a bit role, where he was carrying a box of Marlboro cigarettes on his right shoulder as he walked down the street. The man was a tall, blonde man with muscular features and a deep tan. The man had a very 1950s style about him.
The joke of the scene was, apparently, that the man, as he walked down the street, past a woman (the main character of the film) who was sitting on the curb, commented about how wonderful and delicious Marlboro cigarettes were. This was a joke because the industry the analyst had covered was the Food, Beverage, and Tobacco industry. So he was basically pushing his own industry.
But CU's report made it seem like this joke was actually some kind of noble effort. The analyst, the report said, had been standing up for one of the best companies he covered. And he covered that company well. The company deserved great coverage, the report seemed to say, because it was one of the world's most noble companies.
I thought that was going a bit overboard. Besides, I could think of a more independent film in which the analyst had had a much larger role, and in which he'd performed much better. But I couldn't remember the name of the film, or even what had happened in it. I only remembered it being very dark.
Now, looking along my windows, I wondered how the man had died. Early reports had been that the man had been murdered. But now I saw in my mind's eye a Facebook-like grid of photos. Early reports implied that these photos were of people who, possibly through a social media platform, had organized to carry out the murder of this analyst.
But now reports were going back on this previous opinion. One headline I saw in my mind's eye said, "Murder-Ring Now Considered a Suicide." So the man had not been murdered, but had committed suicide. The other analysts knew this, and their reports reflected it. But CU's report still did not reflect this fact. In fact, CU's report spoke very assuredly of the analyst having been murdered. I thought this was kind of silly on CU's part.