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I'm a cop. My partner and I are staking out a run-down crackhouse; the windows are all broken and it looks like a burned-out husk; derelict. We're in an alley next to the building, in my partner's unmarked convertible (top down), smoking pot from a pipe. I'm in the driver's seat, and next to me my partner (black, very attractive) is handing me the pipe and holding in a big hit. I take a large hit and begin to feel paranoia creeping in.

I ask for the keys, and put them in the ignition; I adjust the seat (too far forward) to my liking.

In the rearview I see some (suspicious) people chasing someone. I see a gun. Turn the ignition, peel out, driving recklessly. I scrape up the side of the car a bit against something, ("sorry" to my partner) sparks fly. I draw my service revolver and roll down the window (my instincts are well-honed); racing around he building to flank the group I saw.

I stop at a fenced in area; a guy with an AK-47 stands guard but he looks drunk. I send a few slugs in his direction but he doesn't seem like a threat.

There is another man approaching with a gun in hand (Russian Mafia). I begin to retreat, firing point blank at his chest. He's not stopping! He advances on my partner, firing shots, she goes down... he sees me and begins advancing and I continue pumping rounds into him. Then I realize why he's not fazed... MY FUCKING GUN IS EMPTY (click click click).

I dash towards a parked van (running for my life), I need to re-load. Slow motion (too much Max Payne):

I am heading for cover behind the van
Snap open my revolver
I put bullets in (steady hands) two chambers
Snap the chambers back into place
I have two shots
Time returns to normal...

Without slowing, I circle the van and now I'm running at the advancing Russians full force. They are slightly obscured by the fence corner but I see them coming, and I am ready. I put my gun into the face of the first one around the corner and shoot him in the eye. He grabs his eye, shocked, but not dead. I put my gun into his chest and fire. That's two.

I grapple with the other man who was giving me pills, he managed to feed me one but I made him eat the other. I realize they were hydrochloric acid. FUCK FUCK FUCK. Did I eat one?! I imagine my friend saying: "You shouldn't just eat anything from anyone!" I picture time counting down.... dissolving gel caps.... after about a minute and a half I figure I should be dead. I seem to be ok.

Someone is criticizing my pedal health. "Always wear shoes!"


I am walking around an amusement park
Dressed as Robin Hood
There is a theater and I go to see the show:

Adevntures on the moon
Unrequited love
Movies showing the players are projected onto the stage
She comes to find him on The Island of Lost Love
But by then he is dead and a woman
I try to leave before the credits
But it is still raining on stage
(Have I ruined the electronics in my pocket?)
The credits show the names of the actors
And all the projected movies
All in aperiodic rotating 3-D magnificence

Back out into the amusement park
I pass my dad in the crowd
And start running
The absurdity of the situation convinces me I am awake
(as opposed to a dream-within-a-dream convincing me, like last night)
He calls my name
By then I've found my brother and my sister
Having lunch on the ground (in line?) with my doppleganger
They tell him, "Dad's calling you."
But when Dad arrives, he says, "Actually, I was calling someone else," indicating me.
I challenge the impostor to a duel.

I was living some strange form of Metal Gear Solid 2. Crawling around the rafters of a four-story building, trying to avoid being spotted. This went on for hours and I can’t remember any of it now. But at some point I failed. All the bad guys saw me. They didn’t get those exclamation points over their heads. They just looked sick with disgust, and turned away.

So I drop down into a populated area. Now it’s a house party, I must be back in New Hampshire. A bunch of people are in line to use a urinal, which is for some reason right in the middle of the room. I get in the line, about three back. I really have to go.

And I spot a friend from high school. She’s got a new hair color and a new boyfriend, but she’s ashamed of me and won’t introduce me to either. She admonishes me, I can’t recall the words, and wanders away. I think about the night that she sat on my bed, crying her eyes out in that small cotton dress. I could have fucked her then. Now I think she wanted me to. But I didn’t, because these things have consequences. She never understood that.

So it’s my turn at the urinal now. I unzip, and wait for the flow. Then a group shifts beside me, and I see her there. Not the previous friend, another. She looks amazing as ever, and she’s grinning. She went out with one of my best friends for a while. I never thought they fit. I wanted her for my own. She knew it. By the time I made a pathetic excuse for a move, she was into some other guy at college.

But that was five years ago. And I’m so different now. I’m a man, not a boy. I have a degree, a job, an apartment. The city is my home. I’m not so shy, or angry. I smile and laugh more. And most importantly, I’ve been with a woman. In every sense. (I think) I know how they think, what they want, and how to give it to the ones that deserve it. And the delirious happiness that can bring. This is perfect.

Except, you see, I’m standing there with my dick in my hand. How charming.

She says, “YOU’RE here?” Her tone says she was just about to leave. But not now.

I pause just long enough so that her remark seems silly, but not stupid, and say, “Yes.”

She says, “You look SO good.”

I mumble something about how that can’t be true—I’m still sweaty and breathing hard from dodging the commandos—and forget to return the compliment. My vulnerability here is really weighing on me. I ask her to meet me in a corner in a bit, and she agrees.

Now I’m so excited that I can’t make it happen. But slowly control returns. I remember the wisdom, and I RELAX the muscle, not contract it. It comes.

And, you see, I was so wrapped up in how fun and serious my life could get, so lost in my own daydreams of this ridiculous potential I seem to stumble upon, that I walk right out the front door and begin staring at the full moon. And when I’ve had enough of that, I start around the block, reveling in the fresh night air.

Forgetting my obligation. This is entirely within character.

Suddenly, it drops on me like a lead weight, and I panic. It’s daylight now, the morning. How long has it been? I’m still on the same block, but I can’t remember which fucking house it was. Would it be quicker to backtrack, or keep going around? I make the wrong choice. God, I screwed this up too.

My cell phone rings. It’s my dad. He says, “I thought you had to work today.” I realize he’s right, and lie, and say no, and then I remember that I really didn’t. I’m standing on someone’s stoop, scanning the sidewalk. And that’s when she walks by.

I can’t shout at her with my dad still on the phone, so I wave frantically. She says “Yeah, bye. I get it.” And keeps walking.

I run after her. Somehow I get her to stop. There are tears all down her face. I say, “Dad, do you actually have something important you need to tell me, or can this wait?” He does, and he starts to say it, but he sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher, and I know I’ve failed her just by asking in front of her. I hang up and she says, “It’s okay”, that first falsehood they throw you. I say “No it’s not.” She takes my hands, and says, “Say it with me.”

And I do.


It was a line from a (nonexistent) movie I had only seen the first half of. I’m lucky that scene was in the beginning. She hugs me.

And then I woke up.

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