The sign on the door said, The Dream Shoppe,

slightly false advertising, but it was dark

and I had lost the lenses of my best glasses.

Four hundred dollars and that's with

health insurance and no frills.

I am not careless; I carry the frame around

and the lenses, but they fall out at the

most ridiculous times, so I've stopped

wearing them. So technically speaking,

they are not lost, merely waiting to be fixed.

Anyway, back to The Dream Shoppe,

which was blessedly lit without mercury

or fluorescence, and the only place open

in town, after the storm.

Free coffee and free food on a table,

to the right. Shelves of odd-shaped boxes,

with no marking, no text, no price.

At least the coffee made sense and

tasted out of this world. They say not to shop

when you're hungry, so I helped myself

to blueberries and almonds, lightly salted.

At that moment, an exotic woman appeared,

from behind a curtain, like an old game show,

only this was no game I wanted to play.

"I'm just looking for a dream," I said, hoping

she understood my language.

The woman said nothing but watched closely

as I licked the salt off my fingers.

Bad habit, but I didn't know

the proper etiquette, since there were no

paper napkins.

I pointed to the shelves, "Are those dreams

for sale?" She laughed, like a deadly river,

like a waterfall roaring, like a lone hyena.

In other words, it was not pretty.

Fuck the free coffee and free food,

and to think I entertained the thought

of shopping locally, buying dreams for

everyone on my list.

I thanked her and turned to leave

but the door was gone.

Trapped, here in the dark, in The Dream Shoppe.

She asked in precise wording,

"Could I interest you in a few nightmares,

instead of dreams?"

"Not a chance," I replied, while slowly slipping

a knife from one sleeve. Suffice it to say,

I killed her swiftly, had another cup of coffee

and watched as the door reappeared.

I am not careless; the event won't even make it

into the police notes or obituaries.

I trudged home, another grey dawn,

and wondered if nothing is real but time.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.