Echo – by Tom

I knew it was a dream, and I was tired of it.  I wanted to get out because it was upsetting.  You know the feeling.  The difference between a nightmare and just a bad dream.  You are aware the bad dream is just that.  I just kept looking at and talking to the big head and it kept talking back to me.  Last night’s reality warped inside my subconscious.

I just want to leave.

Give me the passwords.

I just want to leave.

Give me the passwords.

We were down at the sculpture park, near the big head. There was some weird crew skipping and marching in a line.  Big unkempt people.  Several of the males in the group were wearing kilts – scottish “evocative” ones.  Lots of hair and tattoos.  The pallor of their skin said they had not been outside much of late. Pale video game junkie hippies?  Perhaps they weren’t hippies, more like metalheads.

I like to think of myself as a whatever makes you happy kind of guy.  But these folks were surreal and unattractive and unappetizing in a memorable way.  They seemed to be on some weird self administered cross-fit ecstatic dancing melange train.  The biggest person, a guy, led the line, running hand in hand with a large woman.  They were running along, skipping mostly, exercising in worn out doc marten’s.  Just looking at them move in them hurt my feet.  Tattered.  The heels were almost gone, worn and tilted. 

Working out in work boots.  Skipping in kilts.  None of them looked healthy, all of them looked happy.  They laughed as they skipped down the path, waving their arms, one of them would shriek, and they all would shriek in answer.  Then laugh, stop for a group hug, and move on again at the urging of the big guy.

Strange, but they weren’t bothering anyone.  They bothered me though, I was strangely revulsed.  And in another layer, I was upset and disturbed again about being so judgmental. And this is what happened before the dream, before the whiskey.

I just want to leave.

The head answered me with my own words.  I just want to leave.

This had been near sunset.  Down on the bay by the big head.  Sitting with two women, one with dyed hair.  Couldn’t tell the true color of her hair.  She had it bleached white and then it seemed blue/purple dye had been laid on top. Very pretty too, like she had stepped out of an anime or something.  Her friend had dreads, tied at the ends with some kind of metal bolts.  I thought she was a little old for that look. What were their names?  Did Neal tell me?

They were friends of Neal and Roger.  After delivering the files to Neal via a usb we had drinks in some hole in the wall near the Magnolia Bridge.  Good working with Neal.  Interesting, unorthodox, paid well, nothing dangerous, or so I thought.  Server management,  a data dump.  Proxy servers and vpn.  Neal was paranoid to a point, and not really up to anything that needed so much security as far as I could tell.  He just did not want anybody poking in his business.  At the same time it’s not like he tried to pay with bitcoin.  Volatile digital currencies are a little out of my league.  I am not working on that scale.  Roger’s alright too, especially once you get to know him, gruff, but straight up.  

He turned his head.  It was still dark.  Very dark.  Just silliness.  Nothing to worry about.  Everything was alright.  Right? Rowdy night.  Too much to drink.  He was falling back to sleep. Where am I though?

That stupid dream welled back up.  One of those anxiety dreams, unconsciously trying to wake yourself up. Or all about frustration.  Your phone and keys are gone.  You’re about to get laid, but you can’t untie your shoelaces.  Or the woman turns into a pelican.  That’s when I wanted to bail.  I was leaning in to kiss her, and next thing I know there’s this big beak. I’ll remember this dream.

I do not want to copulate with the pelican.  Why does this stuff come out of my brain?  Why is it in here?

Let me go.  I need to escape.

A pelican.  Not the pelican.  Let go of me.

Not the pelican.

Then I was awake.  My head hurt, it was terrible.  The strands of a heavy coarse shipping blanket scraped my face, poked through my clothing.  A clammy sweat covered me, still in all of my clothes.  I could smell stale whiskey seeping from my pores, and as I first tried to roll over I upset a bottle and sent it noisily rolling, over a step or some kind of drop.  The crash and the sound of the breaking glass made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

I could make all that noise but I was not free to move.  There was a weight on me. So hard to sit up  I could hear noise in another room but moving was so difficult.  Loud noises and laughter.

Where was I?  Did somebody drug me?  Was whiskey my only poison from last night?

I heard an old blues tune coming from the other room.  A song about women and whiskey.  But where was I?  Who was playing the music?  

My head hurts and all I want to do is brush my teeth and go home.  My hand searched for my phone in step with the word “Uber” crossing my mind.  This morning I do not care if they are a terrible company.  I just want to go home.

My hands find my pockets.  No phone, no wallet, no keys.  My head seized in pain and the first effect of my new adrenaline rush was an overwhelming wave of nausea.

At least I managed to roll to one side as I retched, avoiding myself in the dark. The sound of my filth splattering on the floor curiously distinct despite my addled state..

A door opened on the other side of the room.  The music grew louder, a burly figure clad in a kilt shaped shadow shined a light that crossed two body sized lumps on the floor to nearly blind me in the brightness.  A dog ran across the floor to closely examine my leavings.  Fortunately it did not pause to taste anything, and it largely ignored me as it examined the rest of the room.

“Hey Fred – hungry?  Want another drink?” he laughed.  “All I want is the key to unlock one of your phones.  That’s all it will take. Fred?  What do you say?  Come on, let’s take a little walk, just you and me.”

Awake now, I was afraid.  Last night was coming back to me.

“Come on, Fred, I insist.”

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About bbcstudiowrites

This blog is me archiving the BBC Studio Writers Workshop.

Posted on April 11, 2017, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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