My apologies about my being lax about writing to you lately. My letters to you celebrate a mundane life in a small town. There is not much going on around here, and the news is scarce. A lot of us don’t live the kind of exciting lives you find in adventure novels, me included. The big circumstance which befell me since last week was that my old microwave that I’ve had for many years finally broke down. Laura had another one which she had unsucessfully tried to sell at one of her yard sales. We unlocked her shed, where she kept her yard sale items packed up in plastic containers, and her microwave was sitting upon the floor beneith a dusty table. I brought the appliance inside her house, cleaned it up, then plugged it in, placing a glass of water inside. I turned it on for a moment, its interior light coming on and its engine running, then took out the glass and found that the water was warm. The microwave still worked. I paid Laura ten dollars for it, and she brought it to my apartment in her car.
Laura and I have been spending time together painting ceramic figurines. Laura has several gnomes with pointed hats which she has been coloring. I colored some wooden figures of vegitables and fruit, then began a more intricate project — the painting of a medieval wizard, with a long beard, holding a wooden staff and wearing a long robe, with his body language indicative of a necromacer, conjuring up spirits from hell.
I have been experiencing such phantoms in my sleep lately. Night after night I’ve been disturbed by nightmares, broken apart by bouts of insomnia. Yesterday, in the darkness of early morning, within my subconscious mind was a rupture of blinding light, with peels of deafening thunder. I was a child once again, standing alone upon my grandmother’s porch when the rampage in the sky began. Torrents of rain started to fall. Suddenly, there was a bolt of fiery winged lightning, striking a large tree in the yard of the house just across the street. The tree was filled with violent streams of electricity as balls of fire were forming upon its trunk, then, with the sound of a terrifying explosion, the tree tumbled to the ground, smoldering. Two more bolts of lightning struch the tin roof of the aged farm house in quick succession, coming from two different directions, and the structure began to burn. The conflagration turned into a fiery holocost as the roof collapsed, exposing the charred timbers and beams, as someone’s home was being rapidly consigned to oblivion.
I kept tossing and turning my nude body, as it tangled itself mercilessly in the covers of my bed, and more visions of the night — some as ridiculous as they were frightening — began to take shape from the nebulous forms before my inner eye. I dreamed that I was going to visit Laura, walking down the streets of Robersonville in the pouring rain, shielded by my umbrella. When I arrived at her house, it was customary for me to walk to her back door underneith her carport, closing up my umbrella, leaving it leaning against the stairwell. During the course of my visit, the rain ceased, and I said goodbye to Laura as I opened the back door from the inside, then much to my shock and dismay, I saw President Donald Trump, dressed in formal attire along with his trademark red power tie, carrying my umbrella in his hand, attempting to walk off with it. When I confronted him, he denied that he was attempting to steal it, but was merely admiring the colorful patterns upon my umbrella’s canopy. I immediately knew that Trump was lying, because there was no patterns on my umbrella — it was a solid color red, which represented the Republican party on an electorial map, just as the color blue represents the Democratic party.
This scene slowly faded way, enfolding itself into other senseless images of my sleeping mind, when I found myself suddenly transformed to another time and another place. I dreamed I was at the social housing projects I frequented each and every week, to stand in line in front of the community center which houses the food bank, with my backpack, where I recieve my ration of free food because I have a low income and cannot afford to shop at the local grocery store. I had been standing there in the blazing sun for what seemed to be for hours, being the first person in line, as all the other people were queueing up behind me. Then Russian President Vladimir Putin showed up in a military uniform, with two empty grocery bags, attempting to cut in line in front of me. I grew angry and shooed him away.
“Go back to your own crime infested country!” Putin exclaimed as he stomped away.
“You do the same,” I retorted. “This is America, love it or leave it!”
Putin came back before much longer, ended up in line behind me somehow, and we settled our differences, being reconciled to one other, becoming friends. I couldn’t help but admire the medals attached to his uniform. Putin asked me in his broken English, “Why do you have such fascination with my patriotic medals?” He allowed me a close inspection of all five of them, and I took them up in my hand, one by one, noticing that all of them were engraved with a letter R, some of them cut in the steel with artistry by a calligraphist, while others were stamped on them by a crude machine. For some odd reason, I knew what the R stood for. I stood for the country of Romania, but I couldn’t understand the signifigance of this no matter how hard I tried.
As I was looking at these R’s, displayed in radically different shapes and sizes, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom walked up, with his empty bags in each hand, and the three of us made conversation. I gave Boris Johnson the business card of my hair stylist, and he thanked me profusely. Johnson quickly noted that he, Putin, and I were the only white people standing in the bread line, and I told him that he would find no loyalists here. Judging from his plump physique, I could easily tell that Johnson wasn’t truly needy like the rest of us. He was just working the system.
My nightmares and insomnia went on like this for several nights. In the quiet hours of the morning, between midnight and sunrise, I awoke from one of my dreams, opened my laptop and began reading some blogs. A blog entitled Between the Lines, written by Claudia, had a post which particularily struck me.
“They saw me naked and I felt no shame!” Claudia writes. “Too lucid for the deep hours of the night, too dreamy to face the morning!”
Claudia is a good writer, and her words came to me at an opportune time. I left a comment on this paticular post, thinking no more of it, but two nights later, as I was sleeping, a motion picture played itself out within my slumbering psyche, and I found myself in a public place with no clothes on.
I dreamed that I had been traveling by train. As I got off one train and was preparing to board another, I got into an altercation with a train conductor at the train station, and I pulled off all my clothes, leaving them in a pile in front of him, accusing the employees there of soiling them. I walked away from the train station naked, trying to think of what to do. I was in downtown Charlotte and I had to be in Robersonville in three hours. I began running as fast as I could, leaving the outskirts of the city, running down the Interstate as motorists flew by staring at me, but no one did anything. Before my feet became sore, I was running down some secondary roads, past some woods and family farms, then I began sprinting through a mobile home park, and this is when the trouble started. A gang of men wearing white tee-shirts who lived there were disgusted at my appearence. When they began chasing me, I stumbled and fell. They caught up and surrounded me — one of them pulled out from his back pocket a long, sharp butcher knife — and as I lied upon my back, he threatened to draw out my intestines, to feed them to his hunting dogs.
I don’t know how I got away from these tatooed men, but the next thing I knew it was after nightfall and I was still running, this time through the mud beneith the pouring rain by the shapeless light of a sinister moon. The same man with the knife was now covered with slime, and was chasing me with a large sledgehammer. I was consumed with terror as my assailant grew closer and closer — my feet and ankles sinking deeper and deeper –into what was becoming a swamp. I knew I was sinking.