The Dream (part 1)

January 27, 2010

Some faces were broken. Some faces glowed. The reason for this was that it was Thursday morning. The optimists could smell the coming weekend and their faces filled with smirk smiles that they directed at each other, endlessly reflecting their mutual joy. At the same time the pessimists hid from this depressing sight while they prayed for a giant meteor to slip undetected past every astronomer’s telescope and smite their sorry lives to the ground like the tiny insignificant ants they felt like. Some of them didn’t even know what day it was. They had just gotten up and gone to work because their alarm clock had told them to. This was the kind of people that would be buried 12-feet under so as not to be awoken from the sweet eternal slumber of death by the snooze-less tolling of the church bells. A lot of hard workers were amongst these people. A lot of tired backs, worn shoes and empty wallets too. Their ears already filled to the brim with nagging wives, nagging mothers, useless husbands, tiny children and little siblings at home tweeting, chirping and screeching like helpless hungry baby birds. And every morning these men and women tasted the vomit in their mouths. When they got to work they washed the taste of sick away with coffee. Black coffee. Big white cups of hot black coffee. Coffee that burnt their tongues and stung their minds with a restless need for activity and made them forget how miserable they were. Coffee that washed away the dreams about vacations they could never have and the lives of famous athletes, actors and billionaires they would never live.

Little did they know that amongst them was a man who lived one of their fading dreams. His name was Julius. Though he could run pretty fast and throw basketballs to were they needed to go he was not a famous athlete. Many girls and boys at his school meant that he could’ve been one when he was younger, and they were absolutely right. If Julius didn’t stop playing ball in high school he would’ve been the 4th drafted player the year after his graduation. But Julius would never know this, and if he did, it wouldn’t have had any noticeable effect on his life. That was a long time ago and he was happy now anyway.

Julius was a simple man. A simple man who could do complicated things. One time his remote control broke. Then he made a new one from an old telephone and a broken car alarm. Julius was pleased by the end product, and little did he know that his remote control was 0,02 seconds faster than any remote control ever built. Julius was just content with the fact that he had turned two useless things into one useful. Little would he know that if he had patented it at the US patent office big international companies would’ve argued back and forth about who of them would have the right to make Julius a very rich man. Julius would’ve been so filthy rich that he could have afforded a chimpanzee butler. And I tell you now, before you go all crazy about the prospect of having a chimpanzee as a butler: Chimpanzee butlers don’t come cheap. Not that chimpanzee butlers demand so much pay, the occasional banana seems to be the ruling tariff. But naturally they brake a lot of widescreen TVs, smash expensive chandeliers and dirties a lot of windows. But unlike everyone else on the bus Julius could’ve afforded it. He could’ve bought a new widescreen TV, bigger than the old one, and he could’ve bought a new chandelier, handmade from tiny gold-leafed lizard bones in Peru, gemmed by South-African jewellers and blessed by Tibetan monks. A new one coming in everyday while the dirty windows were cleaned by maids and muscular men carried television sets in and out of the house. And they would all shake their heads and smile while the monkey clapped its hands, made jungle sounds and cheered them on. But Julius would never see this kind of money, and if he knew that he could’ve, it wouldn’t have affected his life that much. After all, he was, as you already know, happy.

The reason for this happiness was that he was living the dream. Not as a big sports star, not as a billionaire, but as an actor. The best goddamn actor the world had ever seen. He was such a good actor that no one even suspected that he was one. His role for the last two years had been that of the driver of the #27 early morning bus. He played his role perfectly, all the way down to the tiniest detail. If the academy had seen his uniform they would’ve probably given the bus company a wonderful golden statuette for best costume design. So authentic! Julius prided himself with his acting accomplishments, even though he was the only one who knew about them. He was the star of the show. Throwing on 8 hour live performances five times a week. His dedication to the art of acting knew no bounds. Sometimes he would act stressed, mad and annoyed towards the passengers, but inside he was smiling. What a performence! Their dumbstruck irritated faces the only applause he needed. Oh, what joy. When the shows were over he usually went home to his wife. She didn’t suspect anything. She thought she married Julius the busdriver. Little did she know that she was bound until death to the world’s greatest actor, the Gary Cooper of his generation. But Julius would see to it that she got the recognition she deserved. Her name would come after his on the credits. Oh, yes.

Flora Renardi, lead costume maintenance artist. Personal assistant to Mr. Julius Renardi. Location Scout. Catering. Nude scenes.

Julius admired her nude scenes. They were great works of art. Only then could Julius behold an acting talent worthy his own. The ‘Ooos’ and ‘Aaahs’ being delivered right on cue. Julius particularly admired her talent for improvisation.

While thinking about his wife Julius shifted out of reality. The sound of the bus’ windshield wipers faded with his heartbeat. He forgot all about the acting. His thoughts drifted out of reality and into a strange world. The drops of rain outside like the sound of gunshots in a valley. Echoing inside his head until there was total silence. His mind filled with white light. Julius could not feel his body. His limbs refused to listen to his commands and moved entirely on their own accord. His eyes rolled up and down, but saw nothing. There was just white light. Wherever he turned his head. White light. The everyday noise of weather, passengers and a growling diesel engine gone. Total silence. White light. No shadow. Then all of a sudden a dazzling show of colours were spinning around his head. Lines of pink, purple, yellow and green flowed past his ears . Circles of blue, cyan and indigo swept across the room like tiny furious tornadoes throwing all the other colours around. Julius laughed. What a show! Even though the colours mixed and crashed together in wonderful explosions they never turned grey or brown. They just mixed and became new colours Julius had never seen before. Then all of a sudden the ground broke open and a geyser of dominant bright red spurted through the room. All the other colours grew small in the presence of such an overwhelming tyrant, and gradually they all turned red, a sad boring red, usually found on uninspired chocolate boxes and old ladies’ hats. The geyser however still glowed brilliantly red, and not any kind of red, but the exact type of red you would see on a beautiful woman’s lips or a sweet girl’s blushing cheeks. Like an endless squirt of blood from the wound of a hunted dear. So pure, so innocent. So violently ventilated into this world. Julius looked down on his hands. Red. Red hands. His hands was covered in the red colour flowing from the geyser. The white room was slowly filling up with red. Julius stood with red to his knees, and he felt the warm waves of red brush against his knee caps, like the teasing fingers of a loving woman, venturing further up his leg with each wave. Julius slipped. His feet lost their footing and he recklessly fell into the red. His head went under and he could not get up. He was struck with the sudden angst of suffocation, and his lungs filled with the red liquid as he gasped for air. Though this was not real, Julius was unable to convince himself it wasn’t, and his head was beaten mercilessly with the increasing pain from the lack of oxygen. His lungs cramped and his body was shutting down, and he could not shake loose from the surreal nightmare his own head had created. What was happening to him?

Continued here in Part 2 ..

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Lachlan came silent in to this world. No belly button. No crazy doctor smacking him about to see if he would cry. No mother. No umbilical chord. Just a boy. A silent boy. Aliens? God? God knows. No. He just sort of appeared. Fully clothed and ready for the adventures of life. Those who met him didn’t care. To them he seemed like any other boy. What a fortune. He could’ve been drowned or strangled before he’d even opened his mouth to speak his first words. What did he say? Something strange? Something demonic? No, he was just hungry. So his first words came to be: ‘pistacia’. Which meant the same to him as pistachios does to me and you. And you would’ve probably said pistachios too if you sat next to him. Yes, even if you had already eaten. Because the sweet teasing smell of fresh pistachios was lingering in the noses of anyone nearby. Bringing water to their mouths and a low grumble to their stomachs. Lachlan licked the fingertip of his left index finger and raised it to the sky. The finger already tasted like pistachios. Salty. The wind was blowing from west. Lachlan started walking. The gusts of wind flowed through his hair like it flowed through the grass at his feet. Picking up small flies that had taken refuge in it and throwing them off course. Even the flies could smell the pistachios and it was driving them crazy. The bravest of them tried to outmanoeuvre the wind. Never to be seen or heard from again. Lachlan could almost hear the flies begging him to put them in his pocket.

‘Bzzz.. Please, Giant boy, shelter us from the wind. We will not bother you ever again, just give us a lift to that beautiful smell. We’re tired of shit, we want to go where you are going! Please! Bzzz’.

Lachlan laughed. The flies were silly. Silly flies. They could eat pistachios tomorrow. When he had shitten them out. That’s the only food flies deserved. If they were nice, they could’ve had pistachios. But flies back then, as now, was nasty annoying insects. Sometimes Lachlan thought that even shit was too good for them. And indeed. Sometimes it was.

The smell of pistachios in the air was getting stronger and he could almost hear the ripe nuts falling to the ground as they were ambushed by the wind. No one has picked as much fruit as the wind. A good worker that wind. Never ceasing to work. Never getting tired. And on hot days it inspires the other workers to keep at it. A good supervisor too that wind.

Lachlan reached the grove where the smell originated. What a sight. What a beautiful sight. Never mind the pistachios. Forget about the trees waving gently in the wind. Her hair. Blazing orange. Like a sudden burst of fire. So beautiful.  The curls on each side taking turns on caressing her sweet face in the wind. So carefree. To think that he, a simple boy, could witness such beauty on the first day of his mortal life. What divine providence. If he was not overcome by this sudden beauty Lachlan would’ve thought that this was a sign that his life would be a damn good one. Truly any man that would’ve let alone heard about such beauty would’ve considered his life a damn lucky one. But this did not occur to Lachlan. He was mesmerized.

Her name was Vienna, and she loved pistachios. She loved pistachios so much her thumb bled from opening too many. She loved pistachios so goddamn much she didn’t even notice. She loved pistachios so much she didn’t notice Lachlan neither. And her dress was dirty from kneeling on the ground. Lachlan picked up a pistachio and threw it at her. She looked up at the tree and smiled. She thought it was the tree. Damn that tree. Trees aren’t that romantic. They just throw pistachios at random. That smile was his. Not the tree. The tree didn’t even notice. It just kept throwing pistachios at the world. Stupid tree. Stupid girl. No. Not stupid. It was just a misunderstanding. She was probably smart. After all, who throws pistachios at girls? Mostly trees. She was smart. Governed by logic. So nice of her to be so. Not many girls are. Not many boys neither, but that did not occur to him as relevant at this time. So, she was beautiful and smart. Well, she was beautiful, the smart part was just an assumption. Lachlan grew afraid. Was he beautiful, was he smart? Not beautiful like her of course, but handsome. Was he handsome? Lachlan continued to think about this until a strange sensation occurred in the back of his head. What had happened? Had he thought so hard about it that his brain had cried out in pain? There it was again! An almost unnoticeable pinch. Like a two-second bee-sting. Something fell at his feet. A pistachio. He turned around and caught the girl throwing another pistachio at him, but it was too late. She had already thrown it. Where was it? Lachlan looked for it in the air, but did not notice it until it landed directly in his eye. Ouch! The struck eye filled with tears. Trying desperately to wash away the pain. Lachlan had never experienced pain before. Suddenly the world around him felt very dangerous and he laid down with his feet against his chest and cried with both his eyes.

‘Gosh, I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to hit you. I mean, I didn’t want to hurt you. I just wanted you to notice me. What’s your name, please don’t cry, little boy. I didn’t want to make you cry, little boy. It’s alright now. Tell me your name, little boy’, the girl said and kneeled down beside him.

‘My name is.. my name is.. it’s Lachlan, alright. And I’m no little boy. You just hit me in the eye and I thought I was going blind. So I cried. Because I didn’t want to get a dog or play the piano. Yeah, that’s why, little girl. So don’t call me a little boy. Just call me .. Lachlan, okey. Because that’s my name.’

‘Alright, Lachlan. Sorry about that. I didn’t mean too.. I didn’t want to, I wouldn’t, I mean.. I would never throw a pistachio to hurt you! I’m Vienna. But you can call me little girl if you want. I don’t mind. Because that’s what I am. A little girl.’

‘It’s alright. I told you. I just thought I was going blind, okay? It’s fine now. I can see everything nice and dandy. I can see the pistachios, the grove and the skies. Everything is good. I can even see your face, though the sun shines directly in my face when I do so. You’re alright, Vienna. Just don’t throw any more pistachios at me.’

‘Nah, don’t worry. I won’t do that. Not unless you tell me to. Like if your mouth is open and I got one ready to eat in my hand. Like this’, she said opening her mouth and throwing a pistachio in it. It was easy. Anyone could do it, but when she did it, it seemed like no one else could do it. Lachlan had already forgotten about the pain in the eye and the dangerous world surrounding him. He was laughing. Smiling. He watched her chew the pistachio. What a wonderful girl. So nice too. And well fed. One last tear streamed down the left side of his face. She lifted her finger and caught it. She stretched out her tongue and started wiggling her finger until the tear fell off and landed on her tongue with a tiny splash. ‘Mmm, just like pistachios. Don’t worry little boy. Your tears are nothing but liquid pistachios.’ What a strange thing to say. What a strange girl. What a bizarre diet. Lachlan ignored it and started to pick up pistachios and eat them. The girl followed suit. They spent the rest of the day picking pistachios. Eating them. Lachlan even threw some pistachios at her, and each time she giggled, louder every time. And when Vienna got thirsty she ran to a nearby stream, and Lachlan followed, sometimes when he wasn’t thirsty at all. Just to watch the water run down her neck and down into her dress. Then as evening came someone shouted her name and she had to go. Her hair glowing like a fire in the dark before vanishing completely. It was almost night, but no one shouted Lachlan’s name. So he laid down beside the small pistachio trees and slipped into slumber before the cold could keep him awake.