A Dangerous Game

The night before last, I had this dream that was absolutely horrific.  Stay with me if you can.  This is a little long.

The dream was like a video game. It started out with me receiving instructions from someone. They said that I’d have a delivery in the mail. It was a very precious item that many people would be after me for. Namely a woman. I don’t remember her name.

Next thing I knew, I was either in a large apartment complex or a bad motel. I’m not sure. I’m thinking bad motel, because I don’t recall seeing any of my belongings there. It was a tiny place where the living room and the kitchen shared the same open space. Everything was drab and kind of nondescript. There was an antique style armchair – dark wood and burgundy velour fabric. That was about all that could fit into that tiny room. Right across from the door was a huge, open closet, with only a lone hanger on the rack. It looked extremely lived in. The TV was one of those old style TV’s that had a wire clothes hanger for an antenna. (Those don’t even function as televisions anymore). That was against the wall between the two doors.

I was standing there, peeking out of the glass side door that led to a huge wooden patio that was completely enclosed. It was an entire floor up, and the stairs leading down were precariously steep. Beyond that, all I could see were trees, mostly palm trees. In the very far distance, I saw what might have been a coast line, but it was misty. I couldn’t really see a whole lot.

Then, the doorbell rang. I let the heavy drape, maybe yellowish with green palm trees embroidered into them. It was dark in the room, and the room didn’t have any other windows but the big, glass, sliding door. I carefully edged my way to the front door and asked who it was. He said it was the delivery man. I told him that I didn’t want the package, but he insisted. There was no return address. I unlatched the chain on the door, unbolted it, and opened it. I saw outside to notice that the motel was in an L shape, with the black iron railings and only two exits to the parking lot that existed within the L, one on each end. He wheeled in a huge box, and practically vanished.

A huge box, great. Now everyone in the area has seen it. But that was probably the point. I opened the box to find it filled with peanuts. Tons and tons of white packing peanuts. I dumped the box out, realizing that the dolly was a ruse. Even the delivery guy was in on it. At the bottom, I find some kind of metal item. It was symbolic of something, but I can’t quite remember what it looked like. Maybe a metallic cross. It looked old and worn. It was larger than my palm, but not too large to carry in a fist. I clenched it in my fist, and headed for the patio.

I practically jumped down the stairs. I knew that someone set me up, and that they probably watched the whole thing go down. I hit the cement, and I began running through the trees.

I knew there was someone on my tail. I came out of the trees and onto a beach. I turned around, and I saw her in the distance. She had jet black, shiny hair, and dark eye makeup. She wore all black and had two thugs with her that were looking for me. I went into a crowd of beach goers. They were all just kind of laying there, soaking up the sun, despite the mist that surrounded the coast line area. Nobody seemed to mind me running through the area, kicking up sand. I was hoping to get to the mist before she noticed me. Or else, she wouldn’t be foolish enough to shoot into a crowd.

I’m going to guess what came next was a warning shot. I wasn’t hit, but it was a single fire from a handgun. I kept running for the mist. And now, she was hot on my tail. Her thugs stayed behind, probably to guard any area that I could use to get out. I ran, and my legs turned to jello and my body was heavy. My lungs ached with every gasp. She continued to fire at me with the pistol. I got into the mist and ran down the shore. I still couldn’t see the water because the fog was so dense.

I came to a grassy area and darted out of the mist and toward a parking lot. It was close to the shore. Not close enough, because she managed to graze me with a bullet. She had to have been running out by then. I busted in the window of a car door with my elbow (impossibility), got in, cranked it up, and sped off (complete impossibility).

I drove to the local grocery store to talk to Jay. (I don’t know why). I knew that he’d figure it out. But this store didn’t exist in my hometown. It was in this beach town, probably somewhere in Florida. Palm trees grew wild. But it was misty like northern beaches. I don’t know. I ran into the store, and I was convinced that she wouldn’t follow me in. There were security cameras and people everywhere.

Inside, the grocery store was identical to the one here. I stood by the bakery and talked to Jay. I showed him the relic, and he was clueless. He had no idea what I should have been doing, or what I could do to hide or get away. He did tell me one thing. This was a video game. If it was similar to Grand Theft Auto, then I wouldn’t die. I’d wake up at the local hospital or in my own bed at home, whichever was closer.

That was when I saw her and her thugs down the aisle. She lifted a rocket launcher. I stood there, wide-eyed, as Jay calmly stood is ground. She fired and I squeezed my eyes shut.

I woke up in the armchair back at the motel. Now, my family was there. I was so happy to see T.D. I had no idea what happened, but I was glad that it was over. Until someone called on the phone. I answered my Blackberry and it was the same man who gave me the instructions in the first scenario. Great, here we go again.

“We don’t have much time. You will find a package that contains a group of items. Try not to be suspicious, but hide them. And do everything you can to keep her from finding them.”

Her? The black-haired woman?

The doorbell rang. C.S. and my dad already seemed to have known. They coaxed T.D. outside with the box and instructed me to answer the door to distract her.

I opened the door, and it wasn’t the black-haired woman at all. It was a dark blonde woman. She was about my height (short), and much more stout than I am. She acted as if I was supposed to know her and invited herself in. She disregarded me entirely and surveyed the scene. T.D., C.S., and Dad were all back inside now, wrestling around as if that was what they were doing the whole time.

“Lovely,” she grumbled. “I shall require you to make accommodations.”

“Of course,” I answered, pretending that I had a clue as to what was going on. I pointed to the one bedroom door in the very back. She huffed her way down there.

I ran out of the door, and suddenly, the outside changed. It wasn’t outside anymore. I was in an upscale hotel. I ran down the hall, trying to find something I could use to distract her. I saw a spa, and ran in to make her an appointment. Through the mist, I saw her lying on a table, wrapped in white towels, with the whole spa get-up. She had the green mask on her face, and cucumbers on her eyes. She lifted a cucumber for just a second to see me and she said snootily, “Oh, I’ve already taken care of it. Don’t worry about lifting a precious finger.”

This was my opportunity. I knew I needed to hide the contents somewhere else. I jumped down the patio stairs again, and found several freshly dug patches of dirt. I used my hands to sift through it. It wasn’t really packed down. I uncovered these shining relics. One was a silver ornate, ceremonial knife, and the other was gold. One looked like a small scepter with a ball of onyx in the center. There were other tarnished gold relics buried with them that I couldn’t describe. Maybe crosses or other religious symbols? They were ornate, but encrusted with gunk.

I heard her voice in the distance and attempted to bury them even deeper. They were in too shallow of a hole, but I didn’t have a shovel. I clawed at the dirt with my hands, threw everything in the hole, and tried to cover it back up. There wasn’t enough dirt. It was still too shallow. And I started to panic.

End Dream.

I didn’t have enough time to sit down and do a dream analysis on it.  That’s what I’m working out right now, because after the chain of events yesterday, I need some answers.

Unfair Game – Part One

The time stamps don’t lie. I watched the time race by in the bottom right-hand corner of the grey bar on my monitor. 10:39PM: “C.S., are you awake?” No answer.

My intention? To reconcile my email and produce an update. My email has been hovering at around 45 unread. My posts have become sporadic on Pendulum. I do have an audience, whether I want to acknowledge it while writing my posts or not.

Note: I do not acknowledge my audience, because I am continuing with the original premise of a monologue. This is purely in the sense that I am not writing to an audience, but more performing for an audience.

One thing led to another. The devil is in the details. I glanced at the little clock: 1:06AM. At that rate, I would’ve only gotten seven hours of sleep. I bargained with myself. I could probably extend that out another half an hour.

1:42AM: I’ll be done in a couple of minutes and I could muster six and a half hours. I can be okay on that little sleep. I’ll make it up.

2:17AM: I’m right in the middle of something (different)! I’ll cut this short and go straight to bed.

2:50AM: Finally done. Wait! No! I still have to post on Pendulum!

3:16AM: Done. For real this time.

3:23AM, as I lay my head on the pillow: I’ll sleep in for however long my body tells me I need.

Less than five hours later, the alarm on my Blackberry went off. The universe is funny in the way that if I needed to get up, it would have been a struggle. The touchpad on my Blackberry was frozen. It only allowed me to snooze it for 5 minutes. After a drowsy battle, I managed to turn it off.

8:31AM: I am gently awoken with Breathe Me by Sia. C.S. was blasting it, anxiously asking himself, and likely me, where his belt had gone off to this time. The eternal struggle.

Losing sleep is dangerous business. I rarely wake up in a haze and spend my day in that condition. This is where external factors are counted the most. An uneventful day could mean I’d likely lose steam in the early evening with a geriatric bedtime. An action-packed, stressful day that ends with me conquering something, could pave the way for euphoric hypomania. An emotionally charged day could beckon dysphoric hypomania.

A dangerous game, indeed. Any which way, the stack of cards is eventually going to clobber me.

It was business as usual at the Sunshine Estate. C.S. left in the van-buggy, the house was a frosty 65, and T.D. and I were enjoying our Cinnamon Toast Crunch, with the company of Spongebob. Today was the first day in awhile that I actually witnessed the mailman deliver. So, I was prompted to retrieve it. Besides, we were still waiting on yet another continuance for the lawsuit.

That’s exactly what was amongst Tuesday Trash Mail Day. Our lawyer already informed us that the plaintiff retained council. Hence, the continuance. What I saw was un-effing-believable.

“This is an official notification from the district magisterial court. This document notifies the party of an official continuance of the hearing from said date to the new date.”

Okay, okay, I knew that. And at the very bottom of the tri-folded paper it read, “This was granted at the request of (insert name here) Esq.”

The passenger of the other party’s vehicle and the lawyer have the same last name!!!

This is where it gets hairy. We are uncertain of the nature of the relationship between the owner of the vehicle (the plaintiff), the driver, and her passenger. Mind you, the occupants of the vehicle are nowhere on these court documents. The only place that they exist is in the police report, and a vague threat of personal injury suit.

The passenger and I attended the same high school, and I recognized him at the scene. We weren’t well acquainted – he was a sports player and I was a musician. Those social circles don’t provide a wealth of opportunity to cross paths. Nor would I have wanted to. He wasn’t a terrible guy. I had a reputation to keep.

I immediately discarded my breakfast and ran to my computer. It was time to do some investigative work. It was too unlikely to be coincidence – it’s not like the surname was Smith or Johnson.

I’m handy with a computer. I’m one of those people I fear. With a first name, surname, and a city, I can find out a lot about a person. I made the connection pretty easily. I found both a positive address match from census information and a genealogy match. They are father and son.

It gets worse. The plaintiff’s lawyer is also a commissioner in my municipality. FML!

Isn’t there some kind of law against this?!

Tarnished and Golden Friday

Lulu Quirk #5 – extreme claustrophobia. Large crowds in tight spaces are the easiest way to set off a panic attack capable of anything. Black Friday might be the scariest day of the year. Every year, I reserve this day for hunkering down in the bunker and waiting it out, like people wait out a snow storm.

The Suit Strikes Again
The bad news started early that day. C.S. spoke with our lawyer. The plaintiff lawyered up, and now, the driver of the vehicle is claiming personal injury. (The owner and the driver are not the same person).

What bull! When I arrived on the scene, C.S. was sitting on the curb with and unfocused stare. His glasses had been lost, and no one even bothered to attempt to locate them! One leg was extended and swollen with bruising. It was clear he was hurt, and yet they let him just sit on the ground.

And she’s claiming personal injury!? Complete lies. When I arrived, she and her male friend (still not the owner) were jumping up and down in the attempt to get the convertible roof down. I saw her up close. There wasn’t a scratch on her. This lawsuit has become a circus.

I am not at liberty to discuss the next course of action. But, it wasn’t the most fabulous news of the morning.

Karmatic Vindication
The day was completely redeemed. Yeah, like all humans, especially women, I am petty. I don’t hold active grudges because that takes more effort than I have to give. But I will never forget someone who mistreated me. That includes all of the catty girls who treated me like I was some kind of outcast trash.

I was bullied and picked on. I was overweight. I wore glasses. I lived in a poor, completely dysfunctional family, in a bad neighborhood. My fashion was gothic, standard funeral dress to celebrate every miserable day of my teenage existence.

Eventually, I rebelled against social norms by challenging them at every turn. I started an extremely popular clique called, “The Anti-Clique”. I was an inspiration to all of the wonderful kids who were cast out. Kids with quirks, nerds, geeks, creeps, weirdos, goths, etc. Most everyone was welcome, with few exceptions. Some people were just beyond help. Eventually, I became a household name. I was practically a cult leader.

I was also particularly smart and incredibly talented. I was an honor student who was Chorus vice president and president. I was accepted into the very exclusive Select Chorus by audition. I was section leader in both classes and section leader in band. And I was also accepted into the extremely exclusive music technology pilot program.

I may as well have had a target on my back. Being in the public spotlight with massive support to mock conformity put me in a prime position for attack.

I have mostly forgotten all about it. When it comes up, it’s all rehashed, but with a certain amount of emotional detachment. I don’t really care about what happened. It gave me the drive to become the beautiful, vibrant, educated, and fulfilled woman I am today.

We had a late night. When C.S. and I were dating, we used go to restaurants for half-priced appetizers all of the time. We went to a local restaurant that is rarely ever crowded. When we arrived, we stood at the hostess table for quite awhile. I was becoming irritated. The only thing worse than bad service is inedible food.

But, when our hostess greeted us, I knew exactly why we had an extended wait. I immediately recognized her and I knew that she had seen me from afar. Likely, she ran around begging others to cover for her and came up empty.

Macy was one of those girls. This girl had been a snobby bitch since Kindergarten. We had neighborhood schools, all except for mine. And we were shipped to an adjacent community school. We were outsiders. No matter how nice I treated this girl, she always turned her nose up at me. Her mother even treated mine like dirt. Her mother was the PTA President.

We spent three years in Select Chorus in opposite sections. She was soprano and I was alto. We sat directly across the semi-circle from one another. She was nothing. Not a section leader, and never picked for solos or competitions. But, she’d stare at me with a permanent snarl on her face with her nose propped in the air.

There Macy stood, as a hostess / waitress at a local restaurant with an ass that she could rent as a billboard, and the color of an Oompa Loompa! She was so clearly embarrassed that she couldn’t even make eye contact with me! And once we were seated, she mumbled something about our waiter, and made a beeline for the kitchen!

Ha! Karma’s a bitch! and you could tell she was getting it three fold. I’m hardly arrogant. But I knew what it looked like on the outside. I’m in stylish clothes, thinner than in high school, with lovely skin and brilliant blonde hair. C.S. is gorgeous. (I can say that with confidence because he bears a strong resemblance to Robert Pattinson, or Edward Cullen from Twilight). And T.D. is beyond cute. And overall, we are a pretty happy family that appears as if we have money.

I texted a high school friend who texted me earlier in the week to ask if she was being catty over her pleasure in watching all of these other girls become wide and miserable. “Absolutely not!”, I answered, “You didn’t do it. They’re paying for all that they’ve done.” I had to dial this back to her and she laughed. I don’t usually bathe in other people’s misery, but in certain cases, I can’t resist. She assured me it was totally justified.

A little after midnight, I receieved a call from my friend. Excitedly, she asked, “Did you see Macy’s recent status?”

“No, we’re not FB friends. She’s private. What did she say?”

“Apparently, you must have given her a serious blow to her self esteem! Status: Goals for December: 1.) Get in shape, 2.) Get a second job, 3.) Be happier in life.”

And the smug laughter ensued.

I didn’t have to say a word. I didn’t even have to make eye contact. All I had to do was be myself.

Revenge is like a fine wine. It gets better when aged.