Prison. One cell, maybe twenty feet long and eight feet wide. Through the bars on the prison side I can see into a corridor; another door sits just past arms’ reach, and that door leads to a bunk room. I’m not sure why I’m in a smaller cell by myself. Yellow walls, similar to those of Beth’s Café when people could smoke inside, but cold rock. I lie on my bunk. Two feet above the bunk, parallel with my midsection, hairs, snaky and split-ended, snake their way out of a crack in the wall. Like misplaced armpit hairs.
A small sound like paper ripping from the hair hole, and foul brown liquid begins to drip down through and past the hairs. The hairs quiver. I abandon my bunk and the stains.
The bars are far apart, and I could reach out and touch the inmates shuffled in and out of the larger room if I wanted to, but I don’t take that chance. I don’t recall guards, only prisoners going in and out.
I don’t understand why I’m not getting a cellmate, a visit from the guards, or any food. Out the window of the other end of my cell, I see a swamp, swelled almost to eye level out the window. Barbed wire runs along a perimeter but the barbs are only two feet or so below the surface of the swamp.
The bars are far apart here, too. I think about wriggling through, making a break for it. But that’s through a foul swamp, under the wire, with no idea what to do beyond the swamp.
Better sit tight.
Still, I’m getting hungry…
In front of me sits a stage. But there’s nothing on the stage. I’m standing on a boat which is one of several boats moored together, bobbing back and forth. To my left is a tunnel with nothing in it. Over my shoulder is a tunnel, clogged with boats all the way out to open water.
I somehow have headphones and I’m listening to a live version of “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield. I can tell it’s live because it’s more ragged than the studio version, the guitar solo’s frantic and in the wrong place. A crowd cheers as the last notes settle. Still nothing on the stage. A radio announcer comes on the headphones and tell me the station I’m listening to.
I make my way along the line of boats, being careful not to stumble. I look back about halfway out of the tunnel and Rick Springfield is standing on a boat, or appearing to stand on a boat. He doesn’t seem to bob back and forth at all. He’s wearing a blazer and tight black jeans. He’s holding a cigarette in one hand, down near his waist, and grasping the wrist of that hand with his other hand. He reminds me of Spike in Cowboy Bebop.
I telepathically tell him I’m a big fan, and I hope he’s doing better these days. I’m mulling over whether to tell him that I hope he doesn’t start drinking again, and that his family is okay. I’m mulling over whether to tell him that “Hole In My Heart” is one of my favorite songs of his…