Understood that we have to take turns opening the door and walking down the narrow corridor, with its picnic bench and normal people walking to and fro. Understood, that something bad could easily spring from the underlying air of menace. Understood, that we eventually get teleported to somewhere else but not until we put in our “work.”
I find disguising myself a relief from the stress, so I pull on a plastic skull mask, with a dark curly wig, and big sunglasses over the skull orbits.
My turn. I walk among the menace.
Then we’re teleported. I’m talking to Brian Eno about this huge office space he’s bought that’s almost empty, saying he could load up empty space with supercomputers. He laughs and says he does indeed plan on stocking up supercomputers, that’s why he bought the space!
He asks me my name.
I tell him.
“Are you Irish?”
It occurs to me that I’m still wearing the wig, the shades, and the skull mask.
“Funny you know, you don’t look Irish.”
I take off the stuff and get ready to ask the most important Brian Eno question of all…
“What on earth made that odd gurgly-thick vibraphone sound at the beginning of ‘Burning Airlines Give You So Much More?'”
But just as I ask…yep, I wake up.
The book pages are thick and soft, like thin flour sacks. The writing on them looks like lipstick, and you press the lipstick characters to get the answers to your questions.
My fingerprints sit there, too, in red lipstick. I’m afraid to touch them.
Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale of Devo blow up yellow and blue anatomically obscene balloons, that swell to feet-long intimate organs. Then the two co-founders of the band start arguing. It grows so loud and violent that Jerry jettisons the rear of the vehicle and pushes Mark to one side. The little mini-car looks like nobody’s driving it, but we see Jerry crouched furtively over a secret wheel.
I’m talking to A., who got through college and teaches now. It’s the last day of school and I haven’t been at the school for weeks. I’ve forgotten my locker combination and I’m going to have to get a janitor to cut the lock.
A.’s book on teeth will be published in 2525, according to a note in this magazine I’m reading. I think about leaving school early, but I want to hear the very last bell I will ever hear, in the school system.
I start to tell A. that I never told her I was sorry, and I want to tell her, wanted to tell her for decades, that I’m sorry.
But then I wake up.
Night. A few streetlights, a few passing headlights. A transparent man walks between lights, lit up vividly, if briefly, by each car.
I feel the presence of A. very strongly even though I can’t see her. Through the transparent man.
Just before the end of this one–one of the ones where everything’s moving too fast, all the time–Jeremy’s transparent cubicle top pops off. He’s dressed like a test pilot, no helmet though. He stretches backwards, head upside-down, to confront me. He’s angry I gave him a bad grade. I want to say I’m sorry I gave him a bad grade. In real life he’s lost to me a long time. May well be dead.
I want to tell him sorry. I wish so many things weren’t.
I’m holding out my important medical card over the edge of the University Bridge, and it slips through my fingers–just a little bit. I gasp to conceive that it could fall to the water and I wonder why the hell I’m doing this.
M. and her sister C. live together in a huge mansion. I’m still attracted to them both, so I’m still a little scared of them both. A limousine slides by with a horn. We all pay attention.