The dream began with someone from work wanting me to help move some insulation from the attic of a building. It was a perfectly cubic building, made of cinder blocks and it was painted white, but faded. The tin roof was slightly rusted and we were debating on whether or not to try to remove the insulation by taking the roof off or if it would be easier to handle it down the stairs. It was very hot and I didn’t want to handle it at all, but I felt obligated to do it. The building was new to me, I had never been there, but it seemed as if I was supposed to know it.
I woke up to the sound of rain. I at first thought it was a broken pipe and that dismayed me but I soon realized it was rain, and let the sound ease me back into sleep. Lucas got up, snuffled my face, and then turned a circle or two before plopping down. Sam joined us and I was surrounded by dogs as I faded back into the dream world. I could feel the two beside me as I slipped into another reality.
I was in a convenience store in a mall, but the store was one I remember working in back in the mid-eighties. The store is still there but I haven’t been in it in ages, yet there I was in the store, but I was away from the counter and I looked at the clock. I had another twenty minutes before I was supposed to start my shift and suddenly my paternal grandmother was there. She worked there too and she asked me about the price of some product and I had no idea what it was. She and I looked for prices and couldn’t find any on any of the products in the store.
A man came in with a stack of yellow coupons for a carton of cigarettes. They were about three inches by four inches in their dimension, and they were very sticky. They stuck to my fingers as I looked at them and I asked the man how long he had been saving them and he told me since the day before. They were for Carlton cigarettes, which is odd because I do not know of anyone who smokes that brand. The man told me he always got his cigarettes with these coupons and he smoked a carton a day. A pack a day, I corrected him, but no, he said a carton a day, which is ten packs. But I couldn’t find any sort of price for the cigarettes. I wasn’t truly upset about the fact I couldn’t find the prices, but I was more than a little concerned about working in the convenience store. I couldn’t figure out how I got there, and my grandmother was then gone, and I remembered her dying, and thought it odd she was working there.
Customers kept coming in to buy things but I couldn’t sell anything because I didn’t know the prices. It was an odd feeling telling people that but I wasn’t worried or upset. The customers didn’t seem to care either. Oh, no coffee because you don’t know the price, okay then. It was odd because one moment I would be behind the counter and the next I would be in a back store room looking around. There seemed to be some sort of M.C. Escher type environment where I would walk out of the storeroom and into the storeroom or over to the counter and away from the counter. A very young and very pretty black woman came up to me wearing the same store uniform as I was wearing and she apologized for being late and asked me not to tell anyone. She was not just black as in African American, but black as in black as night. Her skin was that rich black color found in a freshly roasted coffee beans and it made the gold in her earrings stand out. I asked her about her earrings and she had three or four ear piercings and we talked about those while customers were coming in, and the black woman didn’t know the prices either. She asked me to go outside to see if I could find the manager, but when I went outside the world had changed.
The store wasn’t in the mall anymore, but on the corner of Patterson Street and Force Street in Valdosta where it has always been. There were many people walking around, all of them seemingly headed in different directions but they also seemed as if they were going somewhere in particular. The people were friendly to me, and spoke to me as they passed, and I feel a great deal of kinship with them. A pick-up truck passed going east on Force Street and the men in the back of the truck, there was a half dozen at least, yelled to me, “Hey Mike! Mike! Hey Mike!” and they waved to me. I walked a very short distance to the east, to watch the truck go out of sight, and a man stopped and shook hands with me, and told me it was nice to see me again.
Then a man attacked me. He came at me out of nowhere and he tried to cut my throat with a knife. This didn’t scare me at all. I felt no fear of him, and I pushed him away. The man went flying through the air, and when he landed he dropped the knife which I saw to be one of those tiny knives a person might get out of a gumball machine. It had a silver metal blade but a blue plastic handle. The whole thing wasn’t over two inches long. But the man charged me again, and this time I caught him, and took the knife away from him. He yelled at me for flirting with the black woman, and I had the feeling they were not involved, but he wanted her. He struggled against me but I started to see if I could cut him with the knife but I woke up to the alarm clock’s tone.