"I've been keeping a dream journal, dude."
"did you bring it along?"
"hand it over."
(shane hands it over. I flip thru the small notebook and discover that it is about three-quarters filled. each entry is dated and titled, and the average length is three pages.)
"so what happened last night?"
"there was a big meeting, apparently."
"like a party?"
"I don't know...no, I think it was more of a gathering."
"how many people approximately?"
"I don't know- I arrived just as the last ones were leaving."
"this was in the middle of the night, you were sayin'?"
"yeah, around 2:30 or so."
"was there any concrete evidence that a large gathering had occurred?"
"lots of card tables and folding chairs...lots of empty wine bottles and wine glasses sitting around...some leftover finger food."
"how many empty bottles, approximately?"
"around thirty, I'd say."
"wow- sounds like your kind of crowd!"
"I agree, keng- it's a shame that I missed it."
"yeah- what made you so late?"
"take a guess."
"you were with nathalie."
"you were sleeping."
"close, but guess again."
"you were in the throes of a panic attack."
"way, way off, keng- I was writing in this journal."
(I look down at the dream journal still clutched in my hands.)
"so what- you woke up in the middle of the night and started writing?"
"no no no- it was two nights ago that I had the real intense dream. don't you remember?"
"so anyways, I wrote in the dream journal all of yesterday, pausing only around 4 pm for an energy shake."
"and then you went right back to it?"
"that's right- and didn't wrap it up until about 2 in the morning. last night, that is. by the time I got to cynthia's it was 2:30 and the last people were leaving."
"so have you had any sleep since then?"
"oh sure- I hung out with cynthia for about half an hour and then went home and crashed and just got up about an hour ago."
"why are you already intoxicated?"
"I had a little pick-me-up on my way out the door."
"yeah, me too."
"dude, we gotta lay off all this caffeine, ya know? it can't be good for our hearts."
"good luck with that...so anyways, do you mind if I take a little time for a closer look at this marathon entry?"
"be my guest."
"you wanna give me a quick overview, in your own words, before I start reading?"
"ok, then. see ya later."
"I'll be right here if you need me."
"I won't, but thanks anyway."
(I commence reading. it was an intense dream indeed. shane's way of describing it was also intense. I looked up at him periodically to see if he was still just sitting there staring at me. he was. the expression on his face was ambiguous. I suppose mine was also. I read the marathon entry 2 times from beginning to end, and then went back for a closer look at what I sensed were the critical passages. after about 45 minutes, I handed the journal back to him.)
"so you really think industrial civilization is going to be boxed up and stored away for that long?"
"I do, keng."
"what about the part where the planning committee locks you down in the cellar?"
"what about it?"
"was that scary?"
"well...I still had everything I basically needed: food, water, blankets, computer, a small fur-covered animal."
"you mean a cat?"
"you weren't the slightest bit worried?"
"well, I don't know if I'd go that far."
"where did the clowns end up that night?"
"they all went back to the rehearsal space."
"they must be getting close to a performance."
"yeah, they have a few scheduled in april."
"chicago, mainly. a few in decatur and champaign-urbana."
"the usual venues?"
"you gonna try to take in a show?"
"oh, most definitely. nathalie wants to go to all of them."
"will her schedule permit that?"
"she's figuring that out as we speak."
"are we speaking?"
"we are, keng."
"this isn't part of your dream?"
"dude- (indicating his notebook) this is my dream journal. we're sitting in the old school saloon. we're drinking coffee and eating peanut butter and jellies and apples.
"this isn't all just a part of your dream?"
"dude- call me up on my cell phone!"
"what would that prove?"
"cell phones never work very well in the dream world."
"the signal gets interrupted?"
"that's one way of putting it- look, just call me!"
(I pull out my phone and dial shane's number. it starts to ring on my end, but no sound on shane's end.)
"is your phone even turned on?"
(he pulls it out and shows me. it is on, the ringer is on, but there is no indication of an incoming call. I get shane's voicemail and leave a brief, cryptic message.)
"where are you? how are you? who are you? why are you?"
"still trying to hammer that out, keng."
"is keeping the dream journal making things any clearer?"
"the opposite, probably."
"and yet... .... here we are at the old school."
"it appears that way, keng."
"yeah, I suppose that it does, shane."
"look, I've gotta get going- supposed to meet nathalie down at the pier at six."
(glancing at the clock)
"no way you're gonna make it on time."
"that's exactly why I've gotta get going- see ya around- thanks for reading."
"my pleasure, shane."