I was driving in rural northern California or southern Oregon with my mother and my aunt Shelley. We arrived at a gas station/restaurant/bar/general store/music hall sort of place, along a lonely two-lane highway, surrounded by nothing, with a covered wooden walk along the front of it. I think it was owned by my mom's cousin. We went in and looked at the music hall, and then went into the restaurant to eat. We were eating in a greenhouse, though it wasn't warm and didn't have plants in it. We sat at a nice green cast-iron table. The menu had not a listing of foods, but pictures of sculptures and paintings, each marked with a number. You ordered by number. I ordered a small cement sculpture of a cherub and a reddish impressionist painting of flowers. The sculpture's number was 57.

Kelly and i were in Uptown Minneapolis, except it was in Africa. What being in Africa meant was that the town was surrounded by large, gently sloping, grassy mountains, and that there were floating red lights in the sky. These floating red lights were either radio towers or insects, i'm not sure which. We walked to a café to meet up with her friend Yoni from Portland and a friend of his. The café had a warm peach-brownish color scheme, and high tables with stools. Yoni and his friend were in the back, near a bar, around one of the tables. We went and talked with them, but we weren't there long. We didn't have any coffee.

We left the café and walked around Uptown. It was nighttime, and it was pretty. We went and sat on a bench in a field; behind us was a small shed with white walls. We sat there for a while, then saw a capybara out in the field. Well, we called it a capybara, but it had white fur, and it was larger than a pig, and it was in Minneapolis in Africa. Soon, a lion started chasing it. We laughed to see such sport. Another lion came and helped chase. The capybara tried to jump over the fence, but got stuck on top. The lions bit it and killed it, then they ate it.

Kelly and i started to get scared, because we realized that the lions were in the same yard that we were, and if they were going to be running around chasing and killing and eating capybaras, why wouldn't they chase and kill and eat us? We were about to run out of the yard, back down a gravel path to the street, but then one of the lions started walking our way. Kelly was still sitting on the bench, but i was standing by the whitewashed shed. We were paralyzed with fear. The lion—

These lions were not like normal lions. They were all white, and they were huge. Their heads were about a meter in diameter, and they had flat faces surrounded by white puffy fur.

—the lion walked up real close to me. It stared at me and growled. It looked perturbed. It shoved me into the shed with the corner of its face, but then it walked off in a huff. As soon as it was within a safe distance, Kelly and i ran down the path back to the street. We saw that a very large gate had been left open, and we closed it. Still, given that the lions had jumped up and killed the capybara on the fence, we didn't trust the fence to keep us safe. We walked back to the café in Uptown (in Africa).

Kelly and i were rather disturbed by the lion incident, and commented to each other, "People shouldn't be allowed to keep lions in Uptown. It's just not safe!"

I was standing on a hill. Not you normal hill of course, oh no, this one was bright orange.

I looked down at the harbour below, the water was black and there were many cheap cargo ships. I could see lots of tiny white specks in the water.
I ran down the hill, I got down to the flat surface very quickly, even if it was a huge hill. I felt like going to the park. I was, of course, suddenly there. It was raining, raining reaaaalll hard. But I was still having a good time playing on the swings.

I turned around. Strange, nobody else was there.
I turned around again, and saw a huge swarm of skeletons come at me with machine guns. I screamed and ran. There were gun shots all around me, bullets hitting trees.
I fell over. I lay on the ground. I stood up, and wasn't at the park any more. I was in some sort of abstract painting. A bird flew into my head.

I woke up.

I am walking down a street that I somehow know is on South Side of Chicago, but I can't recognize it.

I am walking, suddenly I notice that two of the black-helmeted stormtroopers from Spaceballs are following me. I pass by this movie store that has lots of old movie posters for sale. There are posters for real movies like Blade Runner and Star Wars, but I have never seen these posters before. I evade the stormtroopers, but then a man in a brown trenchcoat follows me. A girl passes by me on the street and I reach out and kiss her. This somehow slows down the trenchoat and helps me lose him.

I keep walking and the girl runs up and introduces herself. She asks me where I live and I say not around here but my grandparents do. She asks me what the address is and I say I don’t know but she can come with me and we can see. We start to walk together and begin talking. Soon we are passing through an open-air fruit market. As I turn to look at her, I see her stealing all the fruit. I ask her what she is doing.

I suddenly wake up.

ASTROLABE

Granny turned a golden astrolabe slowly in front of her face, her eyes calm and curious. I wasn't sure what she was looking for, but her eyes seemed fixated on a point deep beneath the metal. I was reminded of a fortune teller, and the astrolabe became a small crystal sphere, full of light and tiny, tiny stars, which could be used to examine the heavens and predict the weather. Aunty G came into the room with her arms full, and sat down in front of Granny, letting everything spill out on the floor between them.

The light from the curtains was brighter now. It was the middle of the afternoon, a time when their house was always full of the deepest peace - a peace which came from years of order and quiet, with no unexpected noise, no dust in the crevices.

They were looking at a map of the heavens that was criscrossed with lunar and stellar transits and arcane astrological symbols. Aunty G and grandmother started to place small blue buttons on the map, looking closely at them first, and chatting softly. Occasionally they would turn to me and say something about the past or the future, which I was having increasing difficulty in following. I wondered where my girlfriend was.

The light in the room seemed to be growing, reflected and contained in the deep glass of the astrolabe. It grew brighter and brighter until there was nothing to be seen anywhere but light, almost making a sound, like planets drowning, and I passed out of that dream into another.

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