What follows is based on some snippets and fragments of a dream I had the other day interspersed with what I hope is some creativity. All this while basking away in the throes of a fever. It seemed so life like and real that I could almost reach out and touch it.
The sheets, always so cool and so dry were now damp with his own sweat. He could almost smell the sickness that permeated throughout the room. It seemed to have somehow embedded itself into the paint that covered the walls and with each breath that he took, it seemed to manifest itself even stronger. Every raspy gasp that he took reminded him of its presence. Whatever strength that he felt was slowly oozing out of him and each time he tried to toss and turn to find that elusive comfortable spot on the couch seemed like an exercise in futility.
How long had he lain there like that? When was the last time he had eaten or gotten up to use the toilet? The urge to do either of those things seemed somehow forgotten or lost, like a distant memory on a distant playground lying barely beneath the surface, waiting to be awakened and brought back to life. For all he knew, it might have been a week or two. In more likelihood, it was more like only a couple of days.
He remembers little of the hours that passed. Time, once so measured and so calculated now seemed like nothing more than a myth. It mocked him as the dull tick tock of the second hand on the clock pounded away at his fevered brain. He thought to himself, “Is this it? Is this the end that I’ve been waiting for for so long because if it is, it’s ignoble at best.”
In the back of his mind he begins to hear the music, softly at first but then it begins building, building into a crescendo and he tries to recognize the tune.
De De DeDeDe …De De DeDeDe
And then the words, those familiar words, begin to come…
Start spreading the news,
I’m leaving today.
His eyes snap open and he recognizes the familiar soothing voice of Old Blue Eyes himself crooning to him. They search the room, looking for the source and across the way seated in a barcalounger, a scotch in one hand, and a cigarette in the other, sits the man himself.
Oh, this was not the younger version that broke many a heart along the way and had the girls calling out his name. No, this version was entirely different. It was short, maybe three feet tall at best but dressed in the signature tuxedo and hat. A white handkerchief was tucked neatly into his breast pocket. It was somehow familiar but all too unfamiliar at the same time. The face, while recognizable, was disfigured and covered with unsightly hair. The ears were enlarged and stood out at awkward angles and looked as if they could take on a life of their own. The legs, swaying gently to the music, were morbidly skinny as if a stick figure had come to life but the voice, the voice itself was pure and authentic.
He lays there staring at the figure seated in the barcalounger and thinks to himself “Is this the voice of God? Can it be that this disfigured perverted Muppet like version of Sinatra is calling him off to lands unknown?”
The little figure recognizes the state of confusion and says “Whatsamatta, you don’t like the song?”
He lays there on the couch, still staring at what he hopes is nothing more than a mere apparition. In an effort to clear the cobwebs, he shakes his head back and forth but the Muppet Sinatra sits there all cool like, snapping his fingers and tapping his foot. He takes a deep drag of his cigarette and the smoke that blows from his mouth seems to contain the secrets to the universe.
In his Jersey accent, the little Frank says ”I could do another ya know, try this one on for size.”
He nods his head, and starts to say something but finds he is too afraid to disturb or contradict this little boss of bosses.
And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain.
The tears begin welling up in his eyes for this was what he thought was going to be his final moments among the living and that death has finally come knocking. He thinks to himself that at least he’s going out to music and he closes his eyes and a feeling of peace both surrounds and envelopes him.
He wakes to find himself surrounded by wadded up tissues and empty bottles of medicine. Any evidence save for the memory of what went on remain tucked away deep in the recesses of his brain, they have disappeared like a thief in the night.
Days turn into weeks and slowly but surely he regains his strength. Any memory of his sickness is long gone and life gradually returns to normal. He won’t mention his face to face meeting with his friends for fear of being laughed at and made the fool. They are not those types of friends.
He goes home to his house, eager to put on music and go about his daily chores. His eyes scan the CD’s all alphabetized and orderly and they dart towards the S’s.
He notices the gap between Santana and Sting that was never there before and sits back and wonders.
Who knows how long the dead keep on dreaming?