The Dreaming.

I'm running with N. across an unknown university campus. The mob does not specifically pursue us, but if they catch us, the results may not be good. They dress as clowns and revelers. Their Fool-King dresses like a parody of a High Church bishop. They bear him on a sedan chair. They love to celebrate, but specifically hate, for some reason, Christmas. Maybe they're the ones about whom Bill O'Reilly and perturbed Christians everywhere have been complaining.

They take possession of the varsity stadium and throw a bacchanalia. Then terrorists attack.

I shouldn't kid. I feel genuine terror. A madman, or at least a very angry one, hijacks a plane and sends it downward into the stadium. Then the scene replays, only someone else is behind the attack, and they send it into a hospital. The third time, it's al-Qaeda, all right, and they plummet the plane into, specifically, a Jewish hospital.

But I'm in my twenties again, and lonely. Music from another era plays. I look through Facebook, but it's a retro-version that never existed, a literal book you sign out from the library. I turn the pages and read profiles in printed text. I pass several beautiful people of both sexes before one catches my eye. She's not conventionally beautiful (A little heavy. Geek girl glasses. Eighties hair), the woman who stares with longing from the page. I want, in the past era, to love her.

Before I reconcile my feelings with the life I have, in fact, led since then, I'm working for unknown agencies, leading several original members of The Wailers and other aging reggae stars through a supermarket to the stage where they will perform.

We a check de price in aisle three, man.

A couple summers ago I worked as a temp at the phone company. The job was boring and kind of sucked, my supervisor was an insufferable bitch, and since it involved hours of calling customers it was certainly a poor setup for someone with a debilitating phone phobia. There was also a sad lack of attractive help of the female persuasion (Side note: I HATE the term "help" used to describe employees. In this instance I use it ironically.) However, what was lacking in quantity was more than made up for in quality.

One of the most attractive girls worked in my department. Her name was Laura, and I wouldn't say I officially had a crush on her but I did find myself staring at her a little too long more than once. Laura was maybe 5 feet tall. 5'2" in heels, which she wore often. And she wore the HELL out of them. She was addicted to dyeing her hair and her eyes were shockingly blue. She also had one of the sexiest voices I'd ever heard come out of a woman, and that's one of my favourite features about a woman. Husky, dark, and deep in a way that was still decidedly feminine. A woman who wouldn't turn down another whiskey shot. She chain-smoked on her breaks. While the demand of our department dictated that we not take breaks at the same time I would sometimes see her walk out as I was getting ready to walk back in after my own smoke break. She sat in her Jeep and talked on her cell phone. She mentioned more than once that she needed more alone time than the average person. I could relate.

Laura and I had a lot of similar issues. She was somewhat high-strung and didn't cope with the job much better than I did. Between the two of us we ensured our supervisor, who hated us both and made no secret about it with her favouritism, would leave with a few more grey hairs. Laura and I got along famously from the start, but I think at times I was a bit much for her. "You are so dark," she'd announce loudly following one of my sardonic quips. Because I'm an idiot, because I think I subconsciously like alienating people, I teased her mercilessly.

To be fair, she made this all too easy. Laura was very vocal about her neurotic tendencies. One of the more unfortunate things she mentioned in my presence was that she loathed flatulence. Everything about it; the sound, the smell, the word itself and its assorted synonyms. I am an immature motherfucker and don't even bother to hide this fact, so this was like a gold mine for me.

The zenith of this little revelation came when the girl who worked the drive-up window brought in the fart can. I don't know how else to describe this thing. It was a little plastic tin filled with a gelatinous substance not so unlike Nickelodeon Gak in consistency, but had the delightful ability to mimic the sound of gaseous emissions when manipulated just so. There was a knack to it, so much so I would dare call it an art. I learned quickly how to make the most obnoxious noises with the stuff, and this was important as this little scheme was concocted while Laura was at lunch. The plan was for me to conceal the fart putty between my legs when she returned to her post and work its magic at an opportune time.

2 o'clock finally rolled around. Laura returned from lunch, and resumed her place at her post, I waited a few crucial minutes before initiating the tactical strike. As promised I didn't laugh, but it was hard not to when I plunged my thumb into the vile goo. Laura raised her eyes from her keyboard momentarily but was still unperturbed. A few minutes later (I didn't want to make it obvious, see) I did it again. This time she looked around with a furrowed brow. She squirmed in her seat. Heaven (yes, her real name), the girl at the drive-up window, could barely contain her laughter. After a third time, the dam burst.

"Okay, who the fuck is doing that?" (Our supervisor was out that day or else our shenanigans would never have come to fruition.) I of course burst into uproarious laughter, as did everyone else who was in on the gag. The truth was finally, eventually, revealed. Laura took it in stride like a trooper.

Sometimes I miss laughing carelessly. Sometimes I miss the past. It's almost always painted in colours more attractive than reality.

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