I had to give a presentation at work with two of my friends from high school about where my company was headed. It was my company...and yet, not - apparently we made dolls that pulled open like folded cardboard, like makeshift notebook paper fans. I was explaining why a paycut was necessary, and nobody was buying it. I got the feeling it was because I was wearing a suit, and I found myself quoting my REAL boss - "In any start-up company, the first step is to create the methods necessary for making a product, and if you need money you go to your investors and ask for it. The SECOND step is to make it profitable."
They weren't buying it.
I talked briefly to the meeting's chair after it was over, and he was speaking with an accent I couldn't place, an accent of such confusing origins that I couldn't help but not listen to a word he was saying.
I walked out of the meeting and found myself in some version of my high school, but...darker. I ran into a man I knew as a former math teacher of mine (even though this guy was a composite of Robert Picardo and Larry Miller...with glasses. Round ones.) who said something ominous and threatening, something about how he had done something horrible when he was a child and, to make me the way I was, I must've done something far worse. I told him I'd tell him about it some day. It was treacly and trite, but it worked for him.
He bought it, but morphed into a slavering "Heeeeeeeree's Johnny!" demonic figure, still with glasses, and started pounding on the door of the room I had retreated into, the same room the meeting was held in. The meeting's attendees, still in there, called him a "Rocky Horror" and cowered in a corner.
Quick cut to me outside the school after another long day at the office. It's raining.
One of my oldest friends shows up, says he saw the rain and knew I was biking it, so he swung by to pick me up. I told him to hold on, that I needed to stop somewhere first.
We walk across the street to this house that wasn't there in real life but that I know belongs to the real-life artist mother of a real-life classmate of mine. There's a shack at the back, small and cozy. I go into it and park my bike, sit on the edge of a tiny bed but sink far into it; water has invaded the shack and everything is soggy. It's like being under water. I struggle to stand up, and do, and enter the house. It has a porch.
I find my friend curled up under a big fluffy blanket in a small room that I know belongs to the daughter of the artist who lives there, and I feel affronted, like he's doing something rude. The sound of a piano being plinked on floats from the room, but nobody's playing one.
My real-life mother is laying on a couch in the living room of the house and she looks perfectly comfortable to be there but can offer no explanation as to why she is.