Dream Log: August 14, 2015
Robert De Niro's Waiting
So it's a heist movie, and a motley crew is going to kidnap a very particular child to curry favour with the local mob boss. There's the sophisticate played by Cate Blanchett, the Dick Tracy lookalike for some muscle, the slightly pudgy and aging orchestrator, the young getaway driver, and there's yours truly as the lookout.
The mark is a Japanese girl, about 12 years old, riding the metro.
The station is more crowded than we expected but on the orchestrator's nod we proceed as planned.
Cate drops down from the roof, to catch the girl off guard. She reaches for the girl's mouth, to cover it with some tape that looks like a mouth, and thus prevent any screaming. The first thing to go wrong is the girl counters this move with a martial arts hand move of her own, and the mouth tape ends up stuck to what could be a roll of tape.
Dick, opening a second offensive front, pushes through the crowd and moves in with some chloroform thingy. The girl is fighting back, but he manages to tape it to her face. She starts to go quiet and complacent.
More goes wrong. Cate is being restrained by the crowd which has suddenly reacted, and then, surprisingly, so is Dick. Cate thrashes to no avail.
Some other do-gooder citizens have ushered the girl out of reach of her prospective kidnappers. They hand her down the carriage, and I place myself in line. Inexplicably, she has turned into a baby. I am handed the baby.
I hide the baby under my coat, and run.
Later I learn Dick and Cate are released that night without charges. That sounds expensive.
My daughter is with me on the bus the next day. She doesn't know I have a baby under my jacket. I explain she can't come with me, I have a business meeting, but she should be able to find something to do in the Easons bookstore across the street.
The bus stops on the main street by Fox Monuments funeral home. The traditional Dublin-style shopfront is white with kelly green trim. Green lettering in a tall classic serifed font on the fascia. Next to it is Peter Weir and Sons suit hire, the sign in a clean gold font on black, the shopfront in a dark forest green. Both are shown to best advantage by the rise of the hill and the adjoining park. This is not by accident.
The lobby of Fox Monuments is crowded with rotating greeting card stands and people wanting an audience. Not everyone here is going to get an audience with the godfather today, but all are hopeful. Some are desperate.
Our orchestrator has used some of his favour; we are ushered into the inner chamber and Dick secures a good spot in line while I mill around with the baby cradled under my coat. Getting a good look around. Eyes are open now and content, not crying. I'm wondering how surprised I would be if it cried with a mouthful of jagged baby teeth like the green witch baby from Wicked, when I notice the godfather himself is walking the floor. He's played, of course, by a middle-aged Robert De Niro.
He comes over and admires the baby, who returns his probing stare. "Your baby?" "No. No, the baby." I fumble with my smartphone and manage to give him a discreet glimpse of the scrolling news headlines, which mention the metro kidnapping. He raises one eyebrow, looks me in the eye, but his mouth stays flat. He moves on.
I need some air. I rationalize that even with our good position in the queue, we have at least ten minutes until we are called to audience, so I head out and across a side street to Fox's Park. It is a small and intricate garden, colorful plantings along gravel paths, the short walls and bridges in the same white with green trim as their sponsor. Inside one grotto, a fountain trickles through smooth calcified arches like the spirit of a seashell, and painted animal miniatures cavort in the pools.
I wish I'd remembered to tell my daughter about the park, she would have enjoyed the attention to detail.
I read the inscription. "In memory of all of those who have fallen protecting our freedoms. Sponsored by Fox's monuments." I'm half expecting it to say "Sponsored by the Honest Businessmen's Association".
The guy walking in the park when I get there looks a little like Henry Hill from Goodfellas. I call out "You of all people shouldn't be laughing, this is what made you famous." He doesn't get me and walks on confused. He wasn't laughing. Must be the wrong guy.
Breast milk. Babies this young need breast milk to thrive. They need their mother. How is the mother feeling? Is she expressing breast milk? Could we organize an anonymous note, requesting a breast milk drop, then assuming the police have the drop staked out, fly in and collect it with an untraceable drone copter?
I realize whatever ending is coming up for this story, it isn't the one I want.
What I want is an ending where I'm the good guy. Where the baby gets back to his/her mother. So I make that happen.
De Niro looked put off by the complications of the kidnapping case, and maybe, just maybe, he'll appreciate someone who can recognize that. I turn myself in, with a story about being an estranged father at loose ends who suddenly got a baby handed to him and ran with it; the team won't like that, but they'll respect that I kept them out of it and am going to do the time.
But before I do, while the court is grinding through scheduling issues and pre-hearings, my daughter and I take a walk in the park.