I was walking alone, on a vaguely familiar street dimly lit by yellow streetlamps. I couldn't shake the feeling that this place must have some significance, but couldn't place it either. Just walking, and no one else around, looking for nothing in particular.

The well-worn apartment house inexplicably caught my eye. It was the presence of light, of movement. No one else around, and here was this pair of maids, visible through the ground-level window. They were preparing a room, just like in some motor hotel. So I thought, Al would be great somewhere like this. He needs to get out on his own, but it would help to have someone to look after him, and clean after him.

I put down the black nylon briefcase in the middle of the empty side lot, then I headed to knock on the door. I struck the door three times, then heard a noise behind me that suddenly reminded me that I should not have left my briefcase behind.

A rough, shady looking character was inspecting my bag in his hands. "Hey," I shouted, "that's mine!" He was dressed in black leather, and had a sneer that I didn't like. He hurriedly opened the briefcase, and struggled to wriggle the laptop through the zippered opening. I had crossed the parking lot at a run, but gingerly seized him and wrested the bag out of his grip.

He taunted me, scoffing at my fear, sneering all the time. Something in his attitude reminded me of a high school bully who had delighted in making my life miserable.

The man withdrew beneath the dim shadow of the building, joining a pair of associates who had apparently been leaning there the entire time. They looked equally menacing, and when the forementioned maids finally answered the door, I called to them.

"Get your security guard out here - these guys are making trouble," I said. They were amused, and only looked around a moment before returning through the door from which they came. No guard was called, if there even was a guard.

The leering from the gang on the wall continued, and fear began to gather that they were preparing to descend on me. My antagonist was watching me closely as I covertly slipped my hand into the bag to dial emergency on my cell phone. I was just able to give my location before he pounced on me, dragging me behind a dark car parked at the edge of the lot. I'm not sure what he would have done, had not three patrol cars poured in off of the street at that moment.

For the moment I was forgotten, tossed to the ground unceremoniously. I wondered at the man's car, a shiny black new BMW - quite a setup for what I thought was a street thug. He produced a shotgun, painted in non-reflective black, and assumed a position over the top of the car, facing several cops on the other side of the parking lot.

What followed was an eerie silence in which time seemed to stand still. Here in the middle of the night, in a deserted part of the city, a deadly game was staged, and neither side wanted to even move.

I searched my mind for something - anything - I might use to neutralize my impromptu kidnapper. All I had was a marker, the fat Sharpie variety, in my bag. Before I knew what I was doing I had slipped the marker out and sprung up behind the man. I jabbed the marker into the base of his skull and snarled at him not to move.

"You've got a pen to my head, haven't you," he calmly remarked. Instantly I slipped my marker-wielding arm around his neck and turned, surprising myself as I carried the motion through. He fell quickly onto his stomach and immediately began to struggle.

I spotted his fallen shotgun, and in a split second had grabbed it and flung it away. In doing so, I released enough pressure from the man's back for him to manage to roll to one side. His hand went beneath his coat, and out came a pistol - a black revolver with a long, round barrel. We laid there on the ground struggling with it, until the scene faded.

The next scene to materialize took me some time to grasp. It was a warm day, with the sun brightly lighting everything in the way only a summer sun can. A breeze stirred the air, and I was sitting at a cafe patio table watching people go by, relaxed.

My companion across the table was my friend from the parking lot, coolly sipping on coffee. On the table between us we each had a laptop, both wired to a separate small box that appeared to be a satellite receiver. I was having trouble with mine, repeatedly adjusting the tiny dish atop the receiver.

Across the street, I observed a small group of men walking purposefully and unmistakably toward us. I indicated the men to my partner, who immediately recognized the situation as well. There followed a hail of gunfire, and what remained in the subsequent quiet was a street suddenly emptied of pedestrians, containing only the bodies of the goons. We were nowhere to be seen, and had not even bothered to take the slick black motorbikes that we had parked near our table. They lay strewn on the pavement, toppled in the brief melee.

The female detective kneeled over the fallen bikes, musing silently. Her partner informed her that there were no leads so far. She shook her head, gesturing toward the motorcycles which were of an unfamiliar but distinctly East European make. "I know who did this," she sighed, "but that's not going to help us any."

This was my actual dream, cinematic as it is. It made such an impression on me I thought I may as well put it down. It is unusual for me to remember dreams in such detail.

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