The sign on the door said, The Dream Shoppe,
slightly false advertising, but it was dark
and I had lost the lenses of my best glasses.
Four hundred dollars and that's with
health insurance and no frills.
I am not careless; I carry the frame around
and the lenses, but they fall out at the
most ridiculous times, so I've stopped
wearing them. So technically speaking,
they are not lost, merely waiting to be fixed.
Anyway, back to The Dream Shoppe,
which was blessedly lit without mercury
or fluorescence, and the only place open
in town, after the storm.
Free coffee and free food on a table,
to the right. Shelves of odd-shaped boxes,
with no marking, no text, no price.
At least the coffee made sense and
tasted out of this world. They say not to shop
when you're hungry, so I helped myself
to blueberries and almonds, lightly salted.
At that moment, an exotic woman appeared,
from behind a curtain, like an old game show,
only this was no game I wanted to play.
"I'm just looking for a dream," I said, hoping
she understood my language.
The woman said nothing but watched closely
as I licked the salt off my fingers.
Bad habit, but I didn't know
the proper etiquette, since there were no
I pointed to the shelves, "Are those dreams
for sale?" She laughed, like a deadly river,
like a waterfall roaring, like a lone hyena.
In other words, it was not pretty.
Fuck the free coffee and free food,
and to think I entertained the thought
of shopping locally, buying dreams for
everyone on my list.
I thanked her and turned to leave
but the door was gone.
Trapped, here in the dark, in The Dream Shoppe.
She asked in precise wording,
"Could I interest you in a few nightmares,
instead of dreams?"
"Not a chance," I replied, while slowly slipping
a knife from one sleeve. Suffice it to say,
I killed her swiftly, had another cup of coffee
and watched as the door reappeared.
I am not careless; the event won't even make it
into the police notes or obituaries.
I trudged home, another grey dawn,
and wondered if nothing is real but time.