I am on a city bus much larger than any I have ever been on before. There are two black men walking up and down the aisles singling some jazz tune. One of them asks me what key should they sing in. For some reason I say G and he seems to agree and smiles a bit, nodding. They are trying to get everyone else to sing along but nobody knows the words. All they can do was hum along and sing out the chorus.
When the bus stops I step into the aisle to get off and find that I'm standing behind a good friend of mine. She is swinging to the music and wearing a silver slink-dress that I once saw her in. We both step off the bus in the middle of traffic, still dancing, and I realize that we are in front of her house, which is across from the one that I used to live in. Strangely, since I was here last it seems to be converted from a suburban neighborhood into a metropolitan center. It looks somewhat old though, brick buildings looking like they came out of a New York borough and large sidewalks.
I follow my friend off the bus, still mesmerized by her silver dress and its motion around her body, and walk into traffic. We get off in the middle of the road and traffic is unsure as to whether they should stop for us or not. My friend in the sliver dress jumps onto another bus and I almost follow her but instead decide to stay here for a while. I wait for a crossing signal and when it shows me a green hand I go. Traffic consists of all new cars that are made to resemble old cars. None of them seem to notice the traffic signal and I have to jump over some of the cars to avoid being hit. A line of three white a red autos, all tailfins and side skirts, looking like a vision of the future circa 1955 speeds past me and I have to jump in rapid succession in order to avoid being sliced up by futuristic chrome and jet fins. During this I am still bouncing to the jazz tune the two men were singing. I think I know the words or I'm just making them up as I go.
On the street by the corner an extended family is having their picture taken by an old man with a camera that was state of the art in 1915. They are all smiling and I almost walk into their picture before stopping and smiling apologetically. They are already smiling and just turn towards me, looking very happy to be all together. Some of the younger children wave and I wave back. After the picture is taken I walk over to my friends house and go in.
Upstairs I meet a man whom I've never met but he seems to know me so I just play along. He is old and fat, and talking to me about his large music collection. I bad muzak version of “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” plays out of his small stereo. We talk for a while and then he gives me keys to his house, saying “You're always welcome here if you need somewhere to stay. You know its already started. We need to be prepared when this all comes down.” With that he gestures out the window and I see its become darker and the streetlamps have come on. He shows me down to a basement door where I walk across a thin catwalk spanning across a large cavern lit by halogens and filled with enormous machines. Although I thought he had left me the fat man is still behind me and he starts pointing to each machine “That one controls the weather, that one controls the flight patterns of migratory birds, that one writes best-selling novels.” Each one has some sort of function: caribou population, surges of religion and faith, cricket chirps-per-minute. After about fifteen minutes of this he trails off. I ask him if there's one that controls traffic and he smiles. “We’re working on that one” is all he says to me.