Talking about Dreams

When she felt more confident with me, she started talking about her dreams.

“They’re really weird sometimes,” she said, “Like this one time I was in this old elementary school they turned into a hospital and then deserted after some kind of war. Only local people were using it again and I ended up in this room where they have rows of cots with babies in them. I spent some time with the babies until I realized they were not babies at all but something different.”

I nodded, signalling I was a good listener and also understood the emotions she was feeling. I stopped myself from retelling a dream I had because she did not want to hear that, she just wanted to talk. Keeping silent, I was scoring points.

“One time,” she continued, “I had a baby myself, only it turned out not to be a good baby at all and I hated it. So I left it at a bus stop.”

“Wait,” I said, “Are we still talking about dreams?”

My Friend Was Wounded

My friend was badly wounded. My friend is my phone, actually, and the display glass cracked. This would never have happened in the future!

It was innocent enough, this whole adventure. I put my friend on the night stand before going to sleep and when I woke up the next morning, the glass was cracked!

It was a tiny little crack, but it still drove me crazy. It was like a blemish on every beautiful photo on Instagram and every single page of flash fiction I read, the white background and the black typography. Why did it have to crack?!

I got some reinforced tampered gorilla glass with no-stains-or-money-back-guarantee glue. It took me seven tries to put it on. SEVEN! But I finally did it. And I put my phone in a cool-looking case, to protect it even more.

But alas! There are tiny little hairs behind the glass and I can see them. And the case makes it look chubby and ugly.

Dealing with the End of the World

We all had our ways of dealing with the end of the world. Some denied it, others fought it, but my family took it as an invitation to create art. I think that might be the reason why our house kept existing long after everything else was gone.

On that morning, I woke up just just like everyone else, which is not knowing what was about to happen. And, like a lot of people, I experienced a sighting. For me, it was a grey moth the size of a car, flapping its wings in the last black rays of night, before the flaming disk of the sun reared over the horizon. The moth hovered above the porch and I stepped into the yard to look at it. The eyes were amazing. My eyes, that is.

Anyway, as I was saying, the family started creating. My brother started digging up those bone-like things from the well and making sculptures out of them. My sister painted on walls with the black and red goo that was coming out of her mouth all the time. Ma made food sing. And pa grew body parts that he chopped off with a sharp cleaver and taught tricks. You have not lived until you see an arm-thing do flips for sugar cubes.

The world went to hell, with electricity becoming poison and music making children into monsters. Soon after, all the stars began to fade and the universe collapsed into just our farm.

“Where is everybody?” I asked my brother.

“Everybody’s gone, Karl,” he said, not even looking up, “And they ain’t coming back.”

Helping the Crazy Kids

Dear diary, today I begin my internship at the Stone Pines Asylum, the children’s wing. I will be helping Dr. Frost with art classes for those poor little souls. My boyfriend says I will be “helping the crazy kids.” Haha, very funny, Scott, but it’s not polite to call people crazy, especially little children. I hope I can do some good.

Dear diary, I had my first class with the little ones (oldest were 11) today and they are so sweet, but also so scary. We did finger painting and their art was not dark or bloody, you know, like in the moves. It was just so… weird. Some of these kids are so far from reality they would not see it if there was a lighthouse on the shore, guiding them through the mist. It’s hard to put into words, you would have to see the color, the form… I bet a lot of adult artists would like to have this depth of perception.

Dear diary, I worked with the adolescents today. Dr. Frost brought a bunch of cheap old-school cameras that he probably had lying around the store room since the 90s, and we went around the grounds taking photos. It was nice, with the leaves turning yellow, orange, and red, and the sky being a deep vivid grey. And the kids were just great.

Dear diary, this little girl, Melinda, tells me the part of the brain responsible for dreaming is sick and Dr. Frost has to give her painful shots. She says the dreams sometimes make her believe things that are not there, but she knows there is also truth in them, and she wants to discover it. Dr. Frost tells me she has really bad night terrors and suffers from sleep deprivation which gives her hallucinations during the day. She is already immune to sedatives. She is 9 years old, by the way.

Dear diary, the kids keep telling me Dr. Frost gives them painful shots. The little ones tell me. The teens go quiet when I ask about that. And one of them got really angry. Marcus, Melinda’s brother. Wow, two kids in the same family are sick, so sad.

Dear diary, Dr. Frost is not happy with me asking all those questions and stirring up all this trouble. He says the kids don’t need anyone to feed their delusions. He tries to explain things gently, but I can see him clenching his fists.

Dear diary, Melinda and Marcus lost their parents, and that is why they are here. It was a violent death, that’s all I know. A car crash?

Dear diary, Dr. Frost says I should no longer come over. He says I make the kids too excited. He says I fuel their psychoses. My internship ended abruptly, but I did not want to leave Melinda and Marcus, so I came back to visit. I was denied access. They say it was Dr. Frost’s orders.

Dear diary, I snuck back into the asylum. There was a door in my dorm room that I didn’t see before which led to a series of tunnels and into the children’s wing. Talk about lucky! But it was horrible! I saw the kids tied to their beds, screaming for help, and Dr. Frost in the hallway with a giant syringe. I barely made it out alive.

Dear diary, it’s summertime! I’m packing up to go back home! Yay! It’s going to be all swimming and tire swings and telling ghost stories in the tent in our backyard, just like the old days. Home sweet home, here I come. Just as soon as I can get out of here!

Love,

M.

Got a Text

I got a text this morning which said: “Please, please tell me there is a chance for us to be together again.” It was from an unknown number. I thought who it could be from, but there were no dramatic love stories in my past. I was in a hurry to leave for work, so I decided it was a wrong number and got on with my day.

During the lunch break, when everybody else was was busy eating and talking about their shows, I read the text again. There were some girls in my life before my wife Karen, but only two. One in junior high, and we were never really together, just kind of hung out, and one in high school, Audrey.

Audrey was something. I remember this one time after school, at the back of the library. We were smoking and then started making out. My hands migrated from her waist to her hips, and then one of them ended up between her thighs.

Audrey stopped me and those dark eyes lit up with mischief. “If you want it, you have to punch Bobby Carlson,” she said, “I don’t care if you get punched back, if you get beat up to a pulp. I will let you touch me there if you throw the first punch. Will you do that for me?”

I remember thinking about it for the following few days, but I never went through with it. That summer I met Karen, and Audrey and I never got together. I fantasized about her from time to time, about the things she would make me do and the sex we would have afterwards. But that was all.

Back at the restaurant, I answered the text: “Yes, there is. Do you want to meet?”

There was no response until that evening. I was sitting in the living room, my sons were playing a video game and my wife was working on her laptop at the kitchen table. The phone vibrated, unknown number.

I went to the bathroom and locked the door to read it. “He just killed himself, I hope you are happy. Don’t call this number and don’t contact us ever again, understood?”

So it was a wrong number after all.