Excited to soon be flying back to Australia after so many years, for a school trip. Compared to last time there’s much more structure but many more people to do things with. A long gap follows this part of the dream, yet though forgotten seems connected to later parts.
My assigned male activity partner sits on the corner wall of a lot where the school group has gathered. He’s hefty, and the loose dirt crumbles. He falls into rushing water — the one thing that was stressed about him was that he’s (really, actually) allergic to water. Immediately this feels like some sort of test. I swim frantically after him though I don’t hold much hope. Yet I’m able to catch up, then heave his immobile body onto the inside curve of a sandbar to hopefully dry and recover. I pull myself onto the shore further down the bend. By then he’s recovered — more like been revealed — to be a powerful muscular young Zeus-like figure.
We expropriate a neglected academic area, a bit like single story underground dorms. Surveying the cramped little warren of rooms I spot an Austrian flag hanging on a darkened wall. Satisfied, we begin planning a takeover. Our small group of like-minded rebels improvises a space, repurposing walls and making a few rows of chairs. We view and discuss ideas presented from a stage.
One such dramatization of an idea is like a subdream featuring stop-motion bundles of sticks: a Subaru hatchback driven by a pair of 50-somethings backs into a barn near a lakeshore; the barn catches fire and explodes inexplicably. In the chair next to me sits an old man I don’t know very well. I’m sitting at the end of a row, having thought I’d be further from people. I’m now uncomfortably aware that I’m naked from the waist down, and adjust my posture and shirt in a futile effort to compensate.
Events take a twist when a college girl wearing a Lakers cheerleader uniform returns from a bender. It’s her space in which we’ve been squatting, and she has many pointed questions. We’d prepared for this eventuality; quickly I snap into the role of distracting and misdirecting her. (Especially from a disturbed patch of wood at the foot of my seat — a relic from before our takeover, uninvestigated and best forgotten). I talk and play friendly with her, giving a tour which surreptitiously avoids the group’s more sensitive aspects. It’s tricky, but I lean toward providing truthful explanations wherever possible — without any group plan it seems likely we could easily be caught in a lie. This would be a greater risk than tiring out her questions and slowly earning her trust, though I worry if my compatriots might think I’ve betrayed them. Thankfully during my ramblings on our tour I spot one of my conspirators and, while her back is turned, signal with my hand to give the companion opportunity to take action. It’s acknowledged with a subtle head shake, showing me that while they’re not ready to move forward they also recognize the part I’m playing.
Soon she asks to go into an especially sensitive five-story building, to the top floor. There’s a library located in the center of that floor which would be disastrous if our interests in it were revealed. There are also two balcony rooms flanking it where students often congregate, known as “Celebration Point”. As the library comes into view I deploy a powerful strategem: I act bashful and say “The thing is… and I’m not sure you knew this… Celebration Point is where a lot of students traditionally go for a first date.” I managed to say this twice in different ways, proud of my brilliant acting, while realizing if any companion were witness to it I’d appear highly suspect. The stakes are increasing but I’ve pulled it off so far.