Back in my parents old bathroom. Sitting in a long, empty bathtub. I’ve found an old grooming toolkit (self-care) package of mine in the cupboard, birch or cedar-scented, but the important applicator tool is missing. I’m disappointed. A family member says we can order it online but when I scan it reads off as bipolar something-or-other. Lynae, who hasn’t been paying attention, suddenly asks what she can do.
Roaming through a nostalgia-scape, reviewing the past… November 2013 if I recall. It’s like the streets are numbered years. Looking to find (buy) a replacement for the lost part of the toolkit. Death Valley-like place, great view, fresh dry smell, isolated but well-tended semi-open-air store. Guy rides in on cow (or bull). Retracing his entrance, driving or walking along, I see the narrow strip of fenced natural desert he would’ve taken. There’s an expansive view of the valley floor. Drippy watered roads flow into rivulets and, further downhill, that water shoots from the mountainside in a powerful spout.
Going to artsy movie theater, think it’s not the movie I’m there to see but instead Lake Placid. In the opening scene (still looking for a seat and I’m standing near the right wall) people turn themselves into “pets”. Epic girl hero riding a dragon through a videogame-y fantastical castlescape. Boast that they have three Golden Gate Bridges. Screen is too high up, beyond it is an under-screen room, but there the main stage picture is off (while a live show is trying to get ready) and even that room’s secondary screens are relatively small. A Mortal Combat fight is playing. One fighter (the “good guy”) is just a badass tattooed-and-pierced arm, but his superpower is slowing time and taking 8 hours to finally hit the ground — his opponents usually become exhausted.
I leave the theater but am still watching a movie somehow, and I’m sitting next to big girl. I’m leaning on her we’re packed so close. As long as I don’t think that intimacy with a stranger is weird, she doesn’t either. We introduce ourselves; her name is Monica. She’s still on good terms with Chicken, which I discover by reading a handwritten mail over her shoulder. We get to talking, about a 14-year-old on Mission Street who’s just starting to experiment with makeup, and has garish outlined black lips. I like Monica and (though there is some attraction) we’re friends all of a sudden.
I go into Chez Poulet with her. It’s bigger, a converted funeral home that used to be for the many Mexican families here. Saltillo tile and arched stucco ceilings. Big room in the back where a community market is happening. She’s friends with one seller, we talk at a booth with them, making fun of another seller next to them we don’t know as well. That person is selling intricate carved wooden bowls, placed on shiny woven Asian mats. Monica and her Chicken friends decide to smoke pot in a back room, one with a Christmas tree. I start snooping around and discover that many of the signs I’d last left around the place were still in the same spot. At the far end of the right-hand wing, near the next-door radio station, I discover a neglected door and follow a secret passage. I can see through narrow high windows onto the tiled roof. The hallway passage leads to the Christmas tree room and I surprise the gathered friends.
The Chez Poulet has three bedrooms on the top floor, former accommodations for staff. As third person perspective, in the corner one I locate Chicken John. Instead of being angry because it’s me back in his place, time stops and I gaze at his true face. It’s both softer and younger than I noticed before, and also more old and damaged. His left eyebrow is janky, his forehead wrinkled, his hair is gray and sparse. No mustache. It’s like looking at an old kid. I realize the only way to get such a face is by doing art projects with people you choose to care about for years and years. I admire it and see in it the innocence that it really has. I float away, he turns into pissy mustachioed and porkpie-hatted Chicken again, yelling at me to go away, Orin. The other bedroom residents seem to be yelling it, too. This is when I wake up.
Slowly realize that I’m in bed and just had an interesting complex dream that I can remember, but feeling wary of the laptop beside me that’s there for writing it down. Gradual boot-up process. Distraction from writing the dreams details, though they don’t seem to fade… sometimes the remembrance is like that. Wariness of posting publicly. Allowance to let it be cast.