I’m proud of my accomplishment. I’ve set up an observation post overlooking all ten delivery sites in a lake, at the only spot on a ridge above that has such a vantage. Everything is set up for when those happen and I can walk away.
I’m contacted at my unlisted number by a mysterious girl. I figure out that she hacked me, but I put off responding until I can hack info on her, to respond in kind. This is a delicate thing, and she could become a love interest.
In a brick alcove on the side of a street I encounter a “Tweet 3D” training kiosk, with little floating panels on a laminar sheet. I already know this futile attempt at a new feature will fizzle out soon.
Going to attempt retrieval of stuff stored in a USB combination locker, from back before the Ukraine war started. We had all been worried things were going to escalate much worse. I’m then waylaid by a (very) former friend Kate W. who traps me with accusations. But it’s relatively easy to parry these accusations and discern that she’s stalling, waiting for my long-ago roommate Emily W. (no relation) to get here, as they are in fact now roommates. While I’m arguing I notice their many pet fish, kept in Tupperware containers on the shelf below a big CRT TV. Normally I’d love to ask about these fish.
Instead I see Ursula K. Le Guin sitting in a chair on the other side of the room. I pointedly change my attention to her, and take the opportunity to give personal thanks for her works. I mention “Always Coming Home” especially, and say that it counts as one of my favorites — even though I’m not through with it. Ursula congenially answers that that’s fine and appropriate even, as she never felt like she was done with it either.
In a theatre watching a new Spider-Man movie. My seat is round and spins, a beige leather “fashion” chair like my Nana might’ve had in the 1980s. It’s difficult to get the angle where I can look comfortably at the screen and also get my feet up. Not to mention I won’t block anyone’s view.
There’s an important character scene in the movie which occurs at the lip of a waterfall at night; the setting reminds me of one that could be in Jurassic Park game. Two group members (who resemble my friends Ani N. and Safire) go off for a minute to exchange info. Only Ani comes back. I’m the only one — watching the movie, but also now in the movie as teenage Spider-Man — who immediately realizes that it wasn’t Safire, but a body snatcher. And that isn’t Ani either. I grab a trusted friend and attempt to inform them of the danger, pulling them aside into a pitch black garage (note: only in rewriting do I notice the similarity to the previous situation).
But before that, in the ’70s paneled wood living room of our shared house, I encounter a housemate bottle-feeding her baby. She shares an appearance with my childhood friend Christy T. Someone (perhaps her, perhaps not her) has left on a very unpleasant overhead fluorescent light. I feel this light should never be on, and say so to the mother. I don’t think I came across as nice.
An old tape recorder with a Bluetooth app. When I install it, my phone spits an error and starts installing every app I ever downloaded. All the ones I’ve deleted, too. There are whole series of them, as I can spot several donut icons among the many screens-worth of unwanted apps. In addition, a bunch of books I didn’t know I still owned are taking up entire pages. The phone has now become a square book. Many of the pages will now need to be ripped out or blanked out. It’s a strange difference to actually see how much physical space these wasted apps can take up… not that it makes it any easier to get rid of them
Invited back to Burning Man, with the camp my sister stays at. They last stayed in 2015 — it doesn’t seem so long ago.
When I first get into camp I find a few emblems lying on the ground at he entrance. My old rabbit fur bag of elfstones (that I carried in middle school) appears to be there, as well as some important books from my past.
The camp is indoor and outdoor. There’s a book counter in our camp, and the bookseller asks me if I know that a photo of mine is currently first place in a competition. He seems to be clued in to the unusualness of the situation, and I can’t fully recall if it’s a photo I did take, but I definitely can’t remember submitting it. He reminds me of my wife’s dad’s friend, Loren.
Nice slow conversation with friends in our camp about bringing a good smartphone camera to Burning Man. Mickey is there, my sister Alia too, I even notice my dad sitting at the end of a table — had hung out with him without even realizing he was my dad.
The photo from the competition comes out: a very clear photo of statuary in a twisting wood, the lighting a deep velvety eerie calm midnight. Studying it closely, the sensation forms of how the angle, framing, color treatment, and more are recognizably my style. It must have been made several years ago now.
I help haul out stuff we’ve brought this year, much of it packed into a rundown old ’70s luxury car (one of those big fat Buicks or Cadillacs) parked on the roadside exactly behind the spot where I parked last time. After that long discussion on phone cameras earlier I happen to uncover an old Motorola flip-phone. Though only here for novelty purposes, it proves worthy of close examination — a true artifact. Somehow I finally appreciate just how many individual technological bits and pieces were sorted out in its making.
The chaos of the festival is just coming into swing, though it’s early yet… and a bit more reserved than I remember. I watch a procession of long mechanical costumes march up a slope toward us. An articulated worm-dragon, I realize, was probably made with help from my friends Don & Tracy.
Mickey is futzing around camp, pensively searching for a special spiritual emblem of his that’s missing. Meanwhile I’m feeling annoyed as the bookseller has closed shop early, and without notice. I could’ve asked him about the emblem — I’m worried a book I traded could’ve contained (or perhaps was) Mickey’s cherished talisman.
The bookseller returns unexpectedly soon afterward, having only taken an evening break.
A custom-designed webpage prototype with four alternate positive opinions for any submitted negative. Creates URLs for its suggestions. Created by a short girl wizard, who’s becoming a bit famous for it. (I’d guess this was Plarvolia, whom I just re-discovered via her online activity after meeting her at a party in March this year.)
My family’s got a new fridge, so big you swing open the door and have to walk up to the inside. I lean over the front shelf and discover rows of of wheeled container stacks that roll, and beyond that a half-size kitchen. Remember that I have PBR in my crappy tiny dorm-size fridge that I could now bring. While inside, a corner with twin stoves, I knock loose one electrical clip plugged into the counter wall outlet. I then try to figure how to let my dad know.
Outside, on a street underneath the highway & close to the doorway, I watch a long car pull up (against advice). From it emerge a color-coordinated pimp-styled group, orange and gold and white everything. I continue off without gawking, heading the direction of a town my wife texted me from, hoping to surprise her — Plum Falls (a semi-inversion of my hometown, Palm Springs). I pass unexpectedly through an underpopulated corner of San Francisco, near the wharf, somewhere called like “Southeast Neighborhood” I’ve visited in dreams before. I cross the street at an oddly shaped intersection at Winston Way downslope of a curvy hill, jogging across as a car abruptly pulls around the bend.
I reach the quaint rural community of Plum Falls, a tiny 3-or-4 street grid town from out of my past in Oregon and/or Australia, cast in foliage of bright autumnal orange. Reminiscent of many other dream locations. I amble into a garage sale inside the house of an elderly, thoroughly-countrified man. But I wear no pants or underwear, shuffling side-to-side hiding my naked lower half. An excuse I use is that I just woke up from dreaming (what!?). As I’m behind the man’s table, I take my chance and finally wrap a black t-shirt to cover myself. The man has a only a few items laid out sparely, each clearly special and treasured, and the one he’s pitching to me is an old hand-bound bible. It’s beautifully crafted, raw-edge leather, highly textured and deckled paper, embossed gold lettering (some of it in Ge’ez script)… but unfortunately the font gives away that it’s much newer than it might seem, especially with its deep modern-styled embossing. I find a way to turn him down gently, especially considering his high asking price, but I’m immediately distracted by another book sitting on the corner of his table. A stubby thick hardcover with glossy dustjacket, I remember thinking I’d glimpsed someone casually drop it there while we spoke. It’s a book by none other than Chicken John. I’m forced to improvise an explanation for how I know him, going into how we “collaborated” and why we “fell out with each other”. The experience is terrible: alienating, frustrating, embarrassing, and ultimately useless. I unwisely make the open claim that he must’ve put that book there himself, just recently. All rapport is gone now, and the countrified old man has lost interest in me.
The next day I’m idling along near (but not on) one of the few sidewalks in the dusky town. I spot a familiar figure from behind, and approach him from the side. Turning his shoulder, I stare into the face of Chicken John, who looks more ginger-haired and solidly mustached (almost like my 4th-grade teacher Roy Suggett — if you’re out there, Mr. Suggett, you’re still my favorite). I lead Chicken back to the house where I was yesterday and allow him to believe there’s no one there. He unlatches a small window and reaches in, only for the old man from the garage sale to poke his head out saying “Excuse me. Hello?” I gesture meaningfully, demonstrating that what I said yesterday was true, and exposing Chicken for whatever scheming he planned against me.