Shades of Something Wicked

Dream April 22, 2012

My friends, M and her husband J, and I were inside the large warehouse re-purposed as an indoor market place, now lined with individual commercial stands. Not an uncommon change of function in our post industrial society. Perusing these diverse booths, I found its ambiance to be notably schizoid. It felt both warm and folksy, manned by hopeful, struggling entrepreneurs with modest expectations, and yet at the same time desperate and woeful.  I was from out of town visiting my friends and they brought me here for some local color. But now I was ready to go. I felt uncomfortable among these strangers who were as familiar and sympathetic as the flea market merchants in my home town. I was hoping we would be leaving soon and considered suggesting it to them.

We casually walked the rows of goods with no apparent purpose. Then I noticed M hesitated and seemed pensive. She was looking at her husband, communicating something wordlessly. Something she did not want me to know which I could not readily decipher. I noticed she had money clutched in her hand. There was a one dollar bill but underneath I could see it covered a 100 dollar bill. I was afraid she was going to offer it to me out of sympathy or something. I was beginning to feel a bit uneasy. She seemed to be getting the final approval from her husband before acting. I was hoping I did not have to publicly refuse the money. I knew them to be frugal and they did not have extra money to give to me, even though I had recently lost my circumstance.

“There is something you have to see” she firmly told me. We got in line at a food vender. It was a shabby, rundown booth serving some popular concoction, a greasy, deep fried, cheese dipped satisfaction that I really was not looking forward to trying. But M was insistent. The line was short and almost immediately we were at the counter. M spoke to the man “We want three for the ‘BEST’” and she handed him the money. The man stared at her for a second too long before reaching under the counter and handing her a soccer ball sized sphere of wrinkled tin foil. She took it knowingly and walked away.  J and I wordlessly followed.

We walked to a nearby set of double doors, painted black and gasketed with rubber seals to the floor and between the two doors. They looked like they could swing both ways and were battered like a forklift went through them from either direction. A stenciled black number “9” was the only identification on the lintel above the door frame. We pushed through as a group, M with the ball in her hands at the lead. We stopped just a few steps inside while the doors swung closed behind us.

We were in another large room not much different dimensionally from where we had left but not set up for customers. Instead it was lit with dim incandescent fixtures suspended from cross beams and appeared intended for storage with stacks of cardboard boxes on pallets obscuring our view throughout. There was a young woman and a child just in front of us facing our direction. The child was in a small portable stroller. M threw the ball at them with all her strength, in a surprisingly uncoordinated effort. The woman with the child seemed as startled at M’s action as was I. The silver ball bounced once before almost hitting the two of them. I was swept by an uneasy feeling that the strangeness had just begun and I was not sure I was prepared for what might follow.

A giant fly emerged with the foil ball and was now near our feet, dextrously turning the ball in its fore legs and pealing away layers with its proboscis. It began speaking saying “more, more, more”. M suddenly grew agitated and started complaining. Her voice was increasing in volume as if speaking to someone or something far away. “This man is not acting. This man cannot act.” She spoke to the distance. If the giant fly had previously been a convincing illusion, I could now only look upon it as a person pretending to be a fly. M seemed sincerely distraught, still yelling as if a very dissatisfied customer. I think she was trying to stop the show, but I did not know what to expect and could not, with certainty, separate her role in the spectacle from the intended effect, though I had the uncomfortable impression that things were not going as expected.

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