1. I was in my early 20s but with full adult awareness/memory at my mother’s house for a family get-together. We were playing a game called Bump at the dining room table when the doorbell rang.
“I’ll get it,” I said and crossed the kitchen for the entry and started to open the door. As was usual for me at that age (newly returned from Iran with a huge distrust of men), I opened the door only a crack just to see who was there. It might seem odd that I even volunteered to get the door if I was so afraid of finding a man there, but my frame of mine was one of controlling the situation. If it wasn’t someone I would want in the house, I could refrain from letting them in you see.
It was a very large rough looking middle-aged man with a gun tucked into his coat (not fully exposed; just enough that I knew it was there). Behind were two similarly rough looking guys, also with weapons, but theirs were held at ready. I hastily shut the door on them without a word and ran back to the dining room saying, “There are armed men at the door! Call the police!”
Nobody believed me at first but I kept insisting and finally a few of them, my mom included, went into the kitchen to take a peek out the window there to the front porch and then came scurrying back, ready to dial 911. But neither the land line nor anyone’s cell phone could get through.
My calm and burly old former-truck-driver, after observing all our panic motions for a while, finally just shook his head and rose with a sigh. “I’ll go talk to them,” he said.
“No Fred! Don’t open the door!” we all shouted at him.
But Fred is almost completely deaf. All we succeeded in doing was setting his hearing aid to ringing loudly. He opened the door anyway and we all sat cringing to hear him greeting those armed like expected and welcome company. We could all hear the friendly but indistinct low chit-chat going both ways and then the tramp of heavily booted feet as he led them into the kitchen.
We were all sitting there frozen in shock as Fred introduced them. I couldn’t even hear their names I was so petrified to have them in the house.
And then I saw one of them was lugging a big laundry basket. WTF?
“Their washing machine is broken,” Fred explained, “They just need to borrow ours.” He glanced at my mother with something like apology in his expression. “I told them you wouldn’t mind.”
My mom and I exchanged glances. She gave Fred a thin smile. “Of course not.”
The leader of the group looked me straight in the eye then and said, “I love you. I’d never hurt anyone you care about. I want you to know that.”
I just stared back at him, forcing myself to do it even though I was feeling numb, blackness closing in around vision, and my ears were ringing with a panic so extreme now that I thought I might either faint or let my inner beast out.
“I love you,” he repeated sounding completely 100% sincere.
My then-experience with men who told me they loved me did not at all support this premise. I wondered if he were being sarcastic. I didn’t believe him; didn’t trust him at all.
I woke in a panic.
2. Katrina, my Catholic friend of long ago, was taken to some sort of concentration camp called Hell. It wasn’t hot there, however. Hell was frozen over and the prisoners there given no shelter from the cold and the snow. Intent on rescuing her, I flew in to her under cover of the darkness of a foggy new-moon night over to top of the tall fenced enclosure. I remember that when I landed and was crunching through the snow, it didn’t even seem cold to me. I was dressed as a prisoner and barefoot like all of them so better to fit in while I worked out the details of escaping with her.
“We’re going to go right over that fence,” I whispered to her.
“How are we going to do that?” she asked. “People don’t fly!”
“I do,” I told her, “And I’m going to teach you how.”
The fence in question had a big cement base that went deep into the ground to discourage digging. Atop the base was standard hurrican fencing. But that was topped with a broad horizontal flange of barbed wire, as if to discourage fliers. In the dreams I have where I can fly, I’m usually a minority – as in this case – but fences confound me. I have to be well back of them to fly over them because otherwise I swoop up late and hit the top of the fence, in this case, that intimidating barbed wire flange.
I spent all that dark night teaching her how to fly. By the time I was satisfied with her progress, the sun was rising so I brought out the things I’d brought for camoflage purposes: a can of Nair and a tin of sky-blue grease paint. Hiding in the shade of cement block, I instructed her to remove her clothes as I was doing and use the Nair to remove all body hair (for better streamlining against the wind) and then coat herself with the blue grease paint for comoflage against the daylight sky.
Yeah, I know I should have just brought blue sky suits, but dream logic being what it is, I actually thought this would work better. Don’t ask me way. I suspect it’s just because I’ve been watching too much Farscape lately.
She didn’t like this idea to put it very mildly, but she disliked Hell Camp even more so ended up going along with the crazy program.
We started way back and flew into the sky before the guards could stop up and immediately disappeared against the blue sky.
We flew to her house and went straight in to where her mother, Evelyn, was preparing to serve dinner. She almost dropped the bowl of mashed potatoes when she saw us standing there wearing nothing but blue paint and matching grins. “Wha… What in Heaven’s name???!!!!” she stammered out.
We explained what had happened and how we’d escaped in a rapid fire flurry so in synch that we were actually finishing one another’s sentences.
“Take a show and get dressed,” Evelyn ordered her daughter rather sharply, “Then come out and have dinner. Your friend may join us, but then she has to go home. Understood?”
She gave us both the LOOK. We nodded.
I ate dinner with them in a silence filled only with the clanking of silverware and weighted glances. Katrina was blushing and embarrassed of course.
I thanked them for their hospitality and left right afterward. The world spun around me the moment my foot descended from the front stoop and suddenly I was standing again in Camp Hell frozen over, sizing up the fence and deciding again how far I needed to be to succeed in swooping over it safely. There was less space here now and suddenly I was the only prisoner. The only safe place I could see to go over was where the fence abutted the base of a highway overpass.
I flew up that way, barely missing the guardrail, and then followed the highway home to my mother’s house.
She met me at the front door with a horrified expression. “Oh my god! What are you wearing?” and then, when she realized, said “You get your blue butt in here this instant, take a shower, and get DRESSED!”
I did as ordered, gladly in fact, but when I came out dressed and trying to explain about wearing nothing but blue paint, she just raised her hands and shook her head saying, furiously, she didn’t even want to talk about it yet.
Later – clothed this time - I flew to Katrina’s house to see how she was doing. Evelyn wouldn’t let me in. She said I’d been a bad influence on her daughter making her fly around naked save for blue paint. She wanted me to stay away from her daughter from then on. Her father came to door then, blocking Katrina’s attempt to say something to me, and seconded that.
Sad, I flew off again, again following the highway home but running into a bus along the way. Flashing lights, breath knocked out of me, and blackness.
I woke inside said bus on a bunk. It was one of those old school buses that had been made into a motorhome. A man was sitting on the bunk across from me saying that he was bringing me home. My mother didn’t want me out flying around anymore.
Annoyed, I woke up.