Dreamcatcher

(This is some weird shit. Calvin says: "It's a funny world, but it's not a hilarious world- unless you like sick humour." I think that's true, and that's sort of what this is about...maybe...okay I'm lying. I don't really know what this is about. It just kind of is. So read it - and if you're feeling generous, you could even review and tell me what the fuck I was thinking. )

oh, and it's all original, so it'd be nice if nobody stole it, but really, who are we kidding, you could take this and do just about whatever the fuck you like with it anyway 'cause it's not like I can stop you...

The sun beat down hot and sultry on the white sails of The Dreamcatcher. Waves lapped gently against her sides, azure and clear as crystal, crested with golden sunlight. The only sound was the soft flapping of the sails in a light wind. Waves rolled away into infinity over the horizon; as far as the eye could see the sea and the sky were unbroken blue. A seabird wheeled high above the mast, coasting effortlessly on the breeze.

And it wasn't real. Real meant that a dream was a thing contained in a cheap pine picture frame, tacked on a cubicle wall. Real meant that lights were fluorescent and the only water in sight was bubbling tamely in the water cooler. Real meant that there were no sounds but the incessant clicking of six hundred keyboards. Dave looked up at the clock, then back at the computer screen, where he read that he had 23 new e-mails. He looked back up at the clock. 11:15. I think I'll go to lunch...

So Dave walked out of his office, and he went to lunch at the fast food joint across the street, and after he had finished his McRoadkill Sandwich, he waddled back out the door, stepped off the curb, and got hit by a garbage truck. At least, he almost got hit by a garbage truck. In point of fact, the garbage truck screeched to a halt approximately three millimetres from Dave's face, leaving him shaking. Dave never returned from that lunch break, because, you see, when his life had flashed before his eyes in a meaningless parade of colour and light, he had not seen one single thing of beauty.

several weeks later

Dave was at the hardware store. Actually, Dave had spent so much time there over the past few weeks that he was getting to know the employees on a first name basis. Dave had realized (a little later than he would have preferred) that his life up until that point had been acceptable enough, as lives go, but that it had not prepared him particularly well for what he was now attempting to do. Building a boat tends to require materials, knowledge, and most importantly, capital. Dave's problem was that he had relatively limited supplies of all three. The result of this was the creation of a fourth problem worse thatn the first three. Specifically, this problem was Old Dave. When Dave had quit his job, he had believed that he was abandoning a part of his life forever. Strangely enough, Old Dave seemed to have merely gone into hiding in the recesses of New Dave's mind, manifesting himself as a tiny voice of nagging self-doubt. Old Dave was making almost constant attacks on New Dave's fragile confidence, mostly to the effect of "If you do manage to build this boat(which you never will) it will be just as well because when it sinks to the bottom of the ocean like a rubber ducky with a belly full of lead and custom made cement booties I'll be there to say I told you so."On the whole, Old Dave and his common sense were making a thorough nuisance of themselves, and New Dave couldn't figure out how to shut them up. The best solution he'd come up with so far was to get completely plastered and hope that the killer hangover the next day would cripple Old Dave so badly that he couldn't say anything for a few days. The only snag was that New Dave, being a tangible reality, not just a thought, was crippled just as badly as Old Dave, if not worse. Eventually, Dave(squared) came to a compromise, although not before he'd experienced a series of progressively worse and uncomfortably long alcohol induced comas. This compromise was that both Old Dave and New Dave would try to listen more often to Young Dave, because everyone involved agreed that Young Dave had had things right before he sold out and got a job to pay the rent with. Unfortunately, Dave(cubed) had come to this decision several thousand dollars too late, which brings us back to the final requirement for building a boat (or any kind of dream). It is only possible to have capital if you have money, and in order to have money you need some sort of income- and despite his best efforts, Dave had no income due to a small incident a short while ago when he had set fire to his desk and danced around the office shouting "I quit I quit I quit mwahahahahahaha so long suckers!"

Anyway, back to the hardware store, which is where we left Dave. Although his cash flow was more like a stagnant, leaky pond, Dave was striding up and down the aisles purposefully with an itemized list of everything he needed for the final stage of The Dreamcatcher's construction. He was at this particular hardware store for several reasons, the first being that it was close to his apartment. Also, the store was warmer than his apartment since he'd ditched the heating bill, which he had deemed less essential than a new power drill. Also the employees at this store were his only remaining human contact, since his girlfriend had walked out (about the same time he'd cannibalized the car for parts and started selling the furniture), and all his friends were trying to get him committed (he'd mentioned the other two Daves.)

Dave wandered the aisles of the hardware store lost in the crumpled, precious blueprints that he carried with him everywhere. Occasionally he would look up in a bewildered fashion and pull something down off a shelf to study it before returning it with a sigh. Everything was awfully confusing. What was the point of having money if you couldn't catch your dream? And why was it that you couldn't catch your dream because you always needed money to pay for it but in order to get money you needed a job but what was the point of having a job if it was hell and it didn't leave you any time for your dream and then if you quit...Dave's brain hurt. He was beginning to think that the whole thing was some sort of conspiracy. Maybe nobody was ever allowed to catch their dream because then the world would stop spinning...or something. Dave pondered this for a while, and came to the conclusion that he was hungry. He checked his cart and his list, and then, because this would be his last trip to the store and because he had everything he needed for The Dreamcatcher, he added a Mars bar to his purchases and made his way to the front of the store. As each number came up on the screen at the checkout, Dave winced, and he slowly began to double over and hug his wallet protectively. By the time the clerk asked him if that was everything, sir, Dave could only respond with a muffled groan. The attendant handed him his bags and a receipt, and Dave, doing some mental addition and then a lot of subtracting, came to a rather painful conclusion. His worldly riches now added up to a grand total of $37.53.

Dave was as high as a kite as he jogged back along the streets in the direction of his apartment. The Dreamcatcher would be finished, and she would be beautiful, and then all he would have to do would be to find a job for a few months, and make enough money to ship her to the water. Without the expense of the rent for the apartment, and the gas for the car, and all those fancy dinners, he could get the money in no time, and find somewhere to go, and then...then he could do anything. So what if he had to move into the garage with his Dreamcatcher for a little while, and so what if he had to eat a lot of Kraft Dinner. All she had left were a few finishing touches; a final coat of paint and some cabin fittings. Then there would be nothing but blue skies and blue oceans and clear sailing into the sunset.

He slammed the door to the apartment with a crash that bounced around the bare walls and echoed in his head. He dropped, exhausted, into a hideous orangey-brown checkered recliner held together almost exclusively by duct tape, but he misjudged his distance and ended up on his back on the floor. Shit, he thought cheerfully as he stared up at the cracks in the ceiling. The small metal catch which had been the only thing that made it possible to classify the recliner as a chair and not a circus ride had long since rusted through, so that the chair flung any poor slob who was fool enough to try sitting in it flat on the ground, seeing stars. The chair was the only thing that Dave had been unable to sell, and in a way, he'd been kind of glad about that. The chair was his arch-nemesis and his best friend, right down to the tattered brown duct tape and the rusted springs. It had character, and a sense of humour. Dave thought that if people could be more like that chair, he might get along better with some of them. Looking around the empty apartment, he started to laugh.

When Dave opened up the cupboards in the kitchen, he found them empty, more or less. There were about ten boxes of Kraft Dinner, some old Nutrigrain bars, and a couple of bruised apples. No dishes though. Jen had probably taken those away with her- spoils of war. Dave ransacked the space under the sink for a saucepan, boiled the KD noodles and, substituting water for the milk, dumped in the cheese powder. He wandered absently around the empty rooms, eating the Kraft Dinner out of the saucepan with a wooden spoon. When he was finished, he left the saucepan on a windowsill and sat down cross legged on the floor to write a note to the landlord. Then he stuffed the ten boxes of KD into his pack, along with the Nutrigrain bars and the apples. He opened the fridge and grabbed the half empty carton of orange juice from the front rack, chugged it, then hurled the finished carton across the room and left, locking the door behind him. He slid the note and the key under the door to the landlord's flat and walked out of the building whistling.

Dave smelled the smoke from the end of the street. He stopped abruptly, because he had the strangest feeling that perhaps he should just drop everything and turn and run in the other direction. After a short, agonizing tug of war, he managed to peel his feet off the Velcro pavement and keep moving. Through the thick fog he could pick out the lights of a police car and a menacing bulk that his paranoia screamed had to be a firetruck. As he drew closer, Dave's urge to run away was renewed full force, but instead he forced his feet into a shambling run towards the garage. Only...there was no garage. With a feeling of unreality, Dave watched the smoke rise. It looked like the last few scenes of an action movie- the part where the hero climbs out of the smoking wreckage and says something impressive, then rides off into the sunset with the girl. Except without the sunset and the girl and the happy ending part. Just a silently screaming pile of ash and charred wood.

When the cop started speaking Dave couldn't hear him because he was listening to his poor boat screaming. The cop cleared his throat again pompously and repeated himself.

"Excuse me, sir, but we'd like to ask you a few questions."

Dave nodded and assumed a suitably serious and concerned expression, watching the cop flourish his clipboard and puff out his chest, answering monosyllabically. After the first few questions, Dave just wandered away. He picked his way around fire hoses and other equipment, leaving a trail of footprints in the ash. The cop and a couple of firemen stood back a little from the edge of the destruction, watching him. He stumbled over something and bent down to pick it up, brushing it off with his sleeve, but it started to crumble into dust and charcoal. The paint was peeled and blistered from the heat, but the letters were still mostly recognizable. Dreamcatcher. The fireman shook his head. Poor kid. This kind of thing always seemed so unfair. Dave's shoulders were shaking, and his face was buried in his hands.

"We're very sorry sir..." The cop trailed off. Dave looked up at him with slightly bloodshot eyes, his shoulders still shaking with uncontrollable laughter.

"I know. It's not fair, and I'm sorry too...no, wait, you don't get it. I am sorry, really I am...but, well...look."

The cop looked.

"Don't you see? It's funny. Because that's everything. That right there..."he gestured at the smoking wreck, and laughed again, "That's the future..."

And then, still laughing, he climbed back up the drive and wandered out into the foggy street. Maybe he didn't see the headlights of that garbage truck through the fog, or maybe it was the tears, and maybe he just didn't want to see it. Anyway, the driver of the truck didn't see Dave until it was too late. Much much too late. The cops scraped Dave up off the asphalt and assured the driver that it wasn't his fault, they had seen the silly bugger walk right out in front of him. He quit his job the next day though, anyway, because it was the second time that month.