It didn’t work with Norm the Cashier — dead — but it might with Wendy, another blue square of Earth just over there.
In a dream tonight, she shed something red and he did too: his red tie. They were on a beach in the dream and he was the dreamer and it was his beach. He’d been there a while but Wendy had just arrived — in red. Red Stripe Beach: that was the name, or that became it after the pivotal event. It was all leading somewhere…
Barry woke up, his back aching again. Sleeping on his pink plastic couch won’t hack it long term. He needs a proper bed! First Norm’s couch at the flower shop that was destroyed by a fire week before last and now this nearby place with only a couch again to crash on. Norm let him stay in her bed some nights, but that was it. “Nothing over 50%,” she said. “We must remaining playing just a game and not let it become a philosophy or even religion. We are not a religion,” she ended, puzzling the younger Barry who only wanted the friendly, loving warmth of female companionship. She returned to her cash register with this proclamation and he returned to her couch. The final, fated visit by Amazonia for the 49×61 payment was still days and maybe weeks away. The number 17 comes to mind. He was out and about when it happened, just roaming the streets of Black Ice and wondering if Norm and he had any kind of future. Apparently not, now, although he’d heard the witch doctors down at the market could bring the formerly living back from the dead, a favorite cat or dog, or even a girlfriend or wife for the price. Which he didn’t have anyway — and that’s how Norm got in trouble in the *first* place. He sighs. “Oh well,” he speaks aloud and moves to the other room to write down his dreams per usual before making breakfast. Toasty-O’s, the story of his life.
In another dream, Barry sits across from a guy named Jack Danielsun at a Toasty-O shaped bar but knows his actual name is Dimmy, like a lightbulb. Not the brightest, he ascertained from the dull conversation. Just another unschooled punk. He spoke of bartending at Phantom Hill and how he got there in a row boat from the other side of the rather large island he lived on. Again: not the smartest. And probably schizophrenic on top of it all.
(to be continued?)