Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Poison Belt – Book Review

Author –  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A review of The Poison Belt

I liked it, only because love is such a strong word.  As far as sequels go this doesn’t fall off the map but rather holds its own.  Of course leaping from the map would be an option in avoiding The Poison Belt.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, even in death, can never escape from that masterful detective we all know of but the crew he’s assembled in these ‘Challenger’ books are a worthy second banana in my book.  It brings me genuine comfort to read about the boisterous Professor Challenger, the cranky old Summerlee, that great hunter Lord John Roxton and our journalist Ed Malone.  Naturally I was excited to see what they were up to in this second go around.

            Knowing there were more ‘Challenger’ books following this one it was shocking to read that the entire human race and animal kingdom had died.  I really wondered where this story was going.  Was the next adventure to be a zombie apocalypse?  Can you imagine Doyle writing that?  I drool at the arguments between Challenger and Summerlee, “Clearly my close minded friend a human in such a state will revert to its primal instincts and seek the savory flesh of we who are not them!  Once again my hairy friend you don’t see that such a reanimation is impossible in every way.  What is to…All of us being engrossed in the debate left us unaware of one of the dead creeping up behind Summerlee and ripping flesh from his neck in the vilest of ways.  At any rate I suppose that had to be the proverbial hook for me.  What happens now if everyone is dead?

As it turns out everyone had been suffering from a condition that basically slows your heartbeat to unreadable levels and shuts down the body.  With each farfetched happening that came to be its Doyle’s ability to carefully write out of it and bring the story back from the dead – so to speak.  I found myself thinking that the story was about to head downhill like a boulder but he’d smash that hunk of granite every time.

            Decent portions of the book are of the dead people and what they were doing at the time of supposed death.  The crew drives to London as you see the aftermath of the fastest moving extinction I’ve ever read or watched in a movie.  How’d it happen?  The ether level on earth was the cause of the mass wipe out and was unique enough for me.  True it seems absurd and easily criticized, I’ll grant that but this is a work of fiction right?  You can bend rules when it’s not real, although it came across as real to me.  It’s more or less does it read well?  Yes, it does.

            Moving along, a point could be made as to how these four men could get together just in the nick of time for another memorable experience.  If the book had been thicker than a magazine it would’ve had room to include detail as to how the others assembled and what they have been up to the past three years.  I for one thought the fellowship gathered together nicely.  It was BANG there they are – let’s get on with the story.  If you’d read the previous book its pace isn’t as bothersome, however if you start here then you would be questioning much more as opposed to enjoying the book.  How do you use these characters with limited words?  Not with a long drawn out collection of old friends taking up half the book.

            Where was the adventure though?  That’s what put The Lost World over the top; instead it’s a camp out in Challenger’s house with oxygen tanks.  Which honestly I thought they’d be going on an underwater adventure – I could not have been more wrong.  Yes, I admitted that.  Lord John Roxton thrives outdoors, being delegated to drive the auto was demeaning.  Who wouldn’t like to see Lord John sling a shotgun from his back and blow apart some zombies?  Anyone?  Despite these few deficiencies, I read without a sigh or forced break.  When I sigh that’s a sign the story is going south.  It was interesting and if I was asked to read this book again I would.  I doubt it would be anytime soon but thus far The Lost World and The Poison Belt don’t disappoint.  I do look forward to the next book.

Friday, March 27, 2015

If You Can't Take the Heat..

Summer of 2000, I had turned eighteen and was going to get a job – my first.  With high school a couple months behind me and no college in sight I truly felt free.  The summer treated me well the highlight being a road trip to Alabama with my friend Spanky.  That’s no typo that’s his name.  We traveled by RV with a man named Bobby, my step dad at the time, and a couple of his friends.  Those couple of weeks were very fun but that’s a different story for perhaps another time.

            This is about the week of August 26, 2000, at my first job.  It started off much like the rest of summer, fun.  My friend Spanky used his pull at a restaurant, House of Pizza, to get me hired.  He worked there as well – things couldn’t be better.  In a way Spanky was like an older brother to me in those days.  I never thought of it until now.  A good guy that Spanky.  Anyway I worked in the back, making the pizzas, a perfect job for an eighteen year old that grew up during the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles era.  It was a busy restaurant in those days and early on I was just trying not to mess up.  I was one of many youths working in the back so that gave me some comfort.  I was quiet in those days more so than now.  One night I had to work a shift without Spanky, which helped me to not rely on him for everything at this job.  It was busy as usual and hot, very hot – it felt smoldering to me..

            I wasn’t used to such temperatures especially in small poorly ventilated areas.  This place had a giant six shelf, rotating oven that churned the heat out.  At the tail end of the dinner rush I asked my manager if I could go outside and get some air, I was dying.  I couldn’t fathom how the others could take it.  This was hell.  She looked at me with cold eyes, which seems impossible considering heat waves were rippling out from the oven nearby.  She asked if I could wait until the orders were caught up but I couldn’t.  I wanted to leave and never come back to be honest.  I wasn’t comfortable there it wasn’t for me.  I had to get away.

            She granted me leave although I know she thought little of me at that point but I could care less.  I hurried outside to get a welcoming blast of fresh air.  I breathed, relaxed and looked beside me.  There was another chap squatting near me also complaining of the heat – I wasn’t alone.  His name was John Wright he was a bigger fellow.  He didn’t last much more than month there.  I quickly gathered myself and returned to my station for fear of taking too long.  I, as usual, finished my shift quietly and walked home as I did in those days.  I thought long and hard (that’s what she said!) about continuing to work at that restaurant.

            I arrived home and talked with my mom about how work went.  She understood although I had mentioned I wanted to quit numerous times.  All she told me was to try it out for a few more days and see how it goes.  If worse came to worse I could quit.  I accepted that, not easily but I did.  Now what I failed to realize at the time was she probably didn’t want me to quit so soon especially due to the fact that earlier in the summer I never showed up to an interview for a local grocery store.  She was very upset at me that day – I remember it all too well, it wasn’t one of my finer hours.  Ask Spanky he was there – I was terrible in my laziness that moment.

            Being young none of that came to my mind though, I never even thought about that no show interview.  Instead I pressed on and put my nose to the grindstone and worked extremely hard from then on out.  It earned me two pay raises in the next month alone.  I quickly became one the best at my job behind Spanky of course.  I went on to work there on and off for the next six years.  I don’t often think of this moment in my life but it poked my brain the other night and now I feel as if I have no choice but to write it down.

            Is there a moral to this story?  I’d say if someone gives you honest advice digest it and try it out.  I have some fantastic memories as well as woeful ones I gained from that job that are something I value now.  I learned a good many things over my tenure there and out of all the places I’ve worked since I dream of this one the most.  In those dreams I’m always returning to pick up where I left off on the pizza line.  It’s but a dream but I like to think that it means something.  And remember if you can’t take the heat – give it another try.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Study of Scarlett (Chapter 4)

My Subject & I - Early Moments

On this day we walked back to the Jockey Club Clinic for Scarlett’s hearing test.  She passed with completely normal scores.  She fussed momentarily before the nurse put the fitting device into her ear then she quieted down.  With everything finished we returned home safely.

            For now the above paragraph is what I’ll send in my report.  The below is a private journal entry I keep for myself.  It’s only what I saw which cannot be trusted as truth.

            The documentation in this chapter consists of two photographs (I did send with report) I casually took outside the clinic’s boundaries.  The barbed wire fencing that completely encircles the compound suggests the kinds of activity that goes on inside.  Why would a clinic in a city as safe as Hong Kong need such defenses?  Perhaps it’s not for those trying to get in but rather those who are in to get out.

Outside the Clinic
            Our subject is of a rare case, which inevitably will bring her into highly uncommon situations on a more regular basis.  Although this clinic appears inside and out to be a routine place for treatment I did notice one unusual phenomenon.  It occurred as my daughter was being tested.  I sat with a clear view out the open door.  The empty hallway stretched quite a distance.  I glanced down the corridor and toward what appeared to be its end I saw a small figure step into view from a room no doubt.  Thinking nothing of it and awaiting Scarlett’s results I returned my eyes to the test in progress.  That’s when my mind put the image of the small figure back in the front view of my brain.  I must have looked dumbfounded because I realized what I had seen.

            I turned my head back to the corridor but there was nothing.  I went to get up but thought it better to remain.  I am bound to the study of Scarlett.  I could not shake the image from my head no matter how much I tried.  As my eyes flickered from hallway to my little babe I knew I could not have been mistaken.  I saw a baby no older than my own walking upright!  It was far too tiny to even be the shortest of people even by genetic defect.  The locals are generally smaller than average but it couldn’t be one of them.  I know what I saw.  I was baffled by the manner in which the baby walked, as though it had well versed in it.  It strode in an adult like manner.  I was lost for words.

Mom & Daughter
            As the test concluded and all was well I desperately tried to see the tiny figure one last time to confirm my suspicion but there was nothing.  We would be making journey’s back to this clinic in the future so another chance would be forthcoming.  Scarlett is well now but could these tests be the beginning of similar advanced physical characteristics?  Will she be able to hear more keenly after today?  I wondered.  How could we discover if she could hear more acutely?  As we walked out the gate, snapped some photos and made our way home I muttered to myself in nothing more than a whisper.  My eyes caught our little squirt’s that was clearly out of range to hear me but she smiled and gave me what I perceived to be a wink.


Monday, March 23, 2015

The Scarlet Pimpernel – Book Review

Author –  Emmuska Orczy

A review of The Scarlet Pimpernel

My entire knowledge pertaining to this most amazing book consisted of Daffy Duck masquerading as the Scarlet Pumpernickel.  What a sad truth to admit.  I hardly remember the Looney Tunes version I seen as a child so thankfully nothing was spoiled.  I do wonder what took me so long to read it though.  Perhaps fate knew I was ready to appreciate it at this time.  Which would make tremendous sense, as my younger self would probably have thought this was a boring story.  It however is truly a wonderful read.

I likened to the book in no time, as the idea that the Englishmen were saving the aristocrats from France out of sport was shocking.  Rescuing those rich French people wasn’t out of nobility, to be a hero or simply to do what’s right but because it’d be a challenging activity.  Finally a quirky reason to risk one’s life and in doing so breaking the mold in storytelling, I can’t help but to be impressed.

Lady Marguerite and Sir Percy’s relationship played out very well.  He appears to be seen as a rich dimwit and she a popular na├»ve beauty in the public’s eye.  Actually he pulled off the charade at all times which is quite admirable.  Marguerite was none the wiser.  I’m not sure if the story would have worked so well if not seen through her eyes.  As she was the actual clueless one of the two it was fun trying to put the mystery together as she plodded her way along.

It was very entertaining to get a taste of 1792 in England and France.  I’m sure the era was at times terrifying to live in but the visual sense in this story is satisfying.  As I read England had this vibe of safety, freedom and a sort of utopia while France was dangerous, confining and out of control.  I couldn’t help but hope that the rich people would get saved from that mighty guillotine.  Well actually I wanted to see how the Scarlet Pimpernel would sneak them to paradise.  The drab old lady rescue at the beginning and the old Jew disguise at the end were both fantastic.

Reading about Marguerite’s character growth was compelling to me.  I wasn’t totally on board with her to start but somehow I accepted her as the main character and began to root for her to improve as a person.  I’m not meaning she is perfect now as the story took place over only a few days but that amount of time in certain situations can help you grow up fast.  She still struggled to put two and two together when it became clear whom the Scarlet Pimpernel was which makes her human and relatable.

If you decide to read this book don’t expect costumed people with swords at their side slicing through Paris leaving a bloody mess.  The story manages to omit violence, aside that nasty guillotine, and still provide a suspenseful story.  If you like the era it was written, 1903 I believe, then that can only help make your decision to read all the more easy.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Lost World – Book Review

Author – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A review of The Lost World

I’ve now read two books by different authors bearing this title.  This is the one I like more which speaks volumes since the other was written by my favorite author Michael Crichton.  I relish a story that has adventure, exploration, party formation and great dialogue.  This book struck gold, (or shall I say diamonds?) on all fronts.

            I knew little of this book other than what the title suggests and that the author wrote Sherlock Holmes, one my favorite all-time characters to read.  There’s nothing more exquisite than reading a book you know practically nothing about, I hardly ever read summaries.  As the story drew to an end it was a book I was most satisfied with in it’s conclusion and the idea left in the final sentence would make me very excited to read another tale involving at the least Mr. Malone and Lord John Roxton.  I wouldn’t mind owning a physical copy of this book as I read the e-book this time.

            Should I even go into the story itself?  A book I like so much I’d hate to spoil in a review for the interested reader.  But alas I’ll strike on a few points I can’t restrain myself from.  Mr. Malone, our narrator, opts to prove his worth to a girl he has grown to love by partaking in the expedition to The Lost World to fulfill her fancy of belonging to a man she can be honored by.  A sad day awaits our young man in the final pages when upon return from said journey she has chosen to wed a mere clerk.  I’d say its better for him, as a woman of such mind would no doubt be folly to spend a life with.  Anyway I still liked the draw of his want for joining the party on the whims of a girl asking the incredulous.

            The difference between the characters was well balanced.  It gave for delightful companionship and very humorous conversation.  I also liked the progression of the story it had wonderful pacing.  I read, read, and read because it had me hooked from one leg of the journey to the next.  It was interesting to find out who and how the next obstacle would be conquered.  The storytelling ability of Doyle really makes it a fun adventure.  As the story wrapped up and the characters, which were mostly strangers to one another at first, then grew together it was tough to see them disband.  I would happily read further accolades involving these men.

            A Lost World, in itself, is a unique idea and one would imagine that would make for all a story needs but the intertwining of the people made the book complete.  It makes it an instant favorite for me.  The descriptions of the extinct scenery are short and precise so its not bogged down by lengthy ramblings.  I enjoy reading books from this era.  I believe 1912 was when this story released.  To me it’s a way to view the past and admire it in an entertaining fashion.  As far as recommending books I highly put this atop the list especially if you’re curious about works from this era.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Study of Scarlett (Chapter 3)

Welcome to My World!

Interesting developments continue to unfold with our subject Scarlett.  We’ve chosen to take the runt to the hospital, don’t freak first and foremost, but there are some conditions, physically; we would like to have checked out.  So it’s into the stroller for our little one, she sleeps as we make our way to a nearby hospital.  It’s the same as the one she was born in.

The day is sunny; at last, the clouds have decided to stop pestering Hong Kong.  My friends and family most likely envy mere overcast as bad weather.  On our way we slice through a park methodically like a knife making a gashing wound in your side.  Err; probably don’t need to make it that colorful.  Anyway I want to take pictures of Scarlett in her first stroller outing, however, we need to be at the hospital by 11:20am.  That’s right we allotted enough time to make it there without any delays but perhaps on the way back.

A couple things to share at my expense: I’ve been given a camera to use to snap lots of pictures of our little squirt from my wife’s dad, I’ve been, umm, lacking to do so lately.  Why a camera, (digital even!), because he likes to make prints, you know its like a flat real life version of you, froze still and stuck on paper.  That way he can see how his granddaughter is changing in these early months when he may be unable to see her.  Its admirable enough and shows that all empowering word – love.  I hoped our walk would prove a wonderful time to pick up my slack.  It’s not that I don’t take pictures or videos but we all use our phones for those things now.  It’s a surprise we don’t use them to wipe our rear ends with yet.  Anyway it’s the quality!  A digital camera does have that on all these devices we pour our minds into nowadays.

My second folly was my wife’s mom, yes I’m picking on my Chinese parents, would be coming back home with us from the hospital and I thought we may taxi it, so I was crushed my photo opportunity may be missed.  It’s these early moments I found I wanted to capture.  Being so young little Scarlett hasn’t been able to get out so I was filled with excitement when we finally would go out.  Right about the taxi and mom – well she has a bum knee so I’d never want to push her to walk more than she was comfortable with.  I may be crazy but I’m not stupid.  I did manage to keep from crying – OK one tear!

            Lets skip ahead.  After we check in our daughter, my wife goes to join her in the examination room to get the rundown on her body.  (What is a rundown?!)  I opt to stay in the waiting area; usually my wife will let me know if I should join, it was a call I made to stay.  I’m not a negligent dad.  Don’t turn me in social media.  ‘We want to get you in trouble!  The hell with what’s right or wrong!  We want to be judge jury and executioner!’  Ranting, your voice on display for good or bad.  Mom arrives shortly after and notices I’m alone, she demands why I’m not with my wife – No!  She would never say anything of the sort.  She joins her daughter though – I continue my waiting.

Grandma & Scarlett
I open an e-book on my I-phone to read A Modern Utopia by H.G. Wells – I recommend it, so you should read it too, of course after finishing my collected works here.  But enough with promoting a book over 100 years old, kids are frolicking all around me.  One mother, a younger woman, is continually chasing around a little boy.  All the while she has a flat pink rectangular piece of plastic smashed against her ear chattering away like a parrot with an oversized vocabulary.  She is half-heartedly doing both.  Sometimes she stops chasing the boy, lowers the pink tablet away from her ear (interrupting her conversation, unbelievable!) enough to say, “Where are you going?” to a two-year-old boy, maybe even younger.  He’s potential thinking; uhh I’m going wherever I want if nobody is going to, you know, look after me with more effort.  Now I’ll stop here – I didn’t call her out for being negligent as I previously stated but you need to get a proper handle on your child.  He gradually began to push his limits, knocking things over, trying to open the glass door to leave the room continually.  No, I confess it doesn’t seem terrible but the waiting room has many people in it, have respect for others and don’t let your kid make you look like a hapless fool.  My counter to any who say, “If you had a two year old boy let’s see what you’d do!”  Well ~ a young lady arrived shortly thereafter and a boy, I’d suppose is her son of near the same age as the other, sat calmly near me watching the other kid run wild.  It’s not a huge deal, it doesn’t affect me but I wanted to include it here anyway.  I’ve deviated from the whole point of writing these case studies of Scarlett.  Let’s rejoin her.

Umbilical Hernia
            My little mixed bag of fun has an umbilical hernia which when I heard made me a bit startled.  She’s had a protruding belly button for a short time now and my wife and I didn’t know what it was.  Search it on the Internet right?  The world’s infinite library of knowledge can never fail you.  The hernia looks like, as my wife noted, “She has a ping-pong ball” sticking out.  It would have to be a ping-pong ball – Chinese!  I had a hernia when I was a wee lad decades ago so I’m thinking surgery for a one month old!?  I was sorely mistaken – it’s actually rather common and will go away in a year or less.  That’s welcoming news to any ignorant parent.  The Internet actually gave more information than the person who checked Scarlett.  It’s some of her intestine that pushed up through the stomach muscle causing the ‘ping-pong ball’ shape to protrude.  There was agreement that it would go away in less than a year.

            The other concern is tiny clumped little bumps on her head.  Like goose bumps at first glance, almost like pimples, which seems odd – I know they grow up fast but this would be ridiculous.  Turns out there is such a condition as baby acne.  It can occur when the baby gets too hot.  It may have something to do with her color change ability but I thought best not to reveal that to the doctor at such a time.  She was given some skin treatment cream so we’ll see how that goes.  She shows no outward signs of pain or discomfort.  The Internet told me babies don’t even feel the acne.  Further inquiries must be made.

            A happy finale to the afternoon’s event saw my wife – her mom and myself walk home while pushing Scarlett along.  At the park, which we returned through, we took some photos to commemorate the day.  Not a national holiday, nor historical date, not even an anniversary of some kind but rather it was a splendid day with my daughter.  The study of Scarlett will continue.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Modern Utopia – Book Review

Author – H.G. Wells

A review of A Modern Utopia

I admire what H.G. Wells attempted to do with this idea of utopia.  In our modern time such a place, as utopia isn’t in the minds of man, as it would appear to have been back in Wells era.  I’ve never read a book on this topic and didn’t realize what I was getting into.  Having now read one I’m glad my first was Wells take on it.  I’ve read four of his books, this making five, but this one stands in a different light.

            What I thought was creative was the two characters who have traveled to utopia were never actually there.  It was a private discussion on what could make the perfect utopia.  It doesn’t read that way until the end and that’s what makes this book worth looking at.  It’s quite an intellectual read; there are ideas that really intrigued me.  The samurai is a class in society that anyone can join so there is no discrimination against anybody on the planet.  That’s right, this utopia is worldwide, not delegated to one fantastical piece of magic space set aside for a select few who can find it.  This view completely changed what little I knew of utopias in the first place.

            He is trying to purify the world and that creates quite a bit of controversy.  I completely understood those challenges he tried to take on.  What race is the best?  Is there a best?  Do you allow stupid people to breed?  Should there be a cap on the world’s population?  All of these have to do with humanity, which will always be the sensitive side of the building of utopia, but the questions are valid.  The state of the current world is a mess, as most any intelligent person would agree.  People killing people is an effect of the very reason why certain people should be kept from breeding.

The use of money as a tool for power is ridiculous in itself as Wells alludes to.  There wouldn’t be slaves; everybody would work to contribute to utopia.  What he is suggesting is humanity coming together as one organism in a sense to make life easier on each individual.  That works best when everyone gets involved.  Although there would still be different levels of work, the stupid couldn’t possibly keep up with the more thought invoking tasks but there would be put in place plenty of programs to educate everyone.  Thus there can be no excuse to not be given a chance to learn.  It’s all conjecture but it’s fascinating.

What I find tiresome is the manner in which some of the less interesting aspects of utopia are explained.  It requires focus to read through these areas and after reading them there are most likely a couple snippets of information that are worthwhile to log away.  I like Wells style.  I like the daring way he writes.  He doesn’t hold back his ideas and truthfully tells it how it is.  If this book were written in a way that shared those ideas through the characters more, thus creating a story-like atmosphere it would read smoother.  I still enjoyed it but I prefer the other books I’ve read of his so far.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Chased Forever?

Part I
It begins visually, well of course it does but this dream thrived on it compared to most dreams I have.  The clarity of each moment nearly fooled me that it was a true memory of mine.  Green grass matted down forming a six-foot wide meandering pathway with dense high foliage to either side is the first image.  I was walking this path although not used enough to be considered a trail, for there was no dirt streak as commonly found.  The environment was that of I-80/94, a highway, in which these hilly grassy paths ran along either side.  Although like many dreams it was a distorted version.  The highway was busy with traffic moving to and fro although on the grassy path you’d never know for there was no noise to be heard.  At this point in the dream I only knew I was going somewhere without knowing its ending point.  Now that common occurrence in dreams happens when the scene shifts without notice or explanation.

Part II
            A low ceilinged, small room now becomes the surrounding area.  The lights are dim, in fact half the fluorescent lights don’t even work and one set of them flickers.  The dream is darker now, with a sense of insecurity creeping about.  I look around and realize this is a business of some sort.  There are used DVDs and various video games for sale on a couple racks nearby.  At this point I am aware that I am married with a baby at home and after I’m done in this shady-looking shop I will return on my way home to them.  It was but a split second this information passed into my mind then returned to the dream.  Without knowing how I came to understand I was in a poor part of town, in my hometown actually, although the area I was in wasn’t slum at the time but the dream doesn’t paint it that way.

Two grey-headed men ran this shop.  I turned to see one of them amble off into a back room then I shifted my attention back to the racks of merchandise.  Indiana Jones, with Harrison Fords mug occupying the entire cover caught my eye.  It was an image from Raiders of the Lost Ark I’m sure of.  I also saw Wii cases but no memorable titles.  At that juncture I was suddenly at a low counter in the same shop facing one of the unrecognizable grey-headed men.  The dream had propelled me further but not quite enough to change scenes.  He twiddled a five-dollar bill (USD) in his fingers, gave a sneer, and then handed me one-dollar bill in return.  I knew that couldn’t be right although said nothing, the dream seemed to know (it was fixing it, I trusted the dream), the other grey headed man counseled with the other upon agreeing to warrant me one more dollar bill which seemed to end any further debate.

Which item I had supposedly bought I did not know, nor does it have any further implication in this dream.  Before leaving, and not entirely sure when this thought popped into my mind, I had a feeling getting robbed could be a very real possibility in an area such as this.  However it didn’t seem as big a concern as it should have been.  I continued on my way worry free.

            I stepped outside and turned right which would have been the correct direction to return home even in this mock hometown of mine.  Upon glancing around I’m at the corner of roughly White Oak & 173rd.  The building I left doesn’t exist.  Instead houses make up the space but not here.   I see a man, a broken mangled chain linked fence behind him with weeds sprung up here and there to help create this now unsafe atmosphere.  He wore a tan beanie, had a black goatee, stood short and did not appear friendly which happened to make the scene suddenly frightening.  He pulled out a wooden handle pistol from his right pocket holding it straight at me.  I thought immediately, “It figures I’d get robbed after thinking about it.”

He demanded my belongings, I obliged by sliding my left hand into my front left pocket, where I never would keep my wallet but here it was along with a tablet cell phone.  The wallet was brown and leather, a gift from my mother a very long time ago, I still use it today.  The tablet-like phone, I don’t know where that came from.  I knew it wasn’t my phone but the dream told me it was so I accepted it readily.  The slick surface of the phone face rubbed against the wallet, making it difficult to take only the wallet out.  I was intent on not revealing the phone I know not why at that point.  The goatee man hurried me with a spray of quick shouts.  Eventually I pulled the wallet out alone and handed it to him.  My hands were up.  I pleaded with my eyes, to scared to chance a word.  There were only some fifteen dollars in the wallet, which now dawn on me why I gave it over instead of the phone as well.  I chanced giving over as little as I afford to lose.  The phone vanishes from thought now and never returns to the dream.

The man slowly lowered his gun exasperated, disappointed at the amount no doubt. He then looked different, he no longer appeared unfriendly or mean but rather guilty as if he didn’t really want to be robbing anymore, as if he was pressured into it and wanted no part in it anymore.  No words were uttered.  The man turned and ran away from me, beyond the miserable chain linked fence, across a diagonal set of railroad tracks.  To go away from the dream for a moment this man’s behavior resembles Draco Malfoy.  Inwardly he is struggling which life he wants, one of good or bad nature.  This could be due to watching the Harry Potter string of movies over the past month.  It seems reasonable enough a connection.

Why I half followed after him I don’t know, I stood upon the tracks, which were elevated as on a hill looking down as the man ran into an old warehouse a few hundred yards away.  These railroad tracks replace a bike path in reality.  A black man looked at me then at the other man, he stood about halfway to each of us in the middle.  He shouted something to the other along the lines of “he saw you.”  It was meant that I had seen too much, of what I do not know, because now the dream told me it was time to go.  I made my way down the railroad tracks knowing I would be followed.  The scene blinks now and I am now in an entirely different area.

Part III
            Its night now and I’m in an unknown backyard.  I deduce I’m still in the poor unsafe neighborhood.  The same sense of insecurity from the last part remains.  I bump into someone at this stage and he appears Latino.  He reminds me of someone I knew long ago, from high school although I can’t confirm it.  It’s impossible to make out who it is.  Its as if he is blurred from head to toe, only being able to make out a couple features.  He knows I’m being chased, again no idea how, and we quickly form a plan to thwart my pursuer.

My mystery friend takes cover near the house off to our left.  Not long after the man from the last segment with the gun has found me.  I’m too far away from the house for a successful ambush so I plead at the man who edges closer to me with gun aimed, I back away slowly until my friend is able to spring upon him unawares.  We wrestle with him and loose his gun away.  We have him down and defeated but we make to run as the dream tells me that there are others still pursuing me.  Its possible the fear and panic also told me to flee, either way this scene ends.

Part IV
            My surroundings take quite a turn now.  I’m in a vacation type of city environment, a combo of Florida and Branson, Missouri.  I’m now entering a building and at last feel safe.  The atmosphere is booming, many people around, the sun shines through the windows, giving me a sense of protection against the people of the night.  The shear relief at being somewhere secure is amazing.  I turn a corner to enter a room from a hallway and see another familiar face from my past, Mike Zubrick, he looked as he did the last I saw him some five years ago or so, grey haired, in good shape for a man nearing seventy.  I worked with him in my late teens and early twenties at a pizza place, my first job.  He was a genius at math and sort of a mentor to me on the job – I’ve always respected him.

I grabbed him desperately by the shoulders, shaking him back and forth shouting his name a few times.  It was then I realized how torn and tattered my cloths were I was dirty.  How long have I been on the run?  What has happened since the last scene of this dream?  Finally my old friend recognizes me and I learn he works at the job I have most recently quit which happens to be another pizza place.  I worked there from mid-twenties to early thirties.  His cloths are inside out but I see the logo that represents the corporation he works for on his sleeve.  Like mine his cloths are ripped and holey as well, although I ignore that.  As I’m talking with him about who knows what, dialogue is sparse in this dream.  People talk but the words aren’t recognizable.  Mike shifts into another old man I worked with.  One moment I see him clear as day, I turn my head casually away from him for a second and when I turn back he is replaced with…

Art, a man who had similar qualities and features as Mike, he worked with me more recently at the second pizza place and being sixty years of age.  Aside general appearance, a knack for math and being a mentor figure at work they are usually who I think of first when I think of my two jobs I worked at in my youth.  It only made sense in the dream I viewed them as the same person.  Nearing the end of this scene, in the hallway I arrived from, the man with the gun lumbered down the way.  He was trashed. He had a bruised eye, swollen cheek, and was just in a worn beat up state.  He passed by not showing anything on his face except a blank expression void of any thought.  He hunched as he walked, never saying a word, just shuffling along.   Could I have been the one who pummeled him so?  The thought grieved me.  Then I walk outside as the scene shifts ever so slightly.  It remains the same part however.

            Looking down the street, the bustling is gone, people are scarce, and the sunlight is blocked by overcast.  The buildings look rundown, abandoned and unsafe.  I’m back in the wrong neighborhood, I walk down to the corner, and I see some shady characters.  I glance overhead to see a sign it reads ‘Cinema’.  It’s broken and a wreck – its been closed for years.  I have a queasy feeling, like a twilight zone moment where I’m destined to not make my way home.  I decide to go back inside.  When I get to the door, its glass, I can see through it.  It’s not the same place inside either, no surprise.  I open the door and step in, I feel uncomfortable at once.

I walk forward to see a man sitting at a table facing me.  As I near him I discover I know him, Its Wyatt Titus jr.  Instant relief flows through me.  It is astonishing what one small familiar piece of what you know can calm your nerves in an otherwise alien place.  I take a seat and we talk.  He informs me he knows a way to get me home, us home.  He talks as if we’re trapped, trying to escape where we are.  I pay no mind I just want to leave.  As the conversation goes on it becomes apparent Wyatt isn’t being truthful, it becomes clear he plans to turn me over to my pursuers, the shock stifles me, I didn’t want to believe it.  The dream ends.

This dream occurred on February 17, 2015 and to this day has stayed fresh and crisp in my mind.  What is it that makes certain dreams memorable?  I don’t know if this dream has any substance to it but the urge to pull it from my mind and present it here had to be done.