Dream of: 20 July 1982 "About Nothing"

During the United States Civil War, I was watching a scene on a field beside a river. A group of black men, women and children were fighting for the South. On the field, with their backs to the black people, was a group of people with gray blankets over their heads. Apparently the people under the blankets were old and helpless, and the black people were preparing to attack them. The blacks were going to rush up behind the old people and kill them.

Many black women and children waited by the river as the black men began running toward the gray figures. The black men had their guns ready, but just as the black men reached the gray figures, the figures turned, threw off their blankets, and revealed that they were actually Union solders. The Union soldiers began shooting so quickly that the black men didn't have time to respond. The field was soon covered with dead black men. The same thing was happening to small groups of gray figures all over the field. It was a complete slaughter of the blacks.

After killing the black men who had been attacking, the Union soldiers turned their weapons on the black people still left by the river.

It seemed to me that I had been witnessing much slaughter on the battlefield lately.

Shortly thereafter I found myself in a large southern city, which I thought might be Atlanta. The town was occupied by both Union and Confederate soldiers. Both were walking around the streets. I myself was a high-ranking Union soldier, perhaps a captain. I was wearing a blue trench coat and a blue hat. I walked through the streets, observing how the blue and gray soldiers were together. I thought that was done for convenience at the moment, because both sides were occupying the city and they were only living together because they had to.

As I walked into what appeared to be a hotel, a swarthy man, perhaps a Mexican, was selling some trinkets. He said something to me as he tried to sell me something, and he actually put his hand on me. I jerked away, shot him a severe look and said, "Don't touch me."

He realized he had made a mistake and backed off. I felt authoritative in my blue uniform and I knew I could severely punish him.

I walked on into what appeared to be a mall, mostly brown in color. As I strolled around, I felt quite melancholy, saddened by the war. Not paying much attention to where I was going, I began climbing some stairs. A slim girl in a white top began walking next to me on my right. She was quite attractive. She had short brunette hair and a pretty face. She looked something like Colburn (a female law student).  I felt like putting my arm around her. I turned to her and said, "Would you like to go eat with me?"

She looked at me and responded "No."

She said she had just eaten. I said, "Well, how about a drink then?"

She looked back at me and said that she would have a drink with me, but that she thought everyplace was closed right now."

We walked to the top of the stairs. I saw a small restaurant which appeared to be closed. Then I saw two large double doors, and I suggested that we go in. As I opened up the doors, she said she didn't think this place was open. We walked through the doors into a luxurious restaurant. She said, "I've never been in here."

I had been in restaurants like this one before. In fact, it was the kind of place to which I was now accustomed. I was now accustomed to the more luxurious things in life. I walked in as if I owned the place. I thought she was probably not used to eating in nice restaurants like this.

We turned a corner and squeezed between a wall and a bench. We walked toward the back; quite a few people were seated in the restaurant. Tables were in the center of the room and booths were along the walls. She immediately walked over to one booth and sat down. A couple plates were on the table and some money was in one plate. I really didn't want to sit at this booth and I suggested that we move to another. 

She replied that the waitress was going to remove the plates, that the person who had been eating here had obviously finished. So I sat down at the table across from her. The waitress came and picked up the plates.

I began thinking of what I was going to order. I didn't want anything alcoholic. The waitress came to get our orders. I didn't think the girl wanted anything to eat, and I was surprised when she said she wanted a barbecue. I said, "Well, do you have chocolate malts?"

The waitress answered, "Yes. We have a special offering today on vegetable malts."

I said, Oh?", and she walked away.

The girl said, "Yea, see that sign over there."

I looked and saw a sign advertising a special. The sign said that a customer who ordered something would receive a 20% portion of a vegetable malt free as a sample. That seemed unusual to me, but I thought I would try it.

I stood, removed my long blue coat and hung it up. When I sat back down and we talked, I was still feeling rather warm, and realized I was wearing my brown suit. I stood, removed my brown jacket and hung it up. I sat back down and we talked.

I gradually began to feel that she was the daughter of a confederate officer. I tried to determine how old she was. She looked rather young. She was pretty, easy to talk with, and quite appealing to me. She seemed young and vivacious, while I felt old and haggard. I felt important in my capacity as an officer, but I felt old and melancholy.

Finally she looked at me and asked me if I knew what this was all about. I immediately knew she was referring to the war and I told her I had a vague idea of what it was about. I began trying to recall the origins of the Civil War. She looked at me and said, "Nothing. It's about nothing."

I looked up at her and said I really thought it was about something. I told her I couldn't men doing the things to each other that I had seen for nothing. I really believed there was some reason for the war. She looked at me as if I had convinced her. It appeared that she was also searching for an answer and was bewildered by all the events.

Our food came. She was served a large meal. The waitress also brought me a small plate of barbecued meat chopped up in small chunks. I began eating the meat, even though I didn't want to eat meat, and I liked the taste of it.

On the left of my plate were three forks. The two on the ends were short, and the one in the middle was long. As she was eating her food, she pointed to one of my forks and asked me something. I thought she wanted one of the forks, and I told her to go ahead and take it. She took the one in the middle and began eating her salad with the fork. I thought she was using the wrong fork.

She placed the fork she had taken from me on top of one of her forks at right angles to each other. She laid down another fork, then hit one of the forks with her hand. One fork flew up into the air, twirling round and round, until she grabbed it in mid-air with her hand. She looked at me, smiled and began eating with it. It had been a clever trick and I had been quite impressed. Her actions reminded me of Carolyn.

She began telling me a story. Apparently she actually was the daughter of someone stationed at a Confederate base. There was noting to do at the base and she had become bored. She had drunk some beer and partied. I looked at her and said, "I couldn't imagine you getting bored."

She said she had indeed been bored, but she didn't seemed bored being with me. It seemed that she was enjoying being with me as much as I was enjoying being with her.

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