Dream of: 15 February 1995 "Fidelis"

I was sitting in a small student's desk in one of the rear seats of a classroom. Probably about 30 other adults were sitting in similar desks in the classroom. Sitting near me was Wheat. In front of the room, seated at a large desk and facing the class, was a black man (probably in his 40s) who apparently was going to teach the class. The teacher was also a bankruptcy trustee; apparently all the people in the classroom were lawyers who had come to learn something about bankruptcy. Some of the lawyers had actual cases pending with the trustee.

Another man was standing beside the trustee, helping him, and when the trustee pulled out a file to go over, the two of them began looking over the papers, and reciting to the class what they found. They read over a list of the bankruptcy debtor's property. They also recited the value of the various items of property, and how much the debtor had exempted to be able to retain.

Their attention was obviously aroused when they saw a refrigerator listed with the property. They could tell that several thousand dollars had been paid for the refrigerator. Under federal bankruptcy law, a person could only exempt up to $400 for any one household item. So if the refrigerator was worth more than $400, the debtor would have to pay the difference to any creditors who weren't being paid. I whispered to Wheat that he should pay attention to this because it was something which rarely happened. The bankruptcy papers had probably been prepared by an inexperienced attorney, because an experienced attorney would have avoided this problem. Since I knew much more about bankruptcy law than Wheat, he might not be familiar with this type of situation.

The bankruptcy trustee called out for the attorney who had prepared the papers to come up. A man probably about 30 years old walked up and stood by the trustee. I told Wheat that the trustee probably had never met the attorney, and that was part of the reason the trustee was giving him a hard time. Things usually went smoother once an attorney and a trustee got to know each other. But this attorney was probably just starting out, and was learning the hard way.

The trustee then called up the bankruptcy debtor, who was also in the class. The debtor was a woman (probably in her 30s). When she walked up, the trustee immediately began questioning her about the refrigerator. She quickly admitted that it was worth far more that $400. The trustee looked as if he had scored a victory. He indicated that the attorney and the debtor should go with him and his companion, and the four of them left the room.

In their place, an image of the trustee came on a movie screen in the front of the room. The people in the class quickly recognized that it was an advertisement which the trustee ran on local television for his law practice. People in the room began making fun of it by shouting "Amen" and "Yes, sir" when the trustee would say something in the commercial.

When the commercial ended, I began thinking about what I was doing there. I was thinking about practicing law again. I could practice bankruptcy law, but the economy was better now and there wasn't such a need for bankruptcy lawyers as there had been a few years before. I could even become a trustee; Wheat might also like to be a trustee. It was merely a matter of putting one's name on a list. But it would take a long time to be chosen. I could go into a different field, such as divorce law. Or I could even handle criminal appointments at the courthouse. But none of it really appealed to me.

I began feeling restless. I had slipped off my black dress shoes, and looked around the room to see if anyone else had taken off theirs. Several people had; but I still felt uncomfortable about not wearing my shoes, and I decided to put them back on. I slipped my left foot in the shoe, but I had to stand up to get it back on. After I finally had it back on I sat down on the carpeted floor behind my desk, pulled up a pillow and began reading a novel.

I had only started when someone came into the room and announced that I had a phone call. As I stood up and walked out, people began shouting, "Go! Go!" as if I were on a football team and was going into the field.

I walked down some stairs and at the bottom was handed a phone. My mother was on the other end. She was obviously distraught. She was calling from her home in Portsmouth. Clearly she wanted me to come back there and live, and she couldn't understand why I didn't. She said she had heard strange things from people in the steelworkers' union about something I had done many years ago. I didn't know what she was talking about, but thought it might have something to do with drugs.

She then made some obscure remark about a "fidelis." I wasn't sure what a "fidelis" was, and I tried to extract from her what she was talking about. After much effort I realized what had happened. She had taken $32,000 from the bank and buried it in a lot next door. She had bought this lot for me to live on. Apparently she was going to give me the money and thought she should bury it there on the lot. I realized she was half insane, and that I must do something immediately about the money.

***

I was standing on the lot with my mother. She was probably in her late 50s, and looked as if she had lost touch with reality. I could see the space on the lot which she had dug up and filled back in with dirt. It was about two meters by two meters square. The lot was in a residential area, and a sidewalk ran along beside it. Clearly anyone could walk up here and dig up the money.

I picked up a shovel and began digging. I only had to dig two or three spadefuls before I hit a cardboard box. When I pulled it out, I saw that it was actually an egg carton filled with rolls of coins. I dug up a second carton and saw that it was filled with bills. At first I thought that might be all, but then I dug a little deeper and found another carton filled with money.

My mother's actions were obviously crazy. I didn't know what I would have to do about her. I didn't want to have her committed, but if she were going to lose all her money, it might be necessary to take her to court to have her declared mentally incompetent.

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