Dream of: 05 December 1995 "Ability To Fly"

I was sitting at a wooden desk in a dimly lit classroom where perhaps ten other students were scattered at other seats throughout the room. Not paying much attention, I was called to the front of the room and I was abruptly told I had been expelled. Dazed, I walked out of the classroom, exited the building, and began walking down a busy city street.

My thoughts were thoroughly scattered – I had never been expelled from school before. It was true that I hadn't been deriving much benefit from the class and that I had even thought of quitting – but to be so ignominiously expelled was another matter.

It seemed cold out, as if it might have been snowing. I stumbled along toward home, still thinking. I recalled that my wife Carolina and I had also recently separated. The full jolt of the separation was also now beginning to hit me, especially since I had learned she wanted half of everything we owned. Since I only had about $100,000, I would be left with only $50,000 – not even enough to live on. Things looked grim.

I made it back to the building where I was living. The building looked like a large old house probably close to 100 years old. Most rooms were gutted inside and being repaired. The man who owned the house was doing the repair work himself, and he lived in a couple of the rooms while he worked there. To reach my room, I passed through his rooms, and saw him there. How orderly he kept everything in his rooms! Especially striking was the large number of tools he had and the way he kept them in order. He must have had over 100 hand tools, all of which were hanging on the walls. Each tool had been outlined on the wall, and the outlines had been blackened-in to give a silhouette of the tool. Thus the man was always able to look at the wall and determine where a tool should be hung. I myself had a few tools which I thought I might ought to hang on the wall that way.

I continued on to my living quarters. Originally I had only occupied one room; but I had recently been given an additional adjoining room. I had already placed a few things in the new room, which was going to become a living room. In one corner sat an old upright bureau with a mirror on it. I had already set a few things on the bureau and I could see the bureau would tend to become a place where I would just lay things in a disorderly fashion.

I still needed to bring most things into the room; I contemplated where I would put a couch. A scattering of odds and ends were already sitting around; I began gathering up a few things so I could put them where they belonged.

I picked up a small white plastic bottle about six centimeters tall. Unable to remember what was in the bottle, I tried to pour out the contents. Since nothing came out, I had to try to pull out whatever was inside with my fingers. Finally something which looked like a dried white pasta – fettuccini perhaps – fell out. That seemed to open things up, and more things began falling out of the bottle.

All sorts of pills began falling out. There must have been 100 different colored and different sized pills which poured out onto the table in front of me. I tried to remember where I had obtained this bottle, but I couldn't seem to recall. I vaguely thought I might have a friend who was a doctor and I had obtained the pills from him, but that didn't seem right, because it seemed that once before I had gone to this doctor and asked for a prescription of some mood altering drug and he wouldn't give me the prescription; so I didn't think these pills had come from him.

I didn't know what to do with all the pills. I thought I might have to buy one of those pill books I had seen in stores which describe all the various types of pills. Who knew, there might be some good ones in this batch that I would like to take. I remembered when I had been in high school, my classmate Duff used to buy bunches of pills like this and sort through them for good ones. He would know what to look for.

Some other things also came out of the bottle. There were two old black and white pictures which had fallen out. Each was a picture of a person, and each was rather interesting. I put the pictures off together to the side, thinking I wanted to keep them and not lose them.

Another black and white picture fell out. It was the scene of a landscape which I thought might be in Colorado because mountains were in the background. In the foreground stood a hill which appeared to be made of rock. It appeared that several houses had been carved out of the rock in the side of the hill. The front facade - carved from the rock - of each house could be seen, and in the middle of each facade was a door which apparently led to the interior of a house which had been created inside the hill. I wondered how old the houses were.

Behind the hill with the houses was another hill where mining appeared to be taking place. Looking closer at the second hill, I saw a flat area which had been cleared off, and on the flat area I saw what looked like two miniature mushroom clouds from nuclear explosions, but the clouds were so small I knew they couldn't have been the result of nuclear explosions – they must have been made from dynamite. Whoever had taken the pictures had snapped the pictures just at the instant when the dynamite had exploded.

Finally I found something else in the plastic bottle: a number of crisp new fifty dollar bills. There must have been ten of them; I now recalled I had put them into the bottle about six months ago.

Immediately upon finding the bills I became possessed with the idea that I needed to cash them in. By that, I thought that since the bills were brand new and in such good condition, someone who collected currency would pay more than $50 apiece for them.

Without further delay I snatched up the bills and departed the house. I hurried down a city street, intending to go to a building downtown where I thought I knew of a place where somebody dealt in currency. As I rushed along, however, I began somewhat to realize the folly of what I was doing. These bills were probably not going to be worth anything more than $50, no matter how good condition they were in. Keeping the bills had been silly of me. If I had put the money in the bank, I could have collected interest on it. If I could have gotten 10 percent interest per year on $500, then over a six month period I would have collected $25. Although  I now realized that I would collect no more than face value for the bills, I was still determined to try to collect more. At this point, if I could only get an extra ten cents for each $50, I would be happy.

Reaching downtown, I walked into a tall skyscraper and walked over to the elevator bank. I thought I wanted to go to the fifty-second floor and see a man named Rutscher who I thought bought coins and currency. I still had some questions in my mind about where to find him. Looking at a book shelf near the elevators, I noticed a set of brown Encyclopedia Britannicas. Although the set was old, probably from the 1950s, I thought that Rutscher still might be listed in the encyclopedia and that I could find out more about him if I were to look up his name. I picked up one volume and was just about to look through it when my elevator arrived and  I stepped on.

As the elevator began moving up, I noticed two other men in the elevator with me – one was looking at me rather strangely. About 30 years old, dressed in an immaculate light-gray suit, he was tall and had well-coifed black hair. I realized he was looking at the encyclopedia which I was carrying, as if to ask me what I was doing with it. I glanced at the encyclopedia myself, and was surprised to see that I had picked up the wrong one – I had the "S" volume. I was getting ready to say I was using the encyclopedia to look up the name "Rutscher," but I realized that my explanation would sound suspicious since I had the "S" volume. I tried to think of a word beginning with "S" so I could explain what I was doing, but finally I said that I simply was going up to see a man who dealt with coins and currency, and that I had picked up the encyclopedia to look up something about him.

The other man in the elevator was an older man (probably in his 50s). He was somewhat portly and dressed in a brown suit. He snickered, as if to say the woman who was the custodian of the encyclopedias would be upset when she saw one missing. I then told both the men I intended to return the encyclopedia. Sensing they doubted me, I handed the encyclopedia to the older man and asked if he could return it for me. He seemed satisfied with that, and relieved me of my burden.

Only then did I think "Serbia." "Serbia" began with an "S." I should have said I was using the encyclopedia to look up something about Serbia. But of course now it was too late.

I then turned my attention to the numbers on the elevator. To my chagrin, the numbers only went to 23. Obviously this was one of those buildings where some elevators only went to the lower floors while others went to the higher ones. I blurted out to the other two men that I was going to the fifty-second floor, and I asked if it were possible to get out on the twenty-third floor and take an elevator on up to the fifty-second floor. The younger fellow in the gray suit said that wasn't possible, that I would have to go all the way back down to the bottom.

Then the fellow reversed himself. He seemed to have been taking appraisal of me and he had decided to give me a hand. He quickly explained that he was a lawyer and that he worked for a large law firm on the twenty-third floor. The law firm had its own private elevator which went to the upper floor. He would allow me to use it.

So when we reached the twenty-third floor, both he and I stepped from the elevator. I was immediately impressed by the luxuriance of everything around me. This was obviously one of the affluent downtown law firms. The fellow pointed to an opulent corridor off to my right and told me to go through the door which said "Downtown" and that would take me straight to the elevator. He said he couldn't go with me because he was in a hurry to see a physician who was one of his clients. Something in the way he said "physician" seemed to imply that he (the lawyer) only worked with a higher class of people such as physicians.

As he turned to leave, it suddenly occurred to me that maybe I should ask him if he needed any help with any legal work which he had. I was also a lawyer, and I could perhaps be his clerk. I quickly realized, however, the ludicrousness of such an idea. Sure, since I had been expelled from school I needed a job, and sure, I liked the looks of this palace; but I would never fit in here. This was exactly the kind of place I had spent years trying to avoid.

As I walked on down the corridor, lost in admiring my surroundings, I realized I had passed the designated door. Ahead of me was a huge high-vaulted room which I was about to enter. I also noticed patches of grass seemed to be growing on the floor, as if somehow these people had been able to plant grass in here to make the place look more natural. And indeed, it did look nice.

I turned back from the vaulted room, not entering, thinking I needed to go back toward the door which I had passed. I walked past what appeared to be a sheik restaurant – right inside the office – with people sitting at a mahogany bar drinking coffee. I even thought about stopping and ordering a cup for myself. After all, I was already in, and apparently anyone inside could go to the bar and order whatever they wanted. I might even be able to come back on another day and walk in and order something.

Right now I didn't feel like stopping. My only real interest was in getting out of here. I finally reached what I thought was the door I was seeking. Now, however, I saw several doors, none of which had a sign which said "Downtown." Indeed, the doors had the names of different cities written above them. Over one door was the word "Iman," which I thought was a country somewhere in the middle east. I surmised that this law firm must have special relations with that country which had developed long ago. One of the law partners had probably taken a trip to Iman and somehow met people there. Contacts had been cultivated over the years and now the law firm was extensively involved with affairs in Iman.

Breaking out of my reverie, I again looked at the names on the doors. One name was "Los Angeles." Other names of American cities were above other doors. Slowly it began to become clear to me that these doors weren't to the elevators, but to airplanes. I didn't know how the doors worked, whether they led to the airport or actually to waiting planes. Indeed I was unsure but what I should go through one of the doors and take one of the planes myself.

At the same time, I had a thought which seemed more like a voice coming to me from somewhere inside my head. It said, "Your ability to fly is dependent on the good things you do for other people."

I stood lost in thought, trying to understand what the voice meant.

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