Dream of: 11 July 1996 "Fighting Alligators"

I was in Portsmouth, in a building on one of the commercial strips of the main east-road through the town, Route 52. The building – which seemed to have once been used as a restaurant – appeared to be empty.

I had just returned to Portsmouth after having been away on a trip for about 10 days. My sister, who was in the building with me, was now telling me that all my credit cards had been canceled. I knew I had had almost $200,000 in credit cards; I could hardly believe they were all gone. Besides that, I realized I had no more possessions and that I was completely destitute. I was almost in shock as I now realized I had no money, and no job. If I had only borrowed some of the money on my credit cards and put it in the bank, I would have had a cushion to fall back on. But now I had nothing. The only thing I had left was a few clothes, and I didn't even have those with me; I was completely penniless.

My sister and I planned to wait for my father to come to talk with me. He was apparently upset and angry at me because my credit cards had been canceled.

I didn't even have a place to live. I knew of a small two room cabin which stood abandoned somewhere back in the nearby hills. Perhaps I could stay there. I didn't want to live with my father or my mother; I didn't think they would let me stay with them anyway. The cabin would be pretty disgusting because no one had stayed there in a long time; but I might have to stay there anyway.

I tried to look at the bright side. Although I was now destitute, I still had my health. I contemplated what it would have been like if I had lost one of my legs – that would have been much worse. I would much rather be completely broke than lose part of my body. This was just an adverse situation and I would have to face it.

What would I do now? It seemed clear that I must return to work – I would have to start practicing law again. I would have to immediately return to Texas and begin working. It would certainly be a humbling experience to start out again from scratch. Maybe I would go back to Leland (a Dallas attorney) and rent a small office from him, just as I had done when I had first started practicing law.

But if I had to practice law again, I was uncertain I wanted to go back to Dallas. It was true that I had connections in Dallas, and I knew something about how the system operated there. But this time perhaps it would be better to go to Houston and start over there.

Besides that, I had to think about what kind of law I would practice. It would be easiest to start out with criminal cases. Or I could practice bankruptcy law. But I hated the thought of practicing bankruptcy law again. Bankruptcy cases lasted so long. Even now I still had bankruptcy clients whose cases had been going on for years. Of course it occurred to me that even some of the cases I still had could still be the source of some revenue. I could think of at least one case right now which needed some work and for which I should be able to collect a quick thousand dollars.

As my sister and I continued to wait for my father, it grew later and later, until it was finally evening. There was a bed in the room, and we finally lay down on it and pulled a cover over us. But my sister was crowding me so close to the edge, I hardly had any room. I complained to her that she was taking up the whole bed, but she wouldn't move. Finally I stood up and told her I was simply going to leave. I sat down and began putting on my socks and shoes. My sister didn't try to stop me as I stood up and walked out of the building we were in, and into another store right next door. I had anticipated that she would try to stop me; but she hadn't.

***

The room I was in now looked more like the lobby of a motel. Omalee (my sister's mother-in-law) had shown up; she had come to collect money from me for a motel room for the night. I pulled out a handful of credit cards, and handed one to her. Some of the credit cards were quite large and shaped like animals.

Omalee took the card and began writing up my ticket. I was hoping that somehow the card I had handed her hadn't been canceled. I was unsure what I would do if the card had been canceled. It would certainly be embarrassing to admit to Omalee that I had no money. I watched as she used the telephone to send the credit card information. She waited and waited, but she still didn't receive an answer. I began hoping she might just accept the card without an answer.

***

Still in the same room, I noticed that five or six people over at the side of the room appeared to be taking some kind of class. The instructor was a thin muscular man (about 35 years old). He was talking about how people sometimes misused credit in business and ended up having serious problems. He had charts and graphs depicting sharp lines going up and down. The figures were supposed to show how that sometimes when a lot of money is borrowed, no profits are shown.

***

I was in a large building where booths were set up like a flea market. I was very hungry. I thought that food had earlier been passed out, but I had missed it. At one booth I now noticed a piece of cake sitting on a tray. I also noticed an empty plate, a plate which had obviously already been used because it still had some icing on it. Without asking I picked up the plate, then grabbed the piece of cake and put it on the plate. An old man in the booth watched me with interest as I greedily devoured the cake, somewhat appeasing my hunger.

Having finished my repast, I headed toward the exit. Once I had walked through a large door and found myself outside, I saw before me a raised path which passed through a swampy area. As I headed through the swamp, I suddenly noticed an extremely dangerous-looking alligator lying in the swampy water by my side. I hesitated, but decided to try to pass it. But as I began to creep by, the alligator suddenly lunged at me. Intimidated, I started to back up, but accidentally tripped and fell into the water. The alligator immediately jumped on top of me, and I began wrestling with it. As I fought, I noticed that other smaller alligators were gathering all around me. With all my strength I continued to struggle with the big alligator. But as we battled, I noticed that the alligator never bit me, even though it seemed clear that it could have if it wanted. I thought the alligators around here must be trained to attack, but not to bite.

Finally I was able to throw the alligator from me into the murky water. The other alligators were still all around me, but I began to think I was going to make it out alive, even though it was an extremely frightening experience.

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