Dream of: 21 July 1996 "Copycat"

Carolina and I were in the law office of Louise and her husband Vernon. The office consisted of a single square room, each side 12-15 feet long. Although the office was small, everything seemed neatly arranged and in order. Louise and Vernon shared the office and it looked as if they had one secretary, a young Hispanic woman.

Carolina and I watched the activity in the office; but no one paid any attention to us, and indeed it was as if they didn't even notice our presence. Louise was on the phone and I began listening to what she was saying. It was the end of the day and she seemed to be making one last phone call before she left, making arrangements for the following day. When I heard what she was saying, I was completely surprised. As soon as she hung up, I told Carolina what I had overheard: Louise was going to Houston the next day to file for divorce.

I could barely contain my glee. I was delighted to hear that Louise's marriage had failed. It wasn't that I wanted to get back with Louise; I was happy with Carolina, who looked especially young and pretty in the one-piece tight-fitting dress which she was wearing, a dress that came to just above her knees and showed her beautiful legs. No, I was happy because Louise had always seemed so haughty after she and Vernon had married. Now it seemed as if she was getting what she deserved. Just by looking at Louise I could tell she was upset, even though she maintained a saturnine expression. Obviously she wasn't going to show her emotions in public.

Meanwhile a boy (around 12 years old) had walked into the room; Vernon gave the boy some money to go downstairs and buy him a mixed drink and a beer. I thought I might like to stay and have a drink also; I hurried to the door and called after the boy who was walking down the hall. When the boy returned, I wondered how he was able to buy alcohol, being so young; I figured Vernon had worked something out with a bar downstairs.

I was uncertain what to order: a beer? I tried to remember the name of the beer that I liked, but the name wouldn't come to me. Finally I decided to order a Rolling Rock (which I actually thought was Lowenbrau, an imported German beer that I thought would show some class). But no one seemed to pay much attention to what kind of beer I was ordering, although it now seemed clear that they were at least aware of my presence. After I gave the boy some money and he went away, I even spoke to Vernon (for the first time in my life) and he spoke back. Now that we were speaking, I hoped he and I could have a drink and a friendly conversation together.

***

Either the next day or some day shortly thereafter, Carolina and I returned to the office. Louise had already moved out and only Vernon's possessions were left in the office. And now Vernon would also be moving out because I was planning to take over the office myself! I was uncertain what would happen to Vernon's things which were still in the office; I began looking around at what he had left.

Most prominent were dozens and dozens of board games stacked up on the book shelves. I recalled that Louise had told me she and Vernon had an extensive collection of board games. In fact, I had been led to believe that their collection was quite valuable, containing many old collectible games. But as I looked over the games, I saw none that looked either old or valuable. Of course that could be because Louise – as part of the divorce – had taken all the best games and left Vernon with the less valuable ones.

The games were stacked sideways next to each other and not on top of each other. This way of storing games was something I had also learned with my own collection of board games; if games were stacked on top of each other, the boxes on the bottom often became crushed by the weight of the boxes on top. I also noticed that the games weren't held closed by rubberbands. This was something I had also learned, that rubberbands over a period of time, will also crush the boxes which they are holding.

It seemed that Vernon and I had learned some of the same tricks in taking care of games. But it seemed a little odd that Vernon, like I, collected board games. And as I thought about this oddity, I suddenly realized something, something which I had long denied, but something which I could no longer deny: I had been copying the way Louise and Vernon lived.

Louise and Vernon specialized in bankruptcy law. Although it was true that I had been practicing bankruptcy law before Louise, and before I had even known Vernon, I now knew I had only started concentrating on bankruptcy law after Vernon and Louise had married and begun specializing in bankruptcy. In the past I had always attributed my concentration on bankruptcy law to be based strictly on practical economic considerations. But now I saw that the real reason I had concentrated on bankruptcy was because Louise and Vernon had been practicing bankruptcy.

Further evidence of my copying Vernon and Louise was the collecting of games. I didn't remember exactly when, but apparently I had heard that Louise and Vernon were avid game collectors. Although I hadn't realized it before, I must have started collecting board games at that time.

Now as the crowning act of copying them, I was actually going to move into the same office which Vernon and Louise had occupied!

***

I wondered if Louise would be happy now that she was getting a divorce. When she had been talking on the phone, I thought I had overheard her say something about $16,000 a month, that she would get half of that. That would be $8,000 a month, which wasn't that much money, only about $100,000 a year. It would take a long time to make a million dollars at that rate; so maybe Louise wasn't going to end up with so much money after all.

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