Dream of: 06 April 1997 "All Good Men"

A concrete block building, about the size of a small Laundromat, converted into a restaurant with only four or five tables, almost like the front room of a house with someone living in the back part. I walked in and sat down at an empty table. New Boston, in a somewhat run-down section of the town, down by the old steel mill. I knew this area well – Birdie had lived just around the corner when we had been in high school. How many times I had driven down this street to pick her up. But I had only known the area from my car, seldom getting out to walk around or feel anything here as I was now doing; now I had even become a regular patron of this little restaurant.

A tall black-haired waitress took my order – an egg sandwich (it was breakfast time) – and she asked me if I wanted any ketchup to go with it. I knew they charged extra for ketchup here, and I told her I didn't want any. She walked away to get my order, and I fell back into my thoughts. Vague shadowy images of Brandi passed through my mind – how more than 20 years ago Birdie had become pregnant, how she had been uncertain who the father was (I or her other lover Rick) and how she had ended up marrying Rick. But I had always felt the little blonde-haired Brandi was mine. And then Birdie had disappeared from sight, and I hadn't seen Brandi since she was two years old.

My egg sandwich was brought to me. Looked like a submarine sandwich and I opened it to look inside. Now I would really like some ketchup. Looking around the room I saw a bottle of ketchup on a neighboring table and since no one seemed to be looking, I reached over and grabbed it. I liberally doused my sandwich, set the bottle back on the table and proceeded to partake of my repast.

The waitress stepped back up. Louring. Had I decided I wanted some ketchup, she wanted to know. I couldn't believe it – they wanted to be paid for the ketchup. This was ridiculous. The waitress walked away and I fumed to myself – no tip for her. Or better yet, when I went to pay, I would tell them I had decided I had wanted some ketchup and disdainfully pay the extra paltry sum for the ketchup. This was ridiculous.

Someone stepped in the front door. A pretty blonde-haired woman in her early 20s. Beside her was a fellow, himself in his early 20s, dressed in a white tee shirt, burr haircut. From the doorway the blonde began talking across the room to the waitress at the back of the room. The blonde didn't seem to want to leave the door, and I was amused as the fellow, standing behind the blonde so she couldn't see him, put his index finger up to the side of his head and moved his finger around. From this motion, it was clear to me that he was saying the blonde was mentally loose, and when I looked at her drooping head, it did appear to me that her vacant eyes lacked reflection.

What happened next surprised me. The fellow moved just a few centimeters from the blonde, and he began talking. Only he wasn't just talking, but speaking, like an actor. I immediately concluded that he must belong to some amateur theater group in the neighborhood, and that he was giving the people in the restaurant a short exhibit of his current role. I didn't think much could be expected from a theater group in this run-down neighborhood, so I was rather amazed when I saw how good he was. His whole bearing seemed ennobilized, and he had a stern fiery look in his eyes. His last words were, "It is time for all good men to rise up."

I was moved. This guy was really good. Of course he probably couldn't make it outside of this neighborhood, in a real theater. But I could. I could be successful as an actor. I knew I could. But to whom would I speak? Not to people in a run-down place like this. But I could speak to people like lawyers who would come to see me act. I could relate to lawyers and professional people. I was sure I had something I could say to them. I could affect their lives. I was sure of it.

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