Dream of: 21 December 1997 (2) "Bartender"

Louise and her husband Vernon were sitting at a table in a bar, in a small but not oppressive room. Bright light flowed profusely through huge windows, reflecting off the floor's white tile and infusing the room with a clean and wholesome atmosphere. Since Louise tended to avoid my presence, I was wary that she would probably leave when she noticed my sitting at a nearby table, especially since so few other patrons were gracing the establishment. However I was pleased to see that despite my proximity, Louise had apparently decided to remain. Carolina would soon be joining me, and I hopefully thought it might be possible that all of us might sit together for some entertaining conversation.

Sitting at Louise's table was yet a third party, a winsome college-aged blonde, dressed, like Louise, all in black. As I concentrated on their table and struggled to follow their banter, I concluded that the girl lived with Louise and Vernon and accompanied them almost everywhere. From nuances in everyone's behavior, I quickly inferred that Vernon and the young blonde lady had more than a casual relationship. Obviously Vernon was constantly trying to impress his young companion, so much so that he had even changed his speech, talking with an affected British accent. I wondered what happened to people who faked an accent so long that the false accent actually became their true accent. I supposed the person would simply be permanently affected.

I marveled that Louise would tolerate the young blonde's constant presence, given Vernon's obvious attraction to the debutante. Thus it was no surprise when the tension at Louise's table erupted, and Louise actually began physically attacking the young woman. During the brief encounter, I noticed how much Louise, with her dark black hair, resembled Birdie.

The fracas quickly subsided and the three of them resumed their seats. Now more than ever I was worried that they wouldn't stay long, and I would have no opportunity to interact with them. My concerns were heightened by the continuing paucity of other people in the bar, and the sudden realization that this was New Year's Eve. Surely Louise wouldn't want to stay in such a non-festive ambiance. And when I finally stood and walked back to the bar to talk with the bartender, my fears multiplied — the bartender told me that he was departing and that he was going to leave me in charge of the bar. He then disappeared behind a door into the kitchen.

Befuddled, I stood for a moment and contemplated the situation. I barely knew the bartender and I knew nothing about bartending. I was somewhat flattered that he would trust me to run the establishment, but I was troubled that I would be unable to adequately comply. Thinking I needed more counsel from the bartender, I followed him through the doors into the kitchen.

As I entered the kitchen and scoured the room for the bartender, I discovered him standing in front of a black table which had two piles of white powder lying on it. Oddly, the two piles of powder were in the shape of two female breasts. It took me a moment to realize that the bartender was in the process of dressing up as a woman and that he intended to put the powder inside a bra in order to simulate breasts. He wasn't actually going to wear women's clothing, other than a bra. Under the suit he was wearing he simply wanted to display the figure of a woman. However, a second younger man, who was with the bartender, had assumed a much more effete appearance than the bartender. The second man, although likewise dressed in men's clothes, had put on lipstick and makeup and had made up his blonde hair in a feminine style.

I exchanged a few words with the bartender, trying to clarify my role in the bar, but he was of little help. He simply explained that he and his dolly companion were going out to party somewhere else and that he needed me to take over for him. He said he would give me some keys which I would need for the cash register. I was unsure why he had chosen me for this weighty task, but since I didn't want to see the bar close down right now, I decided to accept. I turned and walked back out from the kitchen and stood behind the bar.

I was pleased to see Louise and her party still at their table. Now a good many more people than before were sitting around the room, apparently intending to spend New Year's Eve here. With so many new people present, it now appeared likely that Louise would stay for the entire evening. Undertaking my role as bartender, I decided the first thing we needed was some music. Out on the floor of the bar stood a large old-fashioned juke box, the big fancy kind, lit up with orange and red lights. However I thought the juke box was only for decorative purposes, and I turned instead to an old record player sitting behind the bar. I picked up an old black 33 rpm record and looked at the title of the song, which was clearly a blues song, hardly appropriate for the atmosphere I needed to create. Nevertheless I put the record on the player and pushed the tone arm over onto it. Instead of music from the record, however, the sounds of 1970s rock and roll music flowed out, just a short piece from a score of different songs, as if a radio station were playing a medley of songs. When I was unable to get the record to play, I finally gave up and stood back up.

Standing behind the bar, I towered above the room, and looked out over the assembled clientele. I had no idea what I would do when people began ordering drinks which I didn't know how to prepare, but I was going to stay and try my best.

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