Dream of: 04 February 1998 (2) "Red Top Hat"

Carolina and I had just stood up to leave a restaurant where we had finished a meal, when a woman who worked in the restaurant stepped up and began talking to us about a small problem. Carolina and I had been coming to this restaurant regularly of late, almost every day. Of course, when we finished our meals, there was sometimes food left on our plates. The problem, as the woman explained it, had to do with the food which was left on Carolina's plates. As it turned out, some mice had infiltrated the restaurant and had become particularly fond of Carolina's scraps. Whenever the plates would be taken back to the kitchen with scraps of food still on them, the mice would always converge on Carolina's plate. The woman said she was sure of this because she had even seen red lipstick smudged on the white teeth of the mice. The woman explained that Carolina used bright red lipstick, and sometimes her lipstick would be left on pieces of food on her plate. When the mice in turn would eat the food, the lipstick would smear on their teeth.

This image of mice with Carolina's lipstick smudged on their teeth seemed especially bizarre to me. I asked the woman if she were talking about mice or rats. She replied that there were both mice and rats. The idea of rats eating the scraps was even more grotesque. The woman went on to explain how the rodents would obtain the food. The plates from which we ate were made of pure silver, more like platters than plates. Sometimes when the silver platters were cleared from the table and taken to the kitchen, Carolina's plate would be on the bottom so the mice couldn't get at her food. But the woman told me that the ingenious mice had developed a method to get at the scraps, and she asked me if I could figure out how they did it. I told her that I supposed that the mice simply stuck their snouts between Carolina's plate and the plate sitting on top of it, and raised up the top plate. But the woman said that wasn't the method which the mice used. Instead, the mice would take a fork and stick it between the plates. Then, using the fork as a lever, the mice would press down on the end of the fork and raise the top plate, thereby allowing them to move in to the scraps on Carolina's plates.

The entire conversation was becoming a bit too unreal for me. I thought it should be an easy matter to dispose of the mice. I recalled that when cold weather had set in, we had recently had three small mice which had invaded our house. But I had put out some poison and killed all three of them. I didn't see why the restaurant couldn't do the same thing. Or a simple mousetrap with cheese could be set out. If necessary, since Carolina and I came here almost every day, I could set out the trap myself. However I saw a slight problem with such a plan. If I were to set the trap, and then miss a day or two of coming to the restaurant, a mice might get caught, die, and start stinking up the place. It was probably better that I simply left the matter to the people in the restaurant to solve.

Anxious to extricate myself from the situation, with Carolina in tow, I hurried out the door. We both quickly mounted the motorcycle which was waiting for us in front, with Carolina sitting behind me, and we headed off down the street. At last I felt free. We were on a busy London street, with the hustle and bustle of the cars around us, and the pedestrians walking along the sidewalks in front of the shops and stores.

I felt conspicuous for one reason — on my head was a tall, bright red, stovepipe hat, with my long hair sticking out from under it. The hat was in stark contrast to the conservative suit and tie which I was wearing. I wondered what people must think of me as I passed by. I thought the sight was rather interesting and seemed to reflect my individualistic character, strange as that character sometimes tended to be. But what did it matter? I was in London, where I felt as if I could be myself, whoever I wanted to be. I felt comfortable in my tall red hat.

As for Carolina, I was unsure how she felt. When I turned around and looked at her, I saw that her face was completely covered by a black helmet. I had the feeling she didn't want anyone to know who she was, that she was riding with the cat in the hat. But other than that, she seemed satisfied to be with me. As I turned a sharp corner, I called back to her, "Are you back there babe?"

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