Dream of: 11 August 1982 "Lord, Help Me"

A large semi-truck was leaving the village of Patriot. The truck appeared to be transporting men to work; its back door was open, and men were running after the truck and jumping on. The truck wasn't traveling fast, and although some men gave up, most were able to catch the truck. Deciding that I would also like to hop on the truck and leave, I joined the men who were running to catch the truck. But almost as soon as I had begun, I lost interest; I stopped and simply began watching the other men run after the truck.

One fellow, instead of chasing the truck, pulled out a heavy rope. I watched with interest, unsure of his intentions. The fellow first jumped atop a wagon sitting beside the road. Once he was on the wagon, he threw his rope toward the back of the passing truck, and somehow managed to lasso on to it. The man must have secured the rope to the wagon, because the wagon began moving along behind the truck. But the man didn't remain in the wagon; using the rope as a tightrope between the moving truck and wagon, the man—like a tightrope walker—began lithely walking across the rope, from the wagon to the truck. Once he reached the back of the truck, the man cut the wagon loose, and the truck continued on, with the man on board.

The truck finally slowed down even more, and almost all the men caught up and jumped on board. I was so close that I also could have jumped on; but I had decided that I was no longer interested in leaving. When the truck moved on, I turned around and headed back into Patriot.

I hadn't walked far before I realized everything around me had turned black, so black I had to feel my way along. I was no longer walking on a road, but had unknowingly entered a long dark tunnel. Able to feel the smooth wall of the tunnel with my hand, I managed to guide my way through the obscurity, until I finally perceived a light shining from somewhere behind me. From the glow of the light, I could distinguish the forms of other people who were walking along near me, also headed back toward Patriot.

Proceeding, I reached a room built right into the side of the tunnel, a room which housed a store. Curious, I walked into the store and found a man selling television sets. He had seven or eight sets, and since I was in the market for a television, I began examining them. When I asked the man how much the television sets cost, he replied that they were $50 apiece.

The price sounded acceptable. I reflected that I myself had even recently sold a television for $50. Examining the sets further, I realized they were all rather small: some screens were only about six inches, whereas other screens were twelve inches. When I asked the man if I could turn on the televisions, he indicated that I could.

As I flipped on one of the sets, the man informed me that it would have a clear picture; and he was correct—the set did have a clear picture. However, the television seemed too small for me, and I complained, "Well, that screen's awful small."

Dissatisfied with the size of the first set, I walked over to another set with a larger twelve inch screen. But when I turned on this set, the picture was even less clear than the picture on the smaller set. None of the television sets suited me. Finally, I spotted a television which resembled the one which I had recently sold. I even wondered if this were the same set; it seemed possible that I might have sold it to this man. But when I looked at the set more closely, it was a bit beat-up, and looked different from the set which I had sold. Finally, I decided that although I needed to buy a set, I should wait a little longer. I might return to this same store and buy the set later. Having made my decision, I stepped back out into the tunnel.

As I continued along, I noticed the tunnel was now lit, and seemed more like a hallway inside a school. Gradually the place began to resemble the law school at the University of Texas (UT) in Austin. Classrooms could be seen along the side of the hall, with students sitting inside at their desks. I now recalled that I had been thinking of transferring to the UT law school. UT would certainly be different from Baylor Law School. UT would have a much wider variety of people and wouldn't be nearly as prim and proper as Baylor. But I wondered if I were prepared for UT. Life hadn't been that bad at Baylor; I had learned quite a bit there. Going to a small school like Baylor had certain advantages. And would I be able to compete at UT against so many smart people? I was a bit worried by the prospect, but I thought I would just jump in anyway and start participating. Then I could see what would happen.

Although I thought about entering one of the class rooms right now, instead, I simply proceeded in the hallway. The more I walked, the darker the corridor became, until finally, once again, I realized I was no longer in the hallway, but far underground in the tunnel.

The tunnel had some light in it, enough so that I could see that other passageways forked off from the main, straightaway tunnel which I was traversing. Noticing some people walking close to me, in the same direction which I was bearing, I asked one of them about the passageways. The person explained that sometimes there were earth tremors in the tunnel. At such times, it was possible to enter one of the little rooms, where the tremors weren't so severe.

Braced with this new knowledge, I scrutinized more closely the short passageways branching off from the tunnel, finally realizing that they indeed led to side-rooms. Venturing into one of the rooms, I quickly discovered that it was possible to enter the room, walk across its length, and exit through another door, back into the tunnel. Since I was concerned by what the fellow had said—that the rooms were safer than the tunnel—I walked through every room I saw, hoping to reduce the odds that the tunnel would cave in on me.

Just as I entered one of the rooms, the earth began to shake. Through a window in the room, I could peer out into the tunnel, where people scurried pell-mell in fear. As the tremor continued, I lay down on a small bench in the room. If the room were going to cave in, I hoped it would happen quickly, instantly killing me. I was unafraid to die; but if I were going to die, I wanted do die fast. As the shaking of the room became more violent, I prayed to God, "Lord, help me. Or if you can't help me, just let me die."

From where I lay, I could still observe people rushing through the tunnel. A man and an attractive woman ran into my room. When I saw the woman's low-cut dress, which emphasized her voluptuous breasts, I thought at least if I were to be trapped in this room, it might not be as bad if I were trapped with her.

When the shaking finally subsided, I stood up and ventured back out into the tunnel, where quite a few people were now walking. Two men walked up to me and one of them obtrusively held one of his hands in front of my face. Thwarting my view, he commanded, "Don't look at that man over there."

Not comprehending why he was trying to prevent my looking at the other man, I asked why not. Even though the man in front of me was trying to block my view, I could still see the other man, who was doffing his clothes. The man with his hand in front of my face said, "He's injured and you shouldn't look."

I ordered the man obstructing me to yield the way. I thought I understood what was wrong with the injured man: his penis had been burnt off. I believed I could handle the sight. But the man in front of me wouldn't move. As he continued to hold his hand in front of my face, I noticed his fingernails were painted bright red. And when he kept talking, and touched my face, I realized both he and the injured man were homosexuals.

When the man persisted in blocking my path, I became angry and began pushing him. Suddenly, he wanted to fight. I unhesitatingly seized him, threw him over a nearby railing, and then pushed the injured man out of my way.

Having cleared my path of the two, I turned around and saw standing in the tunnel someone whom I hadn't seen since high school: Bill Johnson, a classmate whom I had hardly known even in high school. He had dropped out of school somewhere along the way, and I had never heard of him again. However, now that he was standing in front of me, I definitely recognized him. He was wearing a sports jacket and a pair of red, plaid pants—quite snazzy. He had a nice camera in an ebony case hanging from a strap around his neck. Walking over to him, I said hello, and added, "Well, you look really prosperous."

He responded, "No, not really."

As we talked, he made it clear that he was barely making ends meet. He asked me about myself, and where I was going. I reflected that I, like he, also had little money. In fact I didn't even have a quarter for something I needed to buy. Nevertheless I had had enough money to buy a plane ticket to Lebanon, and I enlightened Bill that I was on my way there. When he asked me what I was going to do in Lebanon, I replied that I didn't have the faintest idea what I was going to do there. I was simply going to go. I added, "I do know that they sell televisions rather cheap over there. I'm thinking about buying a television."

We continued talking for a few minutes.

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