Dream of: 19 January 1983 "The Bad Overrules The Good"

While visiting Portsmouth, Ohio, I had purchased a car from a fellow who had agreed to change the car's engine for me. He was now in the process of doing so. Having hoisted out the old engine with a chain, he was preparing to install another engine. The job actually wasn't as difficult as I would have expected the fellow had a generous supply of wrenches and other tools with which to work. He also had a conveyor, on which he could place the new engine in order to move it close to the car.

 Mike Walls was helping the man change the engines. Walls had been one of my closest cronies during my late teens, when I had lived in Portsmouth. Although I had moved on from Portsmouth, Walls had never left.

As I stood watching Walls and the other man work, I noticed some of the large bolts on the conveyor were loose, and I tried to tighten them with my hands. At first I asked the fellow if he had any tools which I could use to tighten the bolts, but since he was too busy with other things to respond, I simply tightened the bolts as well as I could with my hands. When the new engine was finally almost fully installed, I picked up the keys to the car and said I was going to drive it around the block.

But before boarding the car, I began talking with Walls. We walked around to the rear of the car and sat down on the trunk, continuing our conversation. Suddenly, without warning, the car began moving, with Walls and me still hanging on the back. Uncertain what was happening, I looked toward the front of the car and saw a woman driving. The car traveled a couple blocks further down the street before finally stopping and giving Walls and me the chance to jump off.

Once off the car, Walls and I unabatedly continued our conversation, walking casually down the street. I was interested in what he had to say, because I was involved in the story he was telling me, a story which concerned a large truck owned by my father. Unbeknownst to my father, I had given Walls the keys to the truck, so Walls could use the truck for something. The night Walls had driven the truck, when he returned home, he parked the truck down the street from his house. The next morning, when Walls had walked outside to look for the truck, it had been missing. Walls and another person had searched for the truck until someone informed Walls that the police had recovered the truck and brought it to a parking lot. Walls had gone to the parking lot and spoken to the police about the truck. He mentioned the police had commented about the excellent shape of the truck's cab. However the police hadn't turned the truck over to Walls. Instead, someone had called my father and notified him the truck had been stolen and my father had then gone to pick up the truck.

So basically everything had worked out well, because my father had his truck back. The only problem was that my father still didn't know I had given the keys to Walls in the first place. But since I knew the theft of the truck hadn't been Walls' fault, I saw no reason to tell my father I had loaned the keys to Walls. It didn't make any difference at this point if my father knew.

Walls handed the truck keys to me and I stuck them in my pocket. I knew that while Walls had had the keys, he had kept them at his house, cached inside a large book, probably a Bible. Giving the matter a little more thought, I decided it might be best if Walls kept the keys. I pulled the keys from my pocket, handed them to Walls, and directed him to replace them inside the book.

We continued walking until we reached Walls' house. After we had walked inside and sat down, we soon began discussing religion. Walls snidely talked about how ridiculous it was for some people to believe in God, then quipped, "And you know you don't believe in God."

I quickly replied, "Oh no, I definitely believe in God."

I suspected Walls was an atheist, and figured he would have been pleased if I had said I didn't believe in God, but I refused to say such a thing. I explained to Walls that I believed in God, but that I didn't believe in Christianity. I continued expatiating that it had only recently dawned on me what a perversion Christianity was. The basic problem was the concept of hell. To believe a loving God could condemn somebody to hell was simply grotesque. Christianity did of course have some markedly good points. "But," I explained, "In the long run, when you weigh it all, the bad overrules the good."

Walls gave a raffish snicker, as if he found it amusing that I would say the bad overruled the good in Christianity.

Finally I stood up and walked into the next room. I noticed something white on my hand, almost like paint. By the time I returned to the room where Walls was, I had so much of the white stuff on me, I could hardly move my hand.

But I simply continued the conversation with Walls. I asked him about the drug scene, commenting that we had been talking all this time and had said nothing about drugs. In the old days when we used to hang around together, drugs would have been the first topic we would have discussed.

But before we could pursue the subject, Walls' niece Vickie Walls and another girl strolled in. Vickie appeared quite different from the way I remembered her. After studying me as if she were unsure who I was, she finally said, "Hi."

Walls' mother, Virgie Walls, also walked in. She looked younger than I would have expected. She also said, "Hi, Steve."

I replied, "Hi."

Mrs. Walls asked me if I were going to be in Portsmouth for a while. Although I was only planning to stay in town for a short time, I was already tired of the place and was ready to depart. I explained that I would be leaving soon, that I was only staying in Portsmouth for a couple of days.

I didn't tell her any more of my plans, because Walls and I needed to get ready to leave. He was going to go to the Vocational College near Portsmouth, and I planned to accompany him. Before we left, I noticed that I was barefoot and that I needed to put on some socks and shoes. I pulled on two pairs of socks, one over the other, then pulled on my shoes. Finished, I stood up, ready to leave.

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