Another Night Mare
In my nightmare, I’m a child, and it’s very hot outside, and I’m wet with water and blood. In the distance an ice cream truck jingles hello. I step down from an above-ground pool because again we ain’t that fancy and my knee is on fire like the sky blue, the blood-blue sky, people watching me from the windows like I must be very important. The asphalt is hot on my bare feet which when examined are remarkably sturdy feet, solid, calloused feet, like the hoofers of elephants.
My friends—from high school but we’re toddlers here, pint sized—I knew not one of them at such an age—truth be told they were really more like acquaintances that laughed at the jokes I whispered in economics class—not that I was a wise guy: my jokes were secrets for only few to know—I don’t even remember names—my friends, they play with a hose, some of them, and some of them play with a snake, some of them, and some play with a puppy and some play with a He-Man and some play with the world as it spins around me too quickly to handle I will faint.
The ice cream truck nears.
Its music is like an enchantress, a siren calling me to crash my teeth into the ruin of sweet treat. The ice cream man—a non-threatening clown (I’ve never been afraid of clowns, this is not a nightmarish detail, I prefer their grotesque but understandable faces, to be honest with you)—leans down from his window. He’s surrounded by pictures of assorted ice cream confections concoctions and flavors (briefly, he looks like Mussolini). Some notable novelty bars include a vanilla ghost, a pistachio monster, cartoon characters but edible, you get the picture I need not name them all now (the ice cream bars that purport to look like things they are not only barely look like the things they purport to be; for example, the head of a prominent cartoon animal crime-fighter looks very convincing and similar to its tv counterpart up on the side of the truck, but when you get the thing, it’s a little deformed, face sorta smudged and drooping on one side, features flattened if not absent, a ghostly remnant of this former cartoon animal, a dim shadow of its soul). His bells jingle a very catchy melody. All the children and animals have gathered ‘round the ice cream truck to listen to the Ice Cream Man’s tale.
The music stops.
“Hello, dudes and dudettes.” He spoke, sometimes, like a surfer, though we lived in a landlocked state (mentally, physically), hundreds of miles from the surf (but we can dream even within dreams, right?). A water park looms in the distance. It has wave pools, perhaps…
The Ice Cream Man continued:
“I know you’re all just tryin to have fun in the sun on a Saturday night, but I’m here to confirm my friend here’s silent theory on siren based propaganda.”
He gestured to me but he had transformed into a woman (had I willed it?) and I was older now and so were my friends. Teenagers, I guess? I think we were adults in an auditorium, but my 7th grade band teacher Mrs. Simpleton (on the nose dream name, not real name, and honestly not accurate at all) walked onto the stage. She whispered into the clown’s beautiful ear. They both looked at me—I’m worried secrets have been exchanged—maybe about me—maybe even about what I look like in this godawful adolescent suit, how I have pit hair now. I didn’t want them to see my pit hair so I wore long sleeve shirts, though it was always so hot out, I sweated and sweated, and so I always had pit stains which is so much worse than hair, so I wore a jacket over that, which made the stains worse, but at least then no one could see them I could only feel them so clammy and crying down my delicate sides.
The Clown continued:
“We’ve gathered here today to listen to the many siren calls found in nature. The siren—once confined to waterways, mostly—makes new homes amongst the airwaves (that fling our ship about), for reasons I can pretend to understand but why would I do that? We might as well call it magic.”
I thought what she was saying was pretty obvious and so I said so or tried to but my words came out very garbled tongue. I meant to say something like, A lotta people these days don’t even believe in sirens let alone recognize that they’ve hypnotized most of our nation, which is a rather hacky sentiment if you think about it, so I’m glad my mouth garbled to make me say instead, “Are they all bad?”
“The sirens? No, they’re not all bad.” The Clown thought for a moment. I know she needed to choose her words carefully. Some other kids were trying to get my attention; there was a hot tub to climb within. I ignored them, even though some of them I liked, I really really liked, and I shouldn’t have ignored them, I should have went with them, why didn’t I go with—
“They’ve been enslaved, many of them,” said the Clown, “to do terrible things.”
She thought, hmm. “Well, I know one, for instance, who started out life like a skilled songstress, but now she just works in marketing.”
Again, I’m annoyed and I cringe. This is old news to me, and I tried again to tell this to the Clown, but all I could manage was: “What about like if let’s say I wanted to be a siren…”
“Do you want to lead men to peril?”
“Men and Women and Everyone.”
“Uh huh. To peril.”
“Have you been told by someone to ask this question to me, in order to ruffle my feathers?” She was angry.
And shut went the window of the ice cream truck, bang.
The Ice Cream Man looked back at me from the driver’s seat window, an annoyed and disappointed expression, puckered lips, shaking head, gritted teeth, brow like a range. The truck slowly inched over the horizon to a song I recognized but I can’t seem to recall now—not in total or in name—but it was just the melody, of course, not the words, but if there were words, melody hiding inside them, they would have gone (only in part) something (imprecisely) like this:
naked wraith / naked wraith / take me in / you naked wraith / walk me in a circle / throw me in a well / ebay my soul / show me hell / Naked Wraith!
I had an ice cream bar and my best friend had an ice cream bar but we don’t talk anymore so we both lay on towels under the hot sun, on top of hot cement, skin peeling all ready. I pick my skin and flick it into the dry sky. The pieces swirl in the wind. I think it’s very beautiful. End dream.