Either you are sorting it out, or you are full of it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

James Bond in Diapers

I had a dream that I was James Bond, but old, really really old. I was the kind of James Bond you’d see if Sean Connery came out of retirement here in 2009 to make a flick. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t have the benefit of stuntmen or wires or makeup. I was actually in the world of the movie, a decrepit James Bond facing trained killers and femme fatales without the benefit of a cut here and there to make my action sequences look cool. And man, they didn’t. Every uppercut was a tear to my muscles, and I grimaced with the aerobic shock that constantly filled my veins. I wasn’t just old; I was in terrible shape too. Later, I would wake up in a sweat, gasping for breath.

I had followed my mark into a place I’d like to call Neo-Columbia, an institution of higher learning similar to that of the real one in New York City in name only. Where the real Columbia is a kind of pastoral respite in Upper Manhattan with its manicured greens and gardened walkways, Neo-Columbia is a decent deeper into the complexities of concrete growing out of the bedrock. It’s as if my mind couldn’t manufacture the unfamiliar splendors of the organic world and sought to entertain itself by feasting on the one that it has known far too well. It is a place I often return to in dreams to take tests whose questions I can’t pronounce and whose answers I cannot decypher; it is a realm where I reaffirm my interest in the deep and the arcane, as strange shapes morph from the molds around me. It has been a setting for poltergeists; it has been the backdrop for romantic interludes; it has been a carnival of shapes behind my eyes, teasing them closed again and again, ever so slowly.

I was on his tail, and I was running hard. The courtyards of Neo-Columbia were vast expanses of sprawling concrete filled and framed by stairways weaving in upon themselves in an ineffable weft. All of my attempts to catch up with my mark left me more confused than the previous attempt, as if the stairways were constantly moving, or that precepts I had developed for reconciling spatial geometries no longer seemed to apply. Somehow I found myself in a wide antechamber next to a research library where several students were arguing technicalities. I paused.

Suddenly, from around the corner I saw him. I was surprised to see that up close he was much shorter than I had realized. Five foot two at most. This strange dilation of space had somehow altered the way I saw him. I relaxed, thinking that he wouldn’t be such a threat, but I was wrong. He came at me with everything he had. The research students stood up gasping, unsure of what to do but watch. He and I fought on the floor like dogs, growling as we scuffled over my gun, yelping with each blow to our vitals.

Then we rose to our feet, and stumbled towards the opening of an atrium, 50 stories high. Too high to be real, the space had shifted again; the floors beneath us had multiplied to add an effect to our blood tattered maws. The presence of a director after all. Camera crews in the cement. My mind, the great arbiter of all.

We were both wearing down now; I could feel it.  This was the last push. The climax. I, a septuagenarian wrangling for dear life, moved at speeds I hadn’t felt in years, wasn’t sure I’d ever felt. He, a squat, nondescript blur, whose features refused to take form, constantly morphing away in the fog of my halting breath, fought with a singular resolve, as if possessed by some demon ideology which had erased any dynamism in him to stop his mind. In a flash, I gained the upper hand and quickly flipped him over the railing, dooming him to certain death.  However, at the last minute, before he slipped away into the abyss completely, I grabbed his hand.

For a moment, all I saw were his pale brown eyes looking up at me from the abyss without glimmer or emotion.  The pair of eyes looked backed hauntingly as if sculpted from the same drab concrete that surrounded us. He struggled under my shaking clutch, not to save himself or even to pull me down with him. Instead, he struggled to deny my efforts to save him, to fall directly into the abyss as I had intended when I threw him. After a moment he succeeded, and I couldn’t hold on anymore.

He fell into the abyss with half a smile on his face.

Afterward I sat there for just a second as the students stared me down, unsure of my relationship to them.  One of them darted away, no doubt to alert somebody.

In that moment, I wondered why I had tried to save him, when he didn’t want saving after all. That’s when I woke up.

posted by ferret at 1:07 pm  

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