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David Bowie and Ice Cream

April 15, 2010

A bookstore opened late one night. I was taking one of those walks of solitude through the dream city and decided to stop in. The lights were dim inside. People were huddled in small circles whispering and eating ice cream bars. The shelves did not hold new books, but rather a large volume of vintage editions and no one seemed interested in their contents. I reached out for a book with a soft green cover, but it appeared to be stuck. I tied another one. Same result. They were fakes.

Someone tapped me on the shoulder. Turning around I faced a black and white cutout of David Bowie.

File:Bowie Toronto 1976.jpg

Photo Credit: Jean Luc

“Got a light?” he asked.

I snapped my fingers and lit the cigarette.

“Lovely trick,” he said. “So, what did you used to be?”

“What? I don’t understand,” I said, puzzled.

“You know, before the Russian doctor got to you.”

“I’ve always been this,” I explained, making gestures over my body.

“Strange. Most of us were inanimate or dead before all this.”

A full colored Bowie cutout approached and asked for a cigarette. Together, they leaned against the bookcase and took synchronized drags. I took a picture and laughed knowing no one would ever see this. I began to notice the faces in the crowd. Famous writers and musicians, mostly dead, eating ice cream and smoking cigarettes. William Burroughs was sitting by the ice cream bar. He ordered chili ice cream and disappeared into the crowd. I ordered the same, until I saw the strawberry bars. The bartender was rude and made a big fuss about changing my mind. I unwrapped the bar and took a small bite. It tasted icy. I marveled at the sweetness of the large strawberries trapped inside.

Unlike Burroughs who always struggled to find something to eat in the Land of the Dead, I eat quite well and usually things I enjoy. The benefit of eating things I like is that I wake up inside the dream. Awareness comes like a drug sifting through blood in the veins. If I’m already lucid, awareness increases and my senses sharpen.

I made my way to the back of the building and exited through a set of swinging doors. The sound of the gravel under my feet interrupted a street execution. A tall man held a gun to young man’s head. A group of unfriendly men dressed in expensive suits stood by, arms crossed and faces scowled. The tall man almost squeezed the trigger. All eyes were on me until the young man dropped his executioner to the floor, grabbed my hand and sprung onto the roof. He locked his fingers through mine and leaped over rooftops, allowing me to see the dream city in another light. In our time together he did not speak, but conveyed his gratitude through his eyes.

Later, we were chased into a hot basement and cornered by a pool of bubbling oil. It was dark and the smoke rising from the oil smelled toxic. They took us to the Russian doctor. We were separated and tossed into rooms that seemed too large to be rooms, or even warehouses. The ceiling reached the height of a skyscraper. The doctor came in and began to speak Russian. I could only reply in English, but still understood the meaning of his words.

“Do you remember me?” he asked.

“Should I?”

“We met some time ago. You came for dinner on several occasions.”

I looked around the room and discerned the details that would access the memory from my mind. The walls were made of stones in pastel colors. I had this dream at least once before and if this is the man I remember he is dangerous, moody and unpredictable. I knew I had to tread carefully to avoid destroying the path of the dream.

“You’re a cruel man if memory serves me right, ” I said. “And you’re thinking about killing me.”

He released a deep sardonic laugh and left me alone in the room. The cold was bitter. When I looked up I could see nothing but the sky.

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