Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dreamers (Original Text - Part Eight) (1997)

     Yes, if there was a section (even short as it is) that upset the people who thought that characters were based on them, this would be it.
     On the upside, there are only 12 handwritten pages of "Dreamers" left, so it is almost over.
I don't have anything positive to say about Ayn Rand – as an author, pseudo-philosopher, or human being – but I had a friend who got very into her.  For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce that element into "Dreamers".  While I would keep part of it for a serious revision, I definitely would not have let this scene play out this simplistically.


     "He told me to have better dreams."
     Larry Pudenski was, thankfully, through working for the week.  Fridays couldn't come often enough, but it was the sense of accomplishment as much as it was a chance to unwind.  Pudenski came from a working family, and to him there were few things that could carry the value of a job well done.
     "Do you know what ruined America?"
     "I'm sure you'll tell me, Pudenski."
     "People our age.  Think about it.  You see J.B. working a job, but he doesn't want to work.  He wants to be a doctor.  Jason wants to be a doctor, but what is he going to do?  There is no real value for psychology."
     "You asked him about your dream?"
     "But societies and cultures have existed forever without it.  You look at people our age and they don't produce.  It isn't like there is some mystical force that makes you a better worker when you hit thirty.  The idea of eight years of college is a joke."
     Carver blinked.
     "And Jason doesn't even have a philosophy.  He is totally deluding himself.  He needs to step into reality."
     "Reality is he is going to a great school and a  beautiful woman wants to sleep with him.  He is going to make as much money as you, and no one is handing him the family business.  Seems to me, his reality is better."
     "He wouldn't make a good soldier."
     "No one asked him to be one.  He wants to be a psychologist."
     "He wants to talk for a living.  He wants to screw around with with people's thoughts and emotions.  How do you think he ended up with Melissa?  You know that had to be the story."
     Carver was used to Larry's dad going on like this and it seemed natural for Larry to pick it up.
     "If I remember correctly, Pudenski," Carver spoke slowly, "she went after him."
     "I don't believe."
     "I think she'd be fun to sleep with, too, but wake up and realize that women can want things all on their own.  Jason wants to understand people and you want to wire electricity to buildings.  Who do you think is going to end up with the better philosophy?"
     "I read!"
     "You read?  Well, good for you.  You read and agree.  Remember when you thought that Hunter S. Thompson had the best view on life?  Then you replace him with Ayn Rand.  Then Nietzsche.  I don't know what you're on now, but I'll bet it came out of a book."
     "Well, what's your philosophy?"
     "Easy, Pudenski.  I live my life.  I work hard and I try to forget what makes me angry or frustrated.  I drink too much, but that doesn't mean I believe I should drink to forget.  It works, but it doesn't really factor into my belief system."
     "You don't get it.  You are just lying to yourself."
     "So are you, Larry.  You're twenty five and you think you have life figured out.  You have all the answers.  All from what you've read.  And it all fits on one shelf in your room.  Six books and nine years as an employee for you dad's company does not an education make."
     "It's been more than nine years."
     "Larry, you argue over the stupidest things.  I know my statement was that you don't have the background to be all that you think you are.  You choose to hear, instead, that I'm wrong about how long you've been working."
     "You were wrong."
     "Fine.  I was wrong.  You have life all figured out."
     "You wouldn't even have a job if it weren't for me."
     Carver stood up.  The two of them were still in the warehouse.  Thankfully there was no alcohol in the place; it was too serious a habit to allow temptation to intrude at any moment.  It wouldn't stop Carver's impulse to stand up and get a beer.  Now he was up and there wasn't a whole lot else he could do from there.
     "What would you be doing?"
     He just wanted something to drink.  Maybe a soda would be enough.  Pudenski was in a mood.  A drink would loosen both of them up a bit.  Maybe not, though.  Carver would just assume to leave.  Try to get laid and let Pudenski go on with his ranting all by himself.  Sometimes Pudenski didn't channel his frustration in the best manner.
     "Yeah, you probably would have gone Army like your brother."
     "Not a real future there."
     That was true.  Then again, being a lackey for the Pudenskis wasn't a future either.

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