Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dreamers (Original Text - Part Ten) (1997)

     I actually remember the dream that inspired this section, and suspect that I would even if I hadn't loosely adapted it for fiction.  Not a lot of dreams stick with me for years.  I don't think I did the original justice, nor do I think that I really got the elements I wanted to introduce as an author.  Still not horrible.  Not without problems, either.  I have let a couple of very problematic sentences stand as written in testament to that.
     There was a lot that was supposed to follow from this section, but I think it will have to be in a completely separate story as I can't see it making the cut in the rewritten Dreamers.  The entire angle of J.B. as the wannabe author goes nowhere and shouldn't have been introduced.  But it is there in the original text.


     It was a nice house.  The problem was he couldn't remember it being his.  It was Victorian design he thought.  He and his mother lived there.  Maybe.  It looked like the house in the movie "Casper".  It was just J.B. and his mother.  The inside was dusty and vacant.  As he wandered through it, he could not find a single piece of furniture.  No matter which room he ventured into his mother was just within earshot.
     It was a gloomy, depressing house.  J.B. couldn't have been happier that his friends would soon be over to take him out for the evening.  It felt like late fall or early winter, but there was no snow on the ground.  Cold wind blew dead and crisp brown leaves across the front yard.  The sense of death was scary.  His older brother's old sort-of girlfriend, from the days of high school.
     She was like a shadow lurking in the halls just outside of whatever room J.B. was in.  When they shared the halls, she would shrink back, almost into herself.  From time to time she would actually find herself capable of asking where J.B.'s brother was.
     "Where's Magnus?  When will he be back?"
     J.B.'s older brother, Magnus Bradley Binghampton, never went by Magnus.  Their grandparents called him Gus.  He himself went by Brad, but this girl always thought she was closer to him because she called him by his God given name.  J.B. himself always had trouble dealing with that.  Just as much as he did with calling her "Debbie".  He remembered it because she was blonde and the older brother wasn't all that into blondes, so each one stood out.
     "I don't know when he'll be back," J.B. snapped when she asked the question three times in a row.  He didn't think that the older brother actually lived in this house.  It didn't feel like it.  There was a certain air that he would have lent to the structure, and it wasn't there.  How fitting that he had managed to leave his high school baggage behind him, and tragic that J.B. was stuck with it.
     J.B. was off towards the front door before the eerie doorbell even rang.  He knew it would be a flock of friends, males and females, that imagined sense of belonging without attachment that could only be fostered in high school.  It was like a movie from the Seventies depicting the Fifties or early Sixties.  It wasn't real, but since it happened, it had to be considered real.
     He couldn't even remember the first six people who came through the door.  The seventh he remembered because he lost his virginity to her, but he couldn't put a name to the face.  That was probably just as well.  His closer friends were toward the back.  He saw some faces that seemed out of place, but they were good friends.  Just as Larry Pudenski was coming through the vast double doors everything seemed alright.
     "I didn't expect you to bring a small army."
     A strong gust of wind blew one of the heavy doors off its hinges. J.B. caught hold of the handle as it was blown inside the house.  He barely managed to keep his feet on the ground.
     "I certainly didn't expect that to happen."
     J.B. and Larry managed to put the door back in place, and everyone quickly had their fill of the house.  J.B. announced to his mother, who was in the house, somewhere, that they would all be leaving.  The entourage had already gone outside and most were standing by or leaning up against Larry Pudenski's ugly orange truck.  The only thing missing was for about a quarter of the guys to be wearing letterman's jackets.  That would have made it perfectly high school.
     Outside with them was Debbie.  She was next to what looked like a metal bike rack, but there was no reason for one to be at the house.  She was dressed well for the cold weather.  She had a loose knit hat and a scarf to go with he dull synthetic coat.  Her face was red from the cold and the wind.  She was a ghost to the group.
     "Where's Magnus?"
     "I don't know where he is."
     "When will he be back."
     J.B. made his way over to where she was standing so that the conversation was between just the two of them.  No one else was paying attention, but it was wise to use good form.  This close he could tell she had been crying.  She shivered with the cold.
     "I don't think he's coming back."  J.B. paused to let her take in that statement.  "You know, he's probably off with Chloe.  The girl he's in love with."
     "Oh."  She looked as though she had never even considered that to be a possibility.
     "Yeah, so you probably shouldn't wait for him," J.B. offered.
     "Oh," she said again, her face blank.  Then it filled with emotion.  "But I love him so much, I can't imagine him not wanting to see me.  Where is he?"  She went on and on.  In short order her words became little more than a cry with different tones.
     She fell into J.B.'s arms as he reached out to her.
     "Listen, —"
     But she just kept crying.
     "You'll be fine."  He gave her shoulder a squeeze.  She stopped crying.
     "Thanks, J.B.," she said.  She stood on her toes and kissed him on the cheek.
     He responded by quickly kissing her.  At first he only kissed her lower lip.  It was an odd sensation, but she didn't resist.  He kissed her again and got it right this time.  It was passionate in its trappings, but driven by nothing.  She felt warm in his arms.
     "Oh, J.B., I love you so much, ..."  She gave the same list had just given for his brother.

     *     *     *     *     *     *    

     Now awake, J.B. was torn between calling his brother and telling him about the dream, or using it as the launching point for his latest story.  He chose the latter.  His brother could read about it later.  J.B. had an awful of habit on not following through on things.  He dropped out of Med School in the sixth week.  He had no trouble making it as an EMT.  It was a shorter, safe route.
     J.B. fancied himself as being the next James Joyce.  He purposely copied Joyce's style because it was the one he admired most.  So long as there were praises to be sung for Joyece, there had to be so echoes to be passed along to J.B.

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