Posted by: normanlgreen | August 13, 2011

Dream, August 13, 2011 criminal band

Dream, home, 4:56 am

I have signed on with a band of criminal adventurers, taking only the clothes on my back. We have traveled some distance and have taken over the top floor and roof of an abandoned building. Each person has staked out his grubby corner and fortified it. One clever kid has his sleeping space under a heavy platform supported at its corners with ten inch square legs of a foot and a half of height. He demonstrates how he has pushed improvised walls against the insides of the legs. These he can lower from within to project weapons. “Very defensible” he brags and pokes me, standing at a distance of 8 feet, with a crude pike he has fashioned from a length of pipe. My own area is merely a pile of rags piled in a corner formed by two low walls surrounding the roof line.

I go in search of our leader – we have been at this for months now and I have yet to change my clothes. We eat just enough to keep alive. The leader has claimed a room, superstructure thrown up onto the roof, like the cabin under the poop deck of a square -rigged ship. This Fagin character is old and gray, and gravity has pulled his facial features toward the floor. He looks sad and tired, but does not know what else to do other than to keep his band moving toward the possibility of the next good score. His room is piled with boxes and littered with wads of paper trash and balls of rags. It is lamp lit, even in the day, because the sky outside is so gray and the windows are filthy. We do not look each other in the eye as I state my concerns and he gives vague assurances. I stand near the back wall and hear a rustling sound at my feet. I look down to see a crumpled pile of garbage shift slightly – rats. “This place scares me.” “It scares me, too,” he replies. “Why not clean it up?” I ask. “If only it were that easy.” Even his laugh is tired. Local officials enter through the door to question him, so I am asked to leave.

I feel my guts turn to liquid, so go in search of a place to relieve myself. I take stairs down into the building and find what should be a men’s room. There are no toilets, but a paper towel dispenser. I spread the rough brown sheets on the concrete floor to catch my mess. I clean up after myself, but find that I have gotten guacamole all over the cuffs of my pants – the same clothes that I have been wearing night and day through travels and labor and sleep.

I walk into the main part of the building, where a crew of two men are working at restoring and remodeling the place to a new purpose. I pass a section they have completed and marvel at the work to restore a half circle Victorian fan bracket that drops from a thick beam and decorates a supporting pillar – the fan has dozens of spokes with inch and a quarter beads spaced along their length. It looks like the sun dropping down through the ceiling. All of the finished woodwork has been painted a creamy yellow, so smooth as to look dipped in paint. A small pane of glass has been interposed between the two lowest spokes. The craftsmen wear dusty coveralls and carry boards to a sawhorse. As I pass, the younger asks, “do you smell s***?” His voice is full of sarcasm. I ask his more agreeable partner if this is a hint. He nods.

I find the quartermaster of our company and ask if there is something I can do about my clothes. He says that we are coming up on a big job and that, if I like, I can charge a new set of clothes to the company. I say that I would like a ready-made shirt and jacket, but that my pants will have to be tailored.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: