Posted by: normanlgreen | November 6, 2011

Dream, November 6, 2011 money, riots, broken glass & first gig

Dream, home, 5:30 am

A little boy with curly red hair sits up in his bed. His mattress is on a raised platform next to a sliding glass window over a city street. He discovers his mother has been borrowing money from his savings. She returns it to him with her face turned away in shame. I watch from the doorway that opens onto a hall. He adds the stack of dollar bills to a taller, tidier stack he has hidden under the bed-clothes.  I understand that there are bills of various denominations – many of them hundred-dollar bills. He is deeply disappointed and twists toward the window. He slides the double pane in its aluminum frame to the left and tosses the stack of money into the street, then closes it again before laying down and pulling the covers over his head. I run down, not to collect the money, but to see the reaction in the street.

Out the door, I round the corner to my right. I stand on a street in Edmonton, Alberta with the winter light robbing everything and everyone of their colour. There is a narrow and uneven path worn through the drifted snow, so a strip of sidewalk shows, more gray than the lighter shades on either side. Men, walking shadows in dark gray over coats, pass each other on the sidewalk until they notice the tussle developing down the block, below the child’s window. There, the shadows struggle with each other and grab at the blowing currency. Men run toward the fracas from all three directions. Once they have gathered it all into their pockets, they reach for stones and throw them at the windows of the second story – the ground floor is taken up with the uninterrupted walls of a commercial kitchen. The shadow men riot, smashing the windows and shouting. After they have left, I move down the block and find four pillows in the snow banks. I shake broken glass from the pillows and pick them up one at a time. I step onto a tall packing crate which raises me to the level of the boy’s bedroom. I remove triangular shards from the aluminum frames and drop them into the snow below me then place the pillows into the open spaces as a temporary insulation between the cold outside and the child’s sleeping space. The little boy looks up at me gratefully.

When I hop off the box, it is daytime, and a young man waits for me with a length of steel pipe. He smacks it against his left palm with menace. I invite him into the bakery that occupies the space below the boy’s apartment. The thug follows me through a steel door and into a narrow hall. There I wrestle the pipe from his hands then offer him the opportunity to leave or to take his chances with me now that I am armed.


6:15 am

Addo and his friends have secured a gig playing at a little cinder-block nightclub that stands in the middle of a wide parking lot. They have asked me to accompany them to meet the club owner. When we arrive, it is late afternoon, and clusters of kids from the other acts of the three-band bill are waiting for the building to be unlocked so they can take their equipment inside to set-up on stage. The building has been painted a dark purple with black trim. On one side, an airbrush artist has painted a mural. I squint into the sun which is setting on the far side of the building. The front entrance is recessed into the otherwise unrelenting blockiness of the place. The door flies open and the owner invites everyone in. The kids are unbridled in their enthusiasm. A cheer goes up. Some throw their hands in the air as they pile through the entrance. Instead of following them inside, I round the corner to my left to meet them at the back door. Three cars are parked and loaded with drums, keyboards, etc. The kids have examined the club and come pouring out the back door and down its ramp. We form a bucket brigade to load all of the instruments into the club. Just as we are about to get started, the owner and his two managers come out the back door with boxes of pizza. They transfer the slices onto wide paper plates and pass them down the line until everyone is stuffing their faces. The managers looked pleased with themselves for having made the kids so welcome – it is to be a free show, so this is the only compensation the musicians will receive. Everyone is happy, but now that they are fed, the kids move sluggishly – I wonder if there will be time for a nap.


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