Posted by: normanlgreen | March 17, 2012

Dream, March 17, 2012 doomed arcade and the contract


Dream, home, 6:50 am

We walk in a family group of twelve souls, a third of us adults, but mostly excited youngsters. We are all visitors to this town – one and two story buildings in a commercial district. We round a corner and find a sunny plaza, a distorted pentagon, with eating establishments. Bordering one whole side of the space is the high fence of an old amusement park. Attractions as listed on the red fence, painted in garish paint that has begun to fade. I cannot read the details, but sense that the place is for suckers. All of the kids are ready to rush in, but I want one of the adults to check it out – both to make sure that it is age appropriate and that it is not a gyp.

I step up to the ticket window to ask some questions. All the kids rush in. Their parents follow. So I pay out two quarters for each and pass through the swinging wooden door. Since they did not object to the kids going in, I work under the assumption that this is not an “adult’ amusement. Instead of the rides I had anticipated, it is an open air arcade – a plaza fenced off from the other plaza. After less than 200 paces, I have come to the back of the area, where a shorty concrete bridge crosses a shallow concrete stream. There I sit at a round table that has been painted like a muscaria mushroom cap. The manager of the place, a man with short dark hair and a fixed smile, joins me to explain the rules of the place. Now I am on the staff and must abide by the contract. The sky darkens and the workers start to behave irrationally. I sense that all of the children have escaped, so I too leave.

Outside, it is night and I see a low resolution video monitor on which, the manager speaks to me. He makes an appeal for me to return to run the place. His employees stand behind him in lines, courteous and controlled. I agree and am instantly transported inside – visually, the low resolution picture becomes sharp reality and I am there. But while all were on their best behavior, now they leap and roll about in fits of madness. To regain control, I sing a show tune in the mold of Cole Porter. The staff joins in and it becomes a choreographed musical number – only the music will keep them from going mad.

I pull out a copy of the staff orientation manual and remove the first page, which is filled with cult instructions channeled by the founder of the arcade. I say that once this is removed, we can get the place in order. The manager who induced my return pulls out my contract with many clauses hi-lighted in yellow. There is nothing I can do to change the nature of the place. Doom.

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