I had a dream

          
FADE IN:


EXT. SIDEWALK - DAY

Through her eyes, we see the hands and forearms of a 
young woman pushing a wheelchair.  In the wheelchair, 
we see the back of a bald, liver-spotted head and the thin, 
vein-roped arms of an OLD MAN.  Young woman and OLD 
MAN are moving at a brisk pace along a pristine sidewalk 
with precision-cut emerald grass to the left, a brilliant 
autumn-blue sky overhead, and alabaster skyscrapers in 
front of us.

Over stirring, passionate MUSIC: 

                      ANNOUNCER  (V.O.) 
         We have the best cardiac hospitals 
         in the world. 
             (CONT.)

Young woman looks far right, and we see a veritable 
cathedral to medicine, shining in white marble, reaching 
toward the heavens.

While MUSIC soars, promising us miracles:

                      ANNOUNCER  (V.O.) 
          We have the best neurological 
          hospitals, the best hospitals of 
          every sort in the world. 
               (CONT.)

Young woman's gaze travels forward, showing us yet more 
grand, shining edifices to health, while MUSIC crescendos.

Abruptly, we hear SHATTERING GLASS and, music stops 
dead.

                      ANNOUNCER  (V.O.) 
          Which won't do you a bit of good 
               (CONT.)

Young woman abruptly turns left down fork in sidewalk, 
and through her eyes we see a hulking building, an 
edifice of polished black marble and reflective black 
glass, squatting in a miasma of darkness like Darth Vader 
beckoning us toward the pits of hell.  The grass 
surrounding this hospital is dead, the sky behind it storm-
clouded and threatening.  Young woman and OLD MAN 
glide down the darkening path toward the building as 
if on a fast conveyer belt.

                      ANNOUNCER  (V.O.) 
          If they won't let you through the 
          goddamned doors. 
               (CONT.)

Door of the Building of Darkness swing wide in welcome.

                      ANNOUNCER  (V.O.) 
          Welcome to 
               (CONT.)

Young woman and OLD MAN are sucked inside, into a place 
of charcoal gray concrete walls, black carpets, and a 
broad corner nurses' station where wan nurses and 
coughing doctors greet the new arrivals with faint smiles.  
Smoke swirls around us; the smell is overwhelming.  
Through doors to left and right, we see rows of skinny, 
sick old men smoking in beds.
          
Joyous, triumphant music erupts:

                      ANNOUNCER  (V.O.) 
          Smokers' Hospital.

                      OLD MAN
               (Waving arms 
               gleefully)
          Fuckin' AAAaaaay, baby, I'm HOME!

I don’t know if there was any more to this, because I woke myself up laughing.

Only time in my life I’ve ever smelled anything in a dream—there was nothing to smell when I woke myself up, but while I was dreaming, the stink of a thousand cigarettes being smoked it close, airless quarters damn near choked me.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

8 comments… add one
  • unxplaindfires Dec 11, 2006 @ 2:10

    Hey Holly,

    Funny that you would have a dream about smoking, as I had one recently as well. I had just completed my MFA Exhibition, well recepted by both artists and general public alike. I was trying to celebrate with a smooth, mild and refreshingly addictive cigarette, but couldn’t get them to light. I tried my lighter, matches, the fireplace that was strangly located in the center of the gallery, an oxy/acetlyne torch, the small oven used to cook the gallery food, the small warming fires under the dishes and finally by dismantling a lamp and rubbing the wires together. They never lit. I went sparse and threw my cigarettes into the fire hoping to simply smell them. They sat in the embers without so much as a spark. Even more perplexing than my fire-proof smokes – every time someone spoke to me, instead of words they billowed smoke signals. I woke up very confused, contemplating my strange dream over a fine cigarette; wondering whether I smoke too much or not and damning Ron Reiner – a man who is in no shape to be telling people what is healthy for them. I wonder if his ninth by-pass went well?
    The next night I had a dream about the cast of “Willow” dancing around me in pink jumpsuits singing “Sweat Caroline”, while attempting to play watermelons as string instruments, in horrible key. I decided to ignore my dreams.

    I wish I had an Announcer though.

  • hollylisle Dec 1, 2006 @ 10:37

    The hypocrisy of the whole thing bugs the shit out of me. The US heavily subsidizes the tobacco industry. The US Government makes tax-free cigarettes available to the military. The US Advertising Council puts on television those clever Phillip Morris “anti-smoking” ads that make sure to advertise products, names, and features (chocolate cigarettes for kids, anyone?), and the American medical industry lobbies government to restrict the rights of Americans in order to increase their profits by decreasing the costs of treating smokers, and fat people, and anyone else who looks expensive.

    And meanwhile, smokers DO pay for all sorts of goodies for non-smokers, and non-smokers act like assholes to smokers.

    I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life, but I side with the smokers on smoking rights. As long as the US government is not-so-secretly encouraging the tobacco industry, everyone who doesn’t approve of smoking needs to either go after the government, or just shut up.

  • scottbryan Dec 1, 2006 @ 9:47

    Smokers are quickly becoming the current day’s equivalent of sex in Victorian England – that distasteful subject polite people simply don’t discuss. While all along sales and taxes pay for all kinds of things people enjoy.

  • hollylisle Dec 1, 2006 @ 8:51

    Yeah, it was a strange damn dream. I never had one with an announcer before. Or background music.

  • sundart Dec 1, 2006 @ 8:51

    That beats my last night’s certainty that the way to good health was a new and improved skim milk diet!

    *chuckle*

  • Jim Nov 30, 2006 @ 22:54

    That definitely beats touring the Amazon with the Flash and Wonder Woman all hollow. 🙂

  • PolarBear Nov 30, 2006 @ 18:54

    Almost makes me want to take up smoking. 🙂

  • The English Rose Nov 30, 2006 @ 12:31

    Hm. I wish my dreams had a narrator. Maybe then I’d know what the heck was going on… *g*

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