I had a dream

By Holly Lisle



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. 

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. 

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 

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

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. 

Door of the Building of Darkness swing wide in welcome.

                      ANNOUNCER  (V.O.) 
          Welcome to 

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 
          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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