My wife and I are living in my uncle’s townhouse in Rockville, Maryland, and always have been. Our daughter is away for the evening, so we have the night to ourselves. Decadent plans are made, when I realize that a long-ago ex-girlfriend named Barbara has left a baby hanging on the wall of our bedroom, in a little baby sleeping bag, so that only his head is peeking out. He is wearing sunglasses, and I realize he has been hanging there all day.
Annoyed at having to change my plans, I go downstairs to try to contact Barbara, and discover that my wife’s parents are down there in the living room watching TV. “Oh great,” I think, “something else I have to deal with now.” Then it occurs to me: my wife’s parents are actually both dead. I realize that the first floor of the house is in re-runs, so I don’t have to deal with it at all. All I have to deal with is the new season, which is going on up on the second floor. I go back upstairs.Â
There is now an airport terminal up there. I walk down the skyway, which leads to an urban green space. Lots of very hippy-esque sorts of people are there, having picnics and doing noodle dances and the like. I know that Barbara is somewhere down at the other end of the greenway, so I head off to find her. But the ground gets squishy and damp, and I notice that all the hippies are now up on a paved trail, above me to my left.
I remember that the head of the trail is back in the airport terminal. I don’t want to backtrack, so I am pleased when I notice a low spot in the trail, on which someone has conveniently stacked up a bunch of wicker chairs to make it possible to climb up to the trail.
I begin to climb, but it is longer and harder than it looked from the bottom. The chairs begin to jumble and fall, and I feel myself weakening as every time I get close to the trail, I fall back half the distance I’ve just climbed and have to do it again.
Eventually, I manage to throw my arms up, get hold of some stones on the trail, and haul myself up. The stack of chairs crumbles behind me, as the hippies glare at me for destroying their shortcut. I don’t care. I walk on. I know where Barbara’s apartment is: at the top of the cylindrical water tower that I see ahead of me on the trail.
I climb up the interior platforms of the water tower, reach the apartment, and find that she is not home. It is afternoon now, and it occurs to me that she is probably at work. Of course. That’s why she left her baby hanging in our room. As I go to climb back down out of the water tower, John Lydon of the Sex Pistols is climbing up. We greet each warmly, and I tell him that Barbara’s not home, but if he hangs out at her place I will be back soon and we can catch up.
At the bottom of the tower, I find Barbara’s sister. She has a car, and agrees to take me to Barbara’s work. We drive off. I haven’t seen her for years. She’s looking good. I think maybe I ought to cop a feel. I do. She reminds me that we both are married. Oh yeah. Sorry.
Soon after, we arrive at an art gallery in an old ramshackle warehouse. The curator tells us that there are some special “adult only” works of art in the room ahead to the right, but that we are probably too smart to appreciate them. I go off on my own to find them, but can’t. There are lots of little wooden stalls and cubicles, each of which seems to be set up for a different artist, although most of the artists seem to have either sold or removed all their work already. I peek into one stall that is partially obscured and the large wooden door falls off its tracks, nearly hitting me.
There is a shopping mall beyond the stall. I see two employees dressed in Burger King-style uniforms opening and closing the bathroom doors and sniffing the air. They tell me they are trying to decide if they’ve done a good cleaning job by whether they can smell the bathrooms from the outside. I tell them it all smells good and looks clean. One of them says “No, it’s dirty in here. It’s clean outside.”
There is an archway leading outside to the city nearby. I stand in the threshold of the archway and mock them, stepping outside and saying “clean,” then stepping back inside and saying “dirty,” several times. They are not amused.
My house is up ahead. When I get there, my wife is not there. I look around for her, only to find a commercial printing contractor waiting for me in her bathroom. He has a box for me and wants to review my order. He removesÂ two pairs of blue, nearly see-through plastic pants and tells me that he had to order them from England to get what I wanted.
He points out that because they are from England, the back pocket is on the left side instead of the right side, and asks if that’s okay.
I tell him, “Sure, that’s fine.”
But inside, I am wondering whether see through plastic blue pants were a good idea at all.
I wonder why I ordered them.