I’m in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas with two women there who are friends of friends, regularly involved in my social setting. I know their names, although I don’t know which one is which. I ask the blonde one if she would like to go have ice cream at the club. She agrees, and we get on our bikes and head up a very steep hill, talking, having a good time as we pedal.
An older couple tries to pass me on the hill and I inadvertently knock the woman off of her bike. I dismount and run back down the hill to make sure she’s okay. The fall has knocked her blouse off, although I don’t realize this until I am right beside her. She assumes I am running back to peek, and is trying to cover up and wave me off at the same time. I am mortified, apologize, get back on my bike and start peddling up the hill again, my date (whose name I still don’t know) riding to my right.
The older woman passes me on the left, making disparaging remarks as she does. The hill gets steeper and steeper, and I’m standing in my pedals trying to keep up with her, now trying not to look up her skirt as she stands up and pumps her pedals ahead of me as well, seeing as how she already thought I was a letch. She crests the hill and is gone from view. I realize that I am not able to climb anymore and, feeling somewhat embarrassed, I dismount and walk my bike the rest of the way up the hill. I know that the club is right at the crest on the left hand side.
I reach the crest, and the club is not there! I suddenly realize that I have climbed the wrong side of the ridge: the club is on the other side. I turn to tell my date my mistake and she is not there. She has, obviously, climbed the right road and is no doubt sitting at the club waiting for me, wondering where I went. I know that the only way to get to the club is to ride all the way down the bottom of the hill in front of me, then turn left and ride up the other side of the ridge, where I will find the club.
I hop on my bike and cruise down the hill. The road suddenly disgorges into the hallways of my sixth grade elementary school. It is a disaster: filthy walls, kids running around the halls, trying to get out of the school. I leave with them, and see rocky scree that leads down a hill to my apartment. At the bottom of the rockslide is a dormer window; this is how I enter my apartment, dropping about ten feet to the floor.
I am trying to find a phone number, or a name, or some way to contact my date and tell her where I am. I find my address book, and then realize that I can’t get back up out the dormer window. I stack up boxes, papers, books, and finally get up to the level where I can climb out of the apartment and up the scree, but there’s a neighbor kid sitting there, and he wants to show me the elaborate device he has rigged outside my window that will change the view of what I see there.
I try to be polite, but tell him I really don’t have time to play and will look at it later. He is insistent, and the scenes he programs outside my window begin to get disturbing and dangerous looking. I let him say his piece and finally he agrees to let me leave the apartment.
But then I realize that I have dropped the address book. I try to reach down with a rope to pull it up to me, but instead the rope hooks a refrigerator in the other corner of the room, and as I tug to free it, my tower of books and boxes falls, as does the refrigerator. When I stand again and look to the window, the neighbor boy’s father is climbing down to see me. He used to live in this apartment, and remarks how much I’ve changed it, moving the ventilation fan from the window we used to enter to the other window, behind when the refrigerator had stood. He still has a key to the apartment and lets me out the front door, so I don’t have to climb the window again.
Since I’m not used to leaving by that portal, I’m all disoriented and now don’t know how to get back up to the club. This side of the apartment is very urban and crowded. I walk over to a swarming community swimming pool and ask a man how to get to the club. He asks me which one I want. I tell him I’m not sure, but describe the location. “Ah!” he says, “You want the Red Club.” He hands me a red golf ball. I walk away from him and toss the ball away. It bounces high and hits someone in the pool in the head. I quickly walk up the hill so nobody knows it was me that threw the ball.
I come to a major city crossing, and a young cross guard speaks French to an older gentleman in the center of the intersection. I realize that I have friends in this neighborhood, and that they’re the friends who know the two women whose names I don’t know, one of whom is still waiting me at the club. I let myself into their house, but they’re not home. I turn on their computer to check for addresses and phone numbers, but it has an operating system I’ve never seen before and I can’t find what I need to find. I remember that they had a storage room in the basement where they kept papers, so I go downstairs, but the door the room is blocked with toys and games.
I begin to clear a path to the door, when I hear people coming in upstairs. I rush up to see them, and they are as I remembered them, children, even though I am an adult. I ask my friend the name of the blonde: he tells me “Sherry” and gives me her phone number. Finally! I ask if I can use his phone to call her and explain the situation. He points to a phone sitting by the computer.
As I reach to dial, the phone rings. I pick it up and a female voice says:
“Mark is dead. They’re sending his body.”
“What?” I say. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t live here.”
“Can I speak to your mother, then,” the female voice asks.
“I’m 45 years old,” I reply, “Not a child. I can take the message, but you need to give me the background.”
She laughs. Through the receiver I hear a child crying and saying “Mommy, you shouldn’t be laughing about this.” I hear the mother explaining the situation to the child.
I hang up the phone.
I dial Sherryâ€™s number.
The phone rings.
No one answers.