Like seriously, is the moon new or full or waning or doing something else crazy? Again? So soon? Because the dreams are killing me . . .
I’m way back Cains River, a little bit off the main road on what I guess must be a logging road. Not sure why I’m there alone but I need to get out of there. It’s awhile ago. I’m a teenager. I can tell by the jean jacket I’m wearing, it’s all written up on the inside with signatures and song lyrics and poetry. It’s a gorgeous morning, warm, breezy, and no mosquitoes (which is total fantasy if you’ve ever been back Cains River in the morning . . . or anytime for that matter). I’m thinking about walking back to Blackville but it’s really far so I’m laying in the bushes reflecting on my choices when a red Ford ’70’s half-ton truck pulls in behind me. A man gets out, mid-twenties, about 6’1″, slim, short spiky dirty blonde hair, greasy, a mouth full of braces or rotten teeth, wearing a white Rush muscle shirt, some sort of tattoo on his bicep, cigarette in his mouth, dirty workgloves on his hands. He’s dumping garbage off the tailgate. I jump up and scare him a bit, but I want a ride back to civilization, I’m desperate. So I say Hi, nice day, what are you doing, etc. I’m confused about how he got behind me on this logging road. Want to know where he came from. Is there another main road on the other end? Am I close to Rogersville? Dupres Lake? Blackville? Where am I exactly? And he’s evasive. Twitchy. The more questions I ask, the twitchier he gets. Then I remember someone telling me about people disappearing back Cains River, about families living back there in the woods, nobody knew where, kind of cultish communes, and it occurs to me that he’s one of them. I shut up. Thank him for his help. Start backing away toward the main road, determined to walk to Blackville. The CB radio in his truck crackles with static and someone calls to him, says something I can’t hear. I speed up. When I get to the road and out of his line of sight I start running, just as I hear his truck start up, pull out and come after me. I dive for the treeline and . . .
I’m at a costume party at an old country farmhouse. It’s like a scene out of Anna Karenina. My dress is heavy, so many petticoats. Everyone’s dressed to the period and the group assembled are all writers and literary types. Marilyn and Jan host, though this is not their house. The farmhouse has high ceilings and antique mahogany tables filled with trays of fresh fruit, cheeses, breads, vegetables, goblets of wine. I can smell pork and salmon cooking somewhere. It’s the height of summer and the countryside is burning down. The stench of smoke invades everything, my clothes, the curtains, my hair. I can look out any window and see flames, black smoke in the distance. It’s a lazy day. People drift from room to room barely talking, nibbling on things. A very quiet gathering, soft music (Mozart?) wafting in from somewhere, everyone lost in their own thoughts. I could sleep I’m so lazy from the heat, the wine, the heavy dress. Marilyn enters the room, sees me and comes over. Gives me a welcoming hug, tells me she’s so glad I could come, she’s found the perfect thing for me and has been waiting to give it to me. She takes me out back to a guest house (cottage). It’s full of books – on shelves, stacked on tables, piled on the floor. Old hard covered treasures. Shakespeare. Keats. Blake. Chekhov. Kafka. Dickens. Marilyn mutters and searches for the book she wants me to have while I thumb through all the titles in amazement. “Aha!” she says and hands me a sheaf of yellowing papers. Writing from another time. Longhand text. A story maybe or a section of a longer work. “Never published,” she whispers. I skim. Notice the author’s name. Henry David Thoreau. I gape. Someone calls Marilyn just then and she excuses herself. I’m stunned. I follow her to the doorway and watch her cross the backyard to the main house. The smoke has thickened. I can hear the fire snap. Sparks start to fall like rain on the back lawn. People run out of the house yelling, warning. I look up and the rafters of the cottage are all ablaze. Holy Shit! Without thinking I run back into the room and start gathering books, trying to save them. I can hear the house collapsing around me. People screaming for me to come out . . .
I’m sitting at the bar in Avenue at the Four Seasons, facing the door when Jon Bon walks in, scans the room, sees me, smiles and comes over. We hug and kiss cheeks in greeting. Old friends, me and Jon. Wasn’t it just last summer he had me stay over at his house for a month or so? Wasn’t it just months ago we were driving around with Richie and Heather? So good to see him again. He’s wearing a tan brown coloured leather jacket, white shirt with the top buttons undone, gold chain around his neck, faded jeans like latex and worn brown boots. He guides me by the elbow to a table in the private VIP room. Very nice decor. Simple, yet elegant. Away from prying eyes. We order a bottle of wine and appetizers. I ask about the tour, how his kids are making out in school, how everyone else in the band is doing. I’m genuinely interested. I care about him, he’s a dear old friend. We talk about my writing, creativity in general, hopes and dreams, what’s going well in our lives and what’s going not so well. We’re very comfortable together, can talk about anything, everything. Eventually I ask about his wife and he goes quiet for a second, brow furrows. Then he smiles and blurts it all out. The reason he asked me to meet him tonight is because his marriage is over. They tried but they can’t work out their differences. It’s for the best really, he hasn’t been in love with his wife for quite a few years now. I’m shocked. They seemed like the perfect couple, the fairytale romance. He continues, saying he’s tired of being the rock star. He can’t handle another day of being under constant public scrutiny. He wants out. He wants to run away, to hide, to just disappear. He’s all worked up about it. Very emotional. Glossy eyed. And it breaks my heart to see him like this. He wants to come back to New Brunswick with me, take a break, get lost in the small town. I say sure, anything he wants, we’ll work through it, I’ll help. He’s welcome to stay as long as he wants. I can probably even set him up in my uncle’s camp on the water, so he can be alone, think things out. I pat his hand. There, there. He coils his fingers in mine and squeezes my hand, looks into my eyes, “No, you don’t understand. I don’t want to be alone. I want to be with you. I’m in love with you.” I laugh nervously. But he’s serious. I can see it in his eyes. Intense blue. Oh God . . .
There’s a new girl living on the Barnettville Road. She looks like Jennifer Jason Leigh, circa Single White Female, with a bleached blonde pixie cut. She’s way out of hand, wild and unruly. So of course she lives at Marty’s. Lee has a crush on her. All the boys on the road are screwing her or trying to. She drives a four door white Crown Victoria with red leather interior. Parties all the time. They say she’ll do anything with anyone for a little bit of weed or a bottle of beer. She likes to tease, flirt, with the boys, with girls, old, young, she doesn’t discriminate. I warn Lee to stay away from her, but of course he doesn’t listen. She lures him onto the road with a wink and a giggle. Then she and the boys she’s partying with laugh as they chase him with the car and spin rocks at him. At one point I look out the living room picture window and see she’s somehow managed to drive onto our front deck. I can’t figure out how. It’s not logical, all the railings are intact. She laughs, blows kisses and drives away before I can figure it out. Lee comes home badly beaten, all cut up, bleeding, bruised. Me and Mom take the car (the black LTD with tan interior that Dad had when I was a kid) and go looking for them, we go looking for a fight, ready to retaliate . . .
I pick up Herschel in Blackville and he’s in bad shape, mumbling all kinds of crazy stuff. He says him and Holly (Kim’s girl I think) were bitten by the devil’s spiders and now their souls belong to him. They have to do the devil’s work. Herschel’s terrified, frantic. He needs to get to town, needs to stop her before she does something terrible. He says Holly is leaving on a train to Toronto to ruin all the people there. He’s chain-smoking, trembling, sweating profusely. I think he’s gotten into some bad drugs. Think I should take him to the hospital. He keeps saying he doesn’t want to do bad things. He cries, big fat tears falling from his bloodshot eyes. I notice how thin he is, wonder what he’s into. He says nothing. Just a little weed, nothing stronger. He thinks the only way to end it is to kill himself, but first he’s got to stop Holly. He climbs into the back seat to lay down while I race to town. I need to get him to the hospital. He’s doubled over with cramps in the back seat, moaning with pain, saying he doesn’t want to over and over. All of a sudden he goes quiet and alarmed I turn to look and see if he’s okay. He’s sitting up, quite still and calm, the pupils of his eyes burning bright red, his lips curled in a snarl . . .
And then I woke up. Exhausted. A little bit disoriented and afraid. Wondering where all the Dodges have gone. The clock said I had been asleep less than an hour. It took much longer to write all the dreams down than to have them. There haven’t been many nights without dreams in my lifetime. Any dreamless nights that did occur only happened after much liquor and/or drugs and/or many days in succession without any sleep at all. My mother dreams like this too, so I know I’m not the only one, but still . . . sometimes I wish I could just turn it off and sleep for real.
Mood: out of hand
Listening To: On the Run, Sam Roberts
Hair: recently laundered and too f’ing thick to handle