fish parade

I was eating a sandwich late at night under a tree at the crossroads of a rural village with two teenaged kids I didn’t know. Across the street there was a gas and two-bay service station, closed for the night, with a couple of old cars parked out front of the garage doors. The kids chatted with each other while I stared across the street at the cars.

A sudden gust of wind came through the trees overhead, blew a plume of dust across the road, and when it got to the other side fo the street it picked one of the cars up off the ground and shoved it through the garage door into the pile of boxes inside the service bay, crushing them. The wind came up again, picked up another car parked out front and shoved it into the other service bay, wrecking the car and everything inside. Another gust flipped both cars on end, smashing the overhead fluorescents. The wind kept gusting and the cars kept on smashing until both cars and everything in both service bays was reduced to junk.

When the wind finally died down and the dust began to settle, I had finished my sandwich. “Well, that was weird,” I remarked out loud.

“What was?” one of the kids asked.

“The way that wind blew those cars around,” I explained, pointing at the garage across the street. They both turned to look at the twisted remains of the cars in the service bay, but didn’t seem to think anything was weird about it.

“You mean you didn’t hear the wind …” I began to ask, looking up through the trees. “Whoa. Now there’s something I haven’t seen for a long, long time.”

Through the tree’s branches, the Milky Way lit up the night sky. I backed out from under the branches of the tree to get a better look. As I stepped out into the street, the Milky Way became a fat salamander, its head at the eastern horizon, its tail stretching to the western horizon. It wriggled across the sky, turning to face north-south, then scuttled away into the distance, to be replaced by starfish, a barracuda, a giant squid, a school of tuna.

I walked along the road smiling up at a parade of fish that went on and on. The road became the street of a shopping mall. The sky became the ceiling. The starry fish became colorful pinatas made of papier mache.

I can’t remember how this dream ended, but the sight of the Milky Way is still vivid in my memory.

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