State of the Union

Alan P. Scott - Fictions - Dream Logs

fear factor

I came out of the small, dark corner grocery store first, hoping to avoid the altercation that had been brewing. I just couldn't seem to learn to keep my mouth shut about the way things were going. My family and I - wife and two kids, same as life - were already in reduced circumstances. We'd moved back to my little home town, trying to keep a low profile. We didn't want to attract any (more?) attention from the Office of Homeland Security.

After a brief stop in the shelter of a nearby entranceway to calm down, I went back to the car we were driving, parked a half-block or so west of the store on 7th Avenue. Our car, the most detailed thing about this dream, was a huge, rounded black bulk from the 1940s or '50s, with slick pale seats and no seatbelts, very hard to steer.

Two short, Hispanic men were leaning on the car when I got to it. They didn't seem menacing, not for more than a moment; rather, I saw that they were both despondent, and hoping without much hope for some assistance. They moved away to let me unlock the door, then got into the back seat wordlessly, as if they'd been expecting me. They obviously wanted me to drive them somewhere.

I put the key in and turned the car on from outside to let it warm up, only planning to drive back to the store, to pick up my wife and the children. I tried to explain, doing the best I could in half-remembered Spanish. "Mi hermana," I said, "esta in groceria." They didn't move, almost didn't react; I don't know if they understood.

I reached in again and turned the car off, to make the point, and began pushing the heavy old vehicle backwards on the yellow bricks, to get it closer to my family without giving the men any opportunity to drive off with the car.

Finally my wife came out of the grocery store, heading up 7th Avenue towards where I had been parked. I didn't see the kids at first, and started to panic, but it was all right - they were walking beside her.

I didn't know where we were going to put everybody. Despite the fact that this old black car was huge, its back seat didn't seem to have any more room than the one we'd had before in our little Toyota. The Hispanic men were actually sitting on top of the kids' car seats. I couldn't tell how the car seats were secured, possibly with bolts or retrofitted belts, but it didn't seem possible to remove them easily.

My wife went past the car, not noticing that I'd moved it. I had to call out to get her attention. Just about then a tall, blond man with a suspicious resemblance to Robert Redford showed up, insisting we take him along too. Though I was inclined at first to think he was with the OHS, it became clear to me that he and the Hispanic men knew each other, that they were allies, if wary ones.

We all managed to pile into the car somehow, and I started the engine and headed out. The Robert Redford clone noticed that something had been scrawled on the left-hand rear wing window, where I was unlikely to see it, some sort of political slogan that, if witnessed, would be sure to get us all in trouble. I hadn't even put it there, hadn't even known it was there.

It hit me then that I might as well not bother trying to hide anymore; once the government decided we were a danger, they'd just manufacture evidence if they couldn't find any. We might as well help these people as much as we could; it couldn't make things worse.

January 30, 2002
after George W. Bush's "Axis of Evil" State of the Union address

©2002 Alan P. Scott. All rights reserved.

This document was last updated February 9, 2002.

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