Dude Dreams of a Grand Gesture

Dude didn't fight fires all the time. In the night the men slept. Here's where the inmates took their true recreation. In their dreams they made their escapes on a nightly basis. In the morning they'd return their night-wandering consciousness to the camp. So Dude did his share of dreaming.

Another thing was what he planned to do with money. He got it for the girl, that's true. But once he had it, what exactly was his plan? How was money the solution in his small brain? How would the money make the difference in his state of affairs with the girl? Just this: the money would make him her equal.

These two things, the money and the dream, were to fuse while he was in camp. In truth, being a fan of film, Dude was planning a grand gesture. It was a combination of film with happy endings and his flair for the dramatic. It would be grand, on an epic scale, and all for her benefit. So this grand gesture was what he dreamed of, even now locked up, even so with the money run out. He no longer had the girl, or the money, but he still had the dream. Sometimes for a man the dream is enough.

On Monday and Friday nights he dreamed this:

His pockets bulging with bills he proceeded north east to Michigan. The drive was sumptuous and the weather perfect. He would pull up to her work place at the YMCA, run inside, grab her by the hand, toss a roll that would choke a horse to the supervisor, and snatch her away and off into the sunset, that's what he'd do. That was the up-front in-your-face version. It wasn't a cinematic triumph, but it would do. He dreamed that one frequently.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night when his REM sleep was longer, there was this version:

He'd drive up again in a wonderful shiny car, chrome flashing in the sunlight, music playing something triumphant, like the theme to Rocky in stereophonic and Dolby sound, eight channels. The road, quite straight in southern California would grow curvy and tortuous with each mile it progressed farther north-east to Ironwood. But not to worry, the car, usually a Porsche 911, would only laugh at the roadway and negotiate every turn with ease.

He would wear aviator sunglasses and a leather bomber-jacket, it had to be a leather bomber-jacket, the ones with the map of Europe printed on the lining, and he'd pull up and stroll into her pasty shop. Naturally, she wouldn't recognize him. Then he'd engage in some clever repartee full of hidden innuendos. He'd try to seduce her with his words only to find out it was ‘no can do’ because she was enamored with some guy with a disreputable past that she had lost touch with but had never given up hope for his return, kinda like he was in the foreign legion. Then he'd remove the glasses and she'd faint dead away. He always liked it when they fainted dead away, it seemed so lady-like, and he'd take it from there.

Long shot, profiles in silhouettes kissing in the sunset, black construction paper cut-outs, lip to impassioned lip, that sort of cinematic thing.

Variations on these themes were his nightly companions. In the morning he'd wake up to find himself alone in his bunk, no woman, no car, no freedom and no money. It wasn't much of a way to start your day, but it was all he had. Kind of discouraging isn't it? Always measuring our narrow pathetic lives against the width of the silver screen. But we're Americans. That's what we do.

Dude was the King of Wishful Thinking... that’s all. Everyone wants to be the King or Queen of Something. Without that, life just isn’t worth living.

To paraphrase Shakespeare, “There is nothing more common than the desire to be remarkable.”


https://youtu.be/BGlRG44WSDc King of Wishful Thinking