High school, getting ready to take a bus trip for a basketball game — but I can’t find my uniform anywhere, or my shoes. I look everywhere, but my room is full of art and garbage, and the more I dig the messier it becomes. I literally can’t walk without tripping or climbing over stuff. I think, “I’m not gonna get to play anyway. Fuck it, I’m not going.”
In the locker room everyone is about to leave. Someone finds a uniform for me, and I find an old pair of shoes that should work — they’re not basketball shoes, but actually much more comfortable. Coach Lavachek tells me I can’t wear these shoes, cause they’re not the right color. “What are you talking about?” I say. He holds up an example of the correct shoe: it’s exactly the same, except for a white stripe on mine. I point this out, but he’s adamant.
They leave on the bus.
At some point I guess I find what I’m looking for — or else I’m just going as spectator — because I’m in the car with my parents, on the way to Des Lacs for the game.
When we get there, it’s impossible to navigate because there are no roads in the town — every square foot between houses is covered with lawn, or gardens, flowers, or fences, or piles of rubbish. We’re in a truck or bus now, and I’m driving. We’re precariously inching our way along this really narrow concrete ledge, trying not to tip over the side. Somehow make it through…
We’re driving faster now when suddenly I notice there’s some little kids (toddlers) playing right in front of me. I am able to slow down before running them over. I see my aunt Caroline off to the side, paying little attention — apparently these are her kids, or anyway she’s watching them. This bus has no windshield, so I lean out and look down, shake my fist at them and at Caroline and yell jokingly, laughing, “Get the hell out of the way, you bastards! get off my lawn!” (I am not worried now that I see Carolyn, since she will have plenty of time to grab the little ones and move them out of the way.) She looks up at us, recognizes us but doesn’t do anything. I am still moving, and the kids haven’t moved, so now I’m sure I’m going to run them over and cannot stop in time. Now I’m enraged and terrified, yelling at her. …….. I can’t remember if I run them over or not…..
We park somewhere and get out. This nice, somewhat old lady is tending her garden, raking leaves or something, and she smiles at us and says, “What are you doing here?” “We’re here for the basketball game,” we tell her. “Oh, goodness, no. Oh, that was cancelled, wasn’t it?” “Not that I know of.” “Well, it should have been. You’d better leave. I’d get out of here as soon as you can.” Crazy old lady? She goes on, “It’s not safe, haven’t you heard? There’s a virus going around, it’s contaminated the whole town.” O.K., she’s standing outside… Crazy lady, clearly.
But then it occurs to us that the town appears empty — she’s the only person in sight…
A car drives by, spraying huge jets of water from each side — sort of like irrigating or spraying weeds, or spraying for mosquitos. I think it’s water, and since I’m hot and thirsty, I let it wash over my head and face, and open my mouth wide to drink some of it.
My dad suddenly, without a word, turns around and starts running back the way we came, toward the car. (I have never seen my dad run like this.)
Apparently there is indeed some horrible chemical contaminant engulfing the town — and I’m not sure if this spraying car was responsible for spreading it or trying to control it, but in either case clearly I should not have drunk this stuff or gotten it all over my face….
(But, then, I should really just shut my bloody trap. Shouldn’t I.)