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A Corporate Office Nightmare
A telling of my fever-dream
The following is a telling of a dream I had. I don’t entirely know what it means. As a dream typically does, it contains nonsensical elements. The plot of the dream is as I experienced it, and because I’m still trying to figure out what it means, I’ve kept it as close as possible to what I experienced. It’s been lightly edited and embellished to keep this piece cohesive and to capture the emotion I felt when I awoke – beads of sweat on my forehead.
Jackie (my wife), two random acquaintances, and I walked through the sliding glass doors, tapping our badges on the sensors inside. The young man at the front desk, presumably an employee of the company, narrowed his eyes as we badged in.
“Let’s see that badge,” he said, more gruffly than I would expect from someone working a desk at a cushy corporate job. The man took our badges and looked at them and back at us, several times, as if running through a mental checklist. Perhaps every hair in the photo needed to match our visage. Perhaps I had clocked into the office for too few hours that week.
Apparently satisfied, he shooed us along. I seemed to be used to this type of interrogation, as if it was expected. It didn’t make it any less uncomfortable. I felt the eyes of every employee on our back. The air was stuffy with an aroma of paranoia.
The four of us began to weave our way through the suspicious tables, across a foyer, and toward our desks. Suddenly, from the loudspeakers that were questionably duct-taped to the walls, a voice emerged. It was a garbled mess, a gurgling of words and random syllables. It seemed to rhyme. I understood it to be an announcement of some kind.
Clearly, it was only garbled to me.
Everyone else in the office stopped, their eyes wide. Within the silence, the only movement was from a well-dressed woman a couple desks away. Her face contorted into a mask of rage. She held her ceramic coffee cup over her head and smashed it violently against her desk. Head to the sky, she screamed. Chips of ceramic and droplets of coffee flew everywhere.
The dam of silence burst, and the office was manic. People shouted uproariously and more cups were smashed. I heard several metallic clicks, a sliding sound, and a thunderous roar. A lion with a golden mane had emerged from a cage underneath someone’s desk. It looked hungry. Rattlesnakes scurried across the floor, aiming for ankles. I think I even saw a wildebeest in midst of it all.
The four of us, still together, in awe, fled. I sprinted toward the sliding door, leading us to the exit.
It was night. The street signs were bright and neon, but the glow they emitted was eerie and cold. People were streaming out of the office building. Through the crowd, I pushed to the left, the two acquaintances close behind. I couldn’t see Jackie, and my heart pounded anxiously. She had taken a right.
We were out of the office, but a new fear emerged. A man stumbled toward us. He was pocked with yellow-green spots, splotches across his arms and face. In one hand, he held a flask that looked as if it came straight from a chemistry lab, filled a quarter of the way with a deep green, glowing liquid. I shuddered as I noticed Washington’s portrait, a rolled up one dollar bill, suspended in the fluid. In his other hand, he held a needle.
Pocketing the needle, the man tried to swipe at us, bellowing in anger, confusion, sorrow, and desperation. Maybe we had more of the green liquid in our pockets. I was acutely aware that he wanted more. My companions screamed.
“Run!” I yelled. Somehow I knew where to go, knew where to run. Breaking from the crowd, we bolted down a side street. Plastic trash lined the corners of the road, clumping up like some makeshift gutter. Heckling voices and cackling laughter arose from invisible mouths, radiating ominously from the concrete buildings that surrounded us. Anyone indoors seemed to jeer at those who resorted to walking on the streets.
As we ran, frayed tents lined the alleyway. Hungry mouths peered our way. The darkness was cut only by the occasional neon lamp post, precarious and crusted with rust. I caught a glimpse of a crumbled bridge.
Little puddles of the green liquid were on the street. In our flight, I saw a woman with rabid eyes, zealously licking the bright glowing green from the squalid ground. She too had the yellow-green splotches, her clothes ripped, her hair disheveled. Strangely, her Gucci fannypack looked untouched. She looked up and met my eyes. They were wild, hungry, insatiable. I pumped my legs faster, and took a swift left down the alley.
The alley had become a road. A quiet descended. No one was in sight. I kept running. As I ran, I turned back and it seemed that I had lost my friends. Perhaps they were chugging from green flasks. In front of me was a bus stop with a single lamp post, giving off a warm yellow glow.
I saw Jackie running toward me, down the other side of the road, into the light. We didn’t stop running until we found each other’s arms, and I sat upright in my bed. It was Monday. The birds were already singing their morning song.
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