Saturday, January 11, 2014


In the first part I invented a fire alarm. I made a large effigy of a man and dressed him in bright scarlet pajamas and night cap. I suspended the effigy from the ceiling by a rope noosed around its neck, and then I pinned it to the ceiling with a beam pressed into its stomach. If the house caught fire, the beam, which was made of highly inflammable material, would burn up quickly, allowing the effigy to swing down, crash through a high window, and hang outside the house. Passersby would see a big scarlet-clad dummy hanging out the window and know there was a fire inside. (I've already applied for a patent, so don't try to steal this idea.)

In the second part I was carrying my acoustic guitar down West Court Street in Flint, MI, my home town. I was going to practice in a graveyard, as is my wont. I passed a big Catholic church with a bunch of Hispanics pouring in and out. A young man came up to me and asked me in Spanish if he could see my guitar. I gave it to him, knowing that he was going to show off his virtuosity. Sure enough, he started playing a bluesy number so beautifully—as beautifully as anyone could on my low-end guitar--that everyone stopped to listen, and when he finished they all cheered and applauded. I took back my guitar, thanked him, and hurried on, hoping he wouldn't ask me to play.

In the third part I was attending a big university, and my next class was on another campus or a remote corner of the same campus. I got on a shuttle bus, but when it took an unexpected turn I realized that I'd boarded the wrong one. The bus started speeding down the freeway away from the university, however. I knew I was going to miss my class and end up in a strange, distant place. (This part is a recurring dream for me.)