I returned to Lulu’s hive later that night. It was cold, dark, and deserted. I found my cell phone in her chamber and collected it. I couldn’t stay there, so I turned into a giant bat and flapped over to Phil’s cabin. He looked perplexed.
“God am I happy to see you. This place is magical in some ways, every time I wake up I seem to have enough booze and food and cigarettes around, but fuck! I had an ordeal earlier, maybe the worst fucking nightmare of my life. Lulu was forcing me to talk to Roger, she kept screaming at me to be more forceful, but I was too afraid of Roger. I started to wonder who I was more afraid of, then what the hell difference it made. You don’t know what it’s like, being stuck between two maniacs.”
Phil paused for a second before grabbing a bottle and taking an enormous pull.
“Fuck it. Dream or reality, what the hell does it matter? If I can’t tell the difference, to hell with it.”
“You’ll know when you’re hungover.”
Phil cleared up for a second.
“I don’t get hungover anymore, and it’s beginning to worry me. Not enough to change of course, but nonetheless. Nonetheless.”
He took another enormous pull and passed me the bottle.
“Do you think you could talk with dolphins?”
“Fuck no! I mean probably, but why the hell would I want to?”
“Maybe their thoughts will be more organized than these woodland creatures. Maybe it’ll be easier for you to cope.”
Phil eyed me suspiciously.
“You thinking about turning into a dolphin? Well why the hell not? Maybe. At least it’ll be a change of pace from slowly losing my mind out here in the middle of the fucking wilderness.”
We stayed up until dawn. When I finally fell asleep, I didn’t automatically block out the others, and they left themselves open as well. We dreamed together of the hiss of air released by the brake lines as a train settles into town, of parades led by marching bands down wide tree lined streets, the mighty circuses of old behind them. We dreamed of buckets of fried chicken, of endless rivers of whiskey and silence, of old locomotives well oiled and repaired. We were carried off to a new, southward wilderness of long grasses and scrub brush, where we dreamed of river and jungle, of tigers, children, and freedom.
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