Not to Get Caught
Dream | September 28, 2011
The big hand at my back keeps shoving me forward with an irritated urgency. It's Ivan the Torturer, pushing me through the airport while he leads an older woman by the chain of her handcuffs.
Nazi officers pass by occasionally, ignoring us. The era is World War II but the airport is modern in design, and at this late hour only sparsely filled with travellers. I'm an American boy about 12 years old.
We stop. Ivan pushes open a bathroom door and gestures inside. For a moment I stare ahead at a group of passengers waiting at a gate. On the right are glossy black windows. Outside is the huge bulbous nose of a jumbo jet. Then Ivan grabs me roughly by the shoulder and shoves me through the door. He yanks the poor woman after him and the door swings shut.
The bathroom is dirty, and tinted green from sickly fluorescent lights. On the floor halfway into a stall are two angonizing skeletons with broken arm bones. Ivan grabs my hand and cinches a thick, frayed rope around my wrist. He throws the other end over a 2" x 4" that spans the width of the room at the height of the top of the door. It's obviously some kind of torture device and I think this is how the skeletons' arms were broken. But when he pulls my hand up to it he only mashes it down on the top of the bar without really trying to break anything, and he starts this evil chuckling, growling sound. I have this idea I'm an actor in a scene where I should be screaming, but I'm really just confused.
Then he stops and releases me, turning towards one of the back stalls for something. Suddenly inspired, I heave against his back and send him stumbling towards the stall door. His head goes crashing into it, throwing it open, and he falls against the filthy toilet. Quickly I pull the stall door shut until it clicks, bolt past the woman and explode out of the bathroom.
Ahead is the gate, and beyond is a long row of inky black windows curving around to the left. I'm sprinting towards a group of passengers discharged from an arriving flight and intermingling with waiting travellers. Shuffling through the group, trying to get onto the plane, I think I hear Ivan raging behind me in the bathroom. But ahead are security guards, so I run past the gate and follow the windows down past rows of seats.
A service exit is suddenly in front of me. It makes a right angle to the windows, and they continue past the door. Panicking, I heave and pull but it's locked!
On the floor is a microwave. What it's doing there I don't know, but I pick it up and heave it into one of these large windows. Not even a crack. I pick it up and thrust it again and again at different windows. Finally one cracks and I see it is reinforced with a wire mesh. In my frustration I launch the microwave at the door and one of the panes smashes through just enough to allow my hand through to unlock the handle from the outside.
The door open I'm running down wooden flights of stairs that turn at right angles as they descend towards the tarmac. All around is the endless runway, with the sparkling lights of Berlin in the distance.
A group of four Nazi soldiers march up out of the darkness, standing below me on the asphalt. I stop on a landing, leaning over the wooden railing. The leader shouts out for me to turn myself in.
I yell back, “No! Why should I make it easy for you to capture me? You're just going to torture me again!"
The leader is an attractive German woman. “Every country tortures prisoners. That is part of war."
“Not my country!" Immediately I realize the fallacy of this statement, and the officer laughs. “Just come down and we will treat you humanely." She points to the ground in front of her boots.
Even as she speaks the other three soldiers are stalking around the stairway to approach me from different sides. The single stairway has become a cluster of wooden structures like an elaborate playground set with places to climb and crawl around on.
And the soldiers begin to climb up after me. This is where it becomes both thrilling and fun. For about ten minutes they attempt to surround me, but I jump to other structures, or crawl quickly into tight spots. Sometimes I'm way above them, easing through a narrow space between stairways, and other times we're all clambering around like spiders in a close game of capture the fly. Eventually I wind up high on the side of a platform attached to the airport building, just below the windows. The soldiers are on other structures but the officer is still following me.
I make one last dodge as she mounts the platform, slipping off the side and seeing an escape route. She is obviously frustrated, and sits down on some cushions with her back against the building, gazing out at the dark runway.
When she takes her cap off a lovely pile of golden blonde hair falls to her shoulders. She is very beautiful. She looks at me and smiles. I wonder how old she is. Twenty four maybe... I think, well that's a twelve-year difference. Perhaps a bit too much.
As if reading my mind, she says, “I am seventeen years old. How old are you?"
“Twelve." Still watching her through the bars of the wooden railing, I realize she is not trying to catch me anymore. So I push through and approach her.
She watches as I sit down next to her. “If we weren't at war we could be friends," she says.
In front of us the faint twinkling lights of the runway slowly stream towards us and become a freeway, with bright signs, strip malls, billboards and lights rushing under us. I sink down and relax against her, tired from the whole escape.
As I doze off she hands me a joint and I take a hit.