The Shovel Made Me Do It
Dream | November 23, 2008
The first thing I remember is sitting on a concrete platform next to a playground with a girlfriend and we were talking of the future, of plans and dreams and timelines. It was a bright warm day in summer, in some New England city. I remember my history was some guy who had been in and out of prison many times for various violent and non-violent crimes, and now I was on my last graces, last time I was on parole. If I did something else I would be put away for a long time. So I was on my best behavior and playing it straight.
So we're sitting on this platform, and I'm laying down and I looking up a the sky, and I'm seeing these spots against the blue. Then I remember I had to go meet someone shady somewhere nearby. I sit up and look down the street and there're some kids in the playground and I think I look like Dustin Hoffman playing Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy, kind of a sleezy, skeezy person always up to something. If it wasn't for the girl accompanying me, the parents of these children would probably come scoop them up.
I told her I'd be right back, and I went around the corner and down a couple blocks to where my my old Suburban was parked. While I walked it began to snow and the landscape transitioned from bright summer day to dark winter night. When I arrived my truck was heavily blanketed in snow. In the back seat I was supposed to meet Tommy the dealer to get my fix. It wouldn't be so bad getting caught for scoring drugs as opposed to robbing a convenience store or killing someone.
Tommy is one of those heavy addicts who sells his surplus to support his own habit. All day he's been shootin' up and poppin' down, so when his heart goes kablooie the last thing I want is to get blamed for his death. But there he was convulsing and frothing at the mouth, and there I was freaking out, thinking how the cops are gonna nail me for this. Someone would suggest I forced it in him so I could take his goods, and it would be all downhill from there.
I had just decided to turn him over to the police or hospital and play it straight and cool, when lights shone on the back of my truck. It's dark so the sudden light was startling.
Feet crunch in the snow. An old nemesis named Deckard. He was tall and strong, and a criminal in the past who had also taken a safe route in recent years. Like that character in Usual Suspects who was always trying to go the good road and all his cronies were pulling him back. Restauranteur... you know the guy. Gabriel Byrne.
So he comes over and knocks on the window. I open the door and he says get out. He had seen what had happened and wanted Tommy's goods, coz Tommy was notorious for carrying around large amounts of stash and cash. Deckard could say I killed Tommy, and I see him testifying with a poker face, so I get all freaked out again.
Something glints in the snow. It's a short shovel with a handle. The backseat door is opened and Deckard is most of the way into the car and rifling through Tommy's pockets. His leg is exposed so I take the sharp end of the shovel and I ram it into the back of his leg behind the knee. He screams out in pain — immediately pissed off but continuing what he's doing. It's a dream, so normally getting hit like that would cause him to stop what he was doing. I yank the shovel back and repeatedly hit him all the way up this leg and he crawls inside.
So I yell out I'm coming in after him to bash him on the head and I peer into the truck and he's gone.
Remember Tommy? Yep, he's still dead and slouched over on the seat. Deckard musta exited the other door, but I hadn't heard a noise. I look around the back and see his dark footprints and blood in the fresh snow. His vehicle is turned around now so that I approach the driver's side from the rear. The rear turn signal is flashing a glowing red in the dark snowy night and I swing the shovel and shatter the whole taillight assembly into a million plastic shards. As I make my way up to the window I hammer dents in the side of his truck with the shovel and crack a side window. I'm about to thrust it through the open driver's window I realize a woman is sitting there screaming and Deckard is in the passenger seat. I yell through the cabin that if he doesn't get out of the neighborhood now I'll smash the windshield and I might smash their skulls too. She's in an insane panic and the truck just screeches off at that point and they're off down the road.
I see them turn left at the intersection and head toward the main street that joins many areas. So I run after them, heading off at a hypotenuse through a vacant lot and past some brownstones. They're waiting at the light and talking with some local kids on rusty bicycles. Probably got axed why their truck is so messed up. The light had turned green but they were still chatting. So I run up and swing around that shovel and the windshield just implodes into their screaming faces. The kids are slack-jawed and I hear someone say that was a bad move. Maybe that was my conscience. I turn around and see a police motorcycle parked at the curb and partially obscured by a storefront corner. The officer is nowhere in sight. So I take off at that point. Plenty witnesses to a violent crime. The last straw I didn't need. Shovel in hand I lope through the snow and disappear into the night.
I'm running across an athletic field and into a very high fence. I jump up and clamber up the chain-link with the shovel in my right hand. I jump down the other side and find there are two more high fences like that one. So I climb those too and finally jump down into a dark forest and I'm running and running and running and realize it doesn't matter how far I run they will catch me. But I'm still running now across farmland and into more woods. Eventually I run all my energy out and collapse on the snow. All I have left is the shovel which I should've ditched along the way since it was the weapon.
I open my eyes and see spots across the sky. Blink and they're gone. It's warm and the sky is that bright blue. I'm laying on the concrete platform again and she's saying something. I wasn't really sure if all that had actually happened. Was it a dream inside a dream? The shovel was lying by my side so I knew it had happened and I wondered should I stay, should I run? The dream faded at that point.