I'm with Choi and Praveen and we're talking about what we want to do today. We don red t-shirts and have decided, seemingly mutually, to go into what we're calling 'South-Central,' although the city or region is not more clearly described. I would assume Los Angeles, but you never know.
I get the feeling that we are interested in gangs and gang violence and we'd like to spend some time with the bloods in this South-Central area of town. Our motives are good, and our goals genuine. We're sociologists of sorts. I then begin to think of the gravity of our actions.
I begin to think about what it might mean for me, a white guy, Praveen of Indian descent, and Choi of Korean blood, to walk through said neighborhood, sporting blatantly the colors of a street gang, without having any more specific relationship with a certain click or faction. We don't know any bloods, and it seems our choice was totally arbitrary.
This begins to make me fearful, and I'm trying to talk myself through the stab wounds I'm sure to incur. Choi and Praveen don't seem worried at all. Finally, after much worrying, I make my sentiment felt among the triad. I'm not comfortable with this, this is dangerous, maybe even stupid, why don't we consider being crips, etc???
Team convincing not to go seems like it takes a mere fraction of the time it took worrying and fretting over hypotheticals. We decide to go back - to where, I don't know - and regroup. Of course, as luck would have it, on the way back, we meet up with a group of rivals. Choi and I are still wearing the red shirts, a flag of our bloodness, and it's clear to our adversaries that we're in the wrong place at the wrong time, to employ cliche. At this point, I start thinking about explanations (fashion coincidence, men's league soccer jersey, etc) but before I can pitch an option, Choi throws up the sign of the Bloods. It's simple, unrealistic, but effective. Four fingers pointed towards the ground with thumb hidden is just what our challengers need to approach, hollering, one-by-one.
The first attacker goes at Choi, which seems fitting, and I'm not really worried about it. I prepare to take on attacker no. 2, who is, as the classic knowledge goes with bulls, attracted to red. We clash, and before it gets too real, everything changes. I am in a totally different place, by myself, doing other things, climbing other mountains. You see, I've been a pacifist so long, I can't even fathom what a fight looks like in first person. It just doesn't happen, so I move on.
The second of the third is much more patchy, and for this reason, I'll be short. I remember climbing around on a group of trees and moss, suspended above a lake about 25 feet below. My sentiment was adventurous, but also cautious. I seemed to know that a fall wouldn't be productive. I end up at the bottom of a rope, hanging for dear life, when I see that there's a pool in the middle of the collection of trees. When I say pool, I mean like an apartment pool, treated and with tiles. I begin swinging on my rope, back and forth, until I think I can drop into the pool, where two strange girls await. That's all I remember.
Next, I was near a large van full of people who had crossed me. I don't know how or who they were, but boy was I pissed. Evidently, their crime against me was something so heinous that I felt death was a possible castigation for each and every one of them. I think there were 6. Luckily, I had a machete. I began slicing through the van's windows, which were very darkly tinted. I remember picking out certain people whose windows I would slash. I was making it a point trying not to hurt them, yet. I just wanted them to know that I knew they were in there. Assholes.
They finally all came out, one by one, and lined up by the car, facing me. One of the dudes said something and I lightly tapped his arm with the machete. Immediately, a line of blood appeared as if the machete had been dipped in ink. This seemed to convey the profundity of my anger and the six began to cooperate.
At some point, and this is very shaky, our production became just that - an act. There was an audience around us, and our conflict took on a capoiera type of expression. What's interesting is that a major part of the audience was my third grade class from Allan Elementary, specifically Damian, Kristina, and Mark, amongst others. I got the feeling they were all there, of course. They love their Mr. Cameron. This was the end of this part.
I find myself walking around a renaissance fair with Ster, Mom, Dad, Kathryn. I'm really preoccupied with taking photos. We are seeing castle ruins and statues and all I can think about is getting my camera set up right for the picture. Then, I'll switch to my video camera, and make someone hold my other stuff. It seems to be much more work than usual.
Ster looks up at an old castle wall and comments that it's amazing that it's all built with the same size blocks. It's probably 40 feet tall. I turn around and see that there's a moon bounce and some colorful shit to take pics of, so I abandon the wall. I walk over toward the moon bounce, which is a castle, and see a statue that catches my attention. It is very shiny and obviously not from the Renaissance. It is actually a large statue of the San Antonio Spurs coyote, their mascot. I'm trying diligently to get the bastard into the frame of my wide angle lens which I've laboriously attached. Some dude acting like an asshole comes over and wants me to get him in the picture with the coyote, too. I'm pissed at him and the situation.
I suddenly know that Praveen is there with us too, although not right there physically. He's gone to the market, which is similar to the open air stuff at music festivals. For some reason, I know that he's at a stand called The Amistad. We (Mom, Dad, Ster, Kathryn, and my girlfriend-new to me) begin searching for Praveen and The Amistad. We walk in and out of walkways formed by food and crap stands on both sides. I am very excited about the amount of avocados I see people working with, but I never stop.
It's clear that we can't find him, nor The Amistad. We've circled around and around, my girlfriend and I in one group and Ster as the other. By now, Mom, Dad, Kathryn had moved on. We decide to split up, and Ster goes up some stairs. I tell my girlfriend to go in another direction, and I follow Ster. The dream takes on a bit of a scary mood at this point. I go through the little door which Ster traversed seconds earlier, and am faced with a choice. There is a small set of stairs to my right going up which lead to a small door. There is a set to my left that leads down to another small door. I choose right, which is not to say correctly.
The door on the right, which is raised off the ground about a foot, and reaching to about three feet at its top, is very small and has a small slit window in the middle of it. The view is blocked by a lab coat. This moment is the height of fear in the dream. I open the door and it turns out to be full of lockers, as if in a grocery store. I know that it is for employees to change clothes. The fear is gone.
I turn around and decide to check in the main hallway to see if Ster, Praveen, or my girlfriend has resurfaced. Indeed, they have. Praveen has a silly grin on his face, telling me quite clearly that he was no longer at The Amistad when found. Rather, he had wandered off and failed to tell us. So it goes.
We make our way out, the four of us, to begin the walk back to wherever it is we came from. As we step outside, I realize that I'd like to change lenses on my camera. I request assistance from my girlfriend, asking that she hold this lens, or that camera body, etc...She does this with great loyalty, and I really like her. I gave her a kiss on the cheek to prove this to her.
As I'm putting pieces together, something isn't right. Things are out of order, the lenses are all really dusty, and there seem to be way many pieces - some of them unnecessary. As I'm dealing with this dilemma and getting more frustrated, I realize that Ster has moved on, and it's just me, Praveen, and my girlfriend. She's also got a green shirt on.
Eventually, after much tribulation, I ask her to hold one camera, and I accept that I'll be taking no pictures on our walk out. I'll need the manual for this. By now, we've picked up some more travelers. Neil, Praveen, my gf, and my friend Peter from China that I met at the dorm now constitute the crew. As we're walking, I'm still somewhat preoccupied with my camera, more looking in wonder than in practicality. I look up and notice Tavis, from Moore Hill, and a big group of his friends have surrounded Peter. Tavis is pushing him around a little bit and making fun. I'm upset by this, because these dudes are both my friends.
I tell Tavis to chill out, and asks if he remembers Peter from the dorm. We were all neighbors, for chrissakes. He seems to remember now, and clearly feels bad, but chooses to continue his jesting. I remind him of our triangle of friendship once more and ask him how he is doing. It is clear that he doesn't want to talk about himself. He begins to stare me down as if very angry. I ask what he's been doing since he finished college. This makes him very upset, and he turns and walks, posse in tow, into a building to our immediate left. As he enters, I realize that it's a dorm, and from this I know that he hasn't yet graduated and is very upset about that.
We decide to take a short break, we being Neil, Peter, Praveen, me, and one other, possibly my green-shirted girlfriend. I reach into somewhere and pull out two picnic baskets full of warm food, which I immediately know has been given me by my mother. I am hungry from all of this mess, and I can't wait to eat. I pick up a piece of bread, about to go bananas, when I get the feeling my friends don't have what I've got. I must share my bread.
I tear off a piece from the first loaf, a piece which makes up about 35% of it, and hand it to Neil. Peter comes next, with a comparable piece. I set that loaf back into the basket, opting to tear from the second this time. While I tear for Praveen and Number 4, I ask myself if I should give them less than Neil and Peter. I decide not to, and they each get similar-sized pieces from loaf two. We eat the bread, and I can feel the hunger subside, like the butter that melted on the hot bread that we're consuming...wait, butter? Shit.
I know in the dream that I've been a vegan for a couple of months and the bread is dominated by a flavor of butter. That's a no-no. However, given the mood of the occasion, I decide to stomach it, literally, and eat my share. At this point, and it almost shames me to say so, but I begin thinking about Christ and how he shared his bread with his followers. I never come to the point that I feel I deserve the same hype as Christ, but I begin to wonder if my deed here has been, in isolation, Christlike.
Then I woke up.