I turned on some music and allowed myself to live my own life. I allowed myself these few hours that I had before the sleep that I would only awaken from because work dictated it. Only a faint reading light was on in the room. The smoke of the cigarette curled and danced out of my fingers. I watched it rise upwards and upwards in an intricate pattern and then disperse. I placed the filtered end to my lips and sucked in. The heat burned slightly, but it was the good type of burning. Then I pulled the smoke down into the essence of my being and allowed it to circulate all throughout me before I forced the dancing smoke out of my nostrils, letting it linger there just long enough to burn as much on the way out as it did on the way in. My mind went blank. All the hatred and the anxiety about the previous day and the day that was to come washed out of me with the smoke. My naked body rested against the soft sheets and under the warm blankets and that was all.
I took a drink of the Whisky and it calmed me further. I felt as though I was flying. Finally flying. Flying away from this place, away from this job, away from all of this. I rested back into my pillow – one of the only things that I had actually saved up for in order to purchase something that a richer person would take for granted. It was a beautiful pillow, one of those memory foam ones that conformed to your body type or something. But, no matter, it felt like falling into a cloud each time I came to rest.
The smoke continued to dance from my fingers in an enticing way and the alcohol warmed me in a way neither the shower nor the blankets ever could. Slowly the chemicals of nicotine and alcohol tucked me away safely for sleep. Them each combining to add up to the chemical equivalent of living a fulfilling life with a loving partner. Who ever said smoking and drinking was bad for you has clearly never had to live an unfulfilled life alone.
And so I finally fall into a world all of my own. The one place in the entire universe where I don’t owe anyone anything – my dreams. There’s no landlord who demands payment for a roof over my head, no water company demanding cash for what is the most essential pieces of life, and no boss ordering me around so I can have the privilege to pay off these people.
Music continues to flood through my ears, and the last thing I remember before falling into slumber is The Nutcracker playing throughout the room. And then it enters my brain and embeds itself in my dreams. So much so that the first images that come to me are of a ballerina twirling on her one leg, the other held behind her at a ninety degree angle. Just constantly turning. Every now and again we make eye contact. I am the only one in the audience, and she is the only performer on stage. Slowly she lifts her leg further and further into the air. And it seems that each time she completes a rotation she keeps her gaze on me longer and longer. Finally her leg is fully upright in the air, her body spinning around in place but her eyes kept firmly on me at all times. Her gaze gradually devolves from enticing to threatening. Her unnatural form forces itself nearer me, distorting itself into ever more unnatural shapes before I eventually leave through some sort of mechanism hidden in my chair and am plunged into a deep abyss.
Further down I descended. Only darkness confronted me. Then there was some light. To be specific, there were three points of light. Within them danced three pairs of legs, twisting and moving independently of one another with no care whatsoever to form or function. Just simply dancing and existing as if to entice a being that had awareness beyond what any mortal had. They were seductive and unreasonable. One movement to the next could never be explained. But despite my protests within my own dream, I sunk still further until I found myself at my station.
I cleared my eyes and gazed around for what seemed to be a full minute. Surely this couldn’t actually be my work station. Had I really already had by allotted amount of sleep, woken up, driven here and started working without fulling being aware of any of that happening? Gazing around everything seemed in order. The floor manager was in his usual watchtower, my station partner was working his arse off and yelling at me to work at least as hard as him. Waking up here without any prior memory seemed, to me at least, no more absurd than falling asleep and ending up watching the ballet.
I began working immediately. I checked the list of which parts were on which trolleys and started stacking them up accordingly. But for some reason I was alternately far weaker and then far stronger that I had ever been. In one instance I could barely carry a cut of stone that was about a half kilo, and then in another I easily lifted a piece that was twenty. The mind plays tricks. Cruel tricks. The greatest boxers of all time can barely punch in their dreams. Rich and famous CEOs are as poor as me in theirs. In mine I was weak and useless, barely able to pick up any measly slab of marble. And so I was cast out, thrown aside and some other schmuck was chosen within seconds to take my place. In that short of time I had nothing. Nothing to use to pay for my rent or my water or my electricity or my food or my taxes. All the hands that had been greased before in order to allow me to live would now be dry, and I would simply be allowed to rot.
Read part 4 of the story here.