"Hope is a waking dream." Aristotle
by Zvi Baranoff
[This is the third part of a work in progress. Part one is at this link: https://21stcenturybogatyr.blogspot.com/2020/05/grace-and-mercy-if-luck-holds.html?m=1
Part two is at this link: https://21stcenturybogatyr.blogspot.com/2020/07/everything-was-fine-until-it-all-went.html?m=1 ]
I watched the hawks crisscrossing the sky for a while. I thought to myself how glad I was that they weren't buzzards. I then wondered why that thought had even crossed my mind.
The sky was clear, with hardly a cloud. The temperature seemed perfect for a lie down by the river.
I was glad for the break, although I couldn't remember how I had gotten there or how long I had been there either. I watched the hawks some more. I drifted back to sleep.
Later, I laid there watching the night sky. Meteors were raining cats and dogs. Venus and Mercury both seemed particularly overactive. Of course, there were all the scheduled satellite traffic marching across the night sky in a steady parade representing human ingenuity and modernity, or something like that. Then, I must have drifted back to sleep.
The morning sun warmed the air and the river flowed with persistence, downhill, relentlessly towards the sea. Staring downriver, I saw what appeared to be the frolicking of naked hippies. I squinted. Well, it could be mermaids. It could be manatees. It might be rocks. I probably should get my eyes examined soon.
I was peacefully listening to the sounds of the waterfall, when suddenly it just stopped. That's odd, I thought. I blinked and blinked again. I was not by the river. I was not in the woods. I was not outdoors at all.
I realized that, for now, I didn't know where, when or why and neither did I know how I got to where I was and I was close to clueless as to what shape I was in, as well.
I didn't know how much time had passed since the sonic attack in Chicago. I didn't know how I got off the street. I know that I hadn't made it as far as Maxwell Street and that ribs and cerveza were no longer very high on my priority list.
I needed to do a personal inventory.
I was on a cot. From where I laid, no windows, doors, bars, guards, walls or...anything else for that matter was visible.
No chains or ropes on arms or legs. That's a good start. Clothes are on, not torn, not particularly dirty and I didn't seem to be bleeding into them. More checks in the plus column.
My breathing seemed close to regular. I was able to wiggle my fingers and my toes, so I wasn't paralyzed. More good news.
There were no shoes on my feet and I didn't see them anywhere near the cot. That could be problematic. Last that I remembered, I was wearing a very nice pair of boots that I would likely miss should I live through this.
So, the boots are gone as well as the thousand euros emergency cash that were stashed in them. Of course, my ankle holster and pistol were gone. So was my money belt with the Taiwan and Singapore dollars, Japanese yen and Mexican pesos.
My ID and credit card however - and somewhat surprisingly - were still in my wallet and secure in my pants pocket. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that I still had my cell phone. I looked at the screen. Instead of date, time and location information there was a blinking question mark. How poetic.
Still in my pocket was my "lucky" Cuban 100 peso coin. Market and exchange value? Well, clearly none. It's value as a good luck charm was highly questionable as well by this point.
I was beginning to really regret leaving the house. I am fairly well convinced that the giraffe crossing the highway was indeed a very bad omen and that would have been a really good time to turn around and go back to bed. Too late for regrets and way too late for that option.
The sound of a door opening was followed by the click of an old-fashioned light switch and the buzzing of antique fluorescent lights and I heard the clumping of boots on the tile floor, coming in my direction.
Under such circumstances, it is wise to determine the nature of the social exchange as quickly as possible.
One needs to calibrate in order to know if flight is possible or if fight is necessary or if a third option should be considered.
Under such circumstances, when all the multiple possible futures are hanging in the balance waiting for your decision, the wisest pathway involves scanning the other for common interests and values.
We each, after all, are fellow travelers on a common pilgrimage. Saints and sinners we are. Most of us are some combination thereof, even in alleys and dungeons and hopefully whatever shore this is that I have washed up on.
I immediately determined that we had similar tastes in footwear and that we had similar size feet as well. In fact, I determined that she was wearing my boots. Above my boots, she wore jeans and a flannel shirt. No uniform, so this is not a jail or a hospital. Well, hope for the best.
Then, I heard those three little words that brought me hope and a touch of joy. Those three little words that everyone longs to hear.
"¿Tu quieres café?"