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1. The Dream

The revolution was dead. You could tell by the look of confusion on the faces being drawn on cocktail napkins. A dozen men huddled over their beers, doodling with candy-colored markers intended to pen poison letters. Foreign language was in the air but no one was speaking it. The only sound was the sententious busboy opening and closing his briefcase.
      A blindfolded POW tied to a wheelchair casually smoked a cigarette. This was too much for you. You grabbed the cigarette, took a long drag, then shouted, "Let me warm yıall to the notion that as long as there is money to be made, nothing is over."
      Winking at the blindfolded man, you launched onto the bar and did some jumping jacks to heat the blood, veins, muscles and other tissue beneath your skin. The prisoner coolly tapped his knuckles on the armrest of his wheelchair. He was keeping a decent rhythm. "You there," you shouted, "am I keeping you from something? This is a revolution. Get used to long-winded speeches."
      The men looked up from their drawings. The busboy stopped fidgeting with his financial statements. Registered on their faces were looks of honor, or was that horror. Reaching into the secret pocket in your sock, you pulled out wad after wad of cash and tossed it to the credulous crowd. You knew you were giving birth to a nation, a proud one this time.

2. A Dream

You met your love in the spring, somewhere west of Middle America. Youıd stopped at the desert store for some seaweed and there she was, lapping curdled milk from a wooden bowl. Small rocks clung like deer ticks to the grayish fur beneath her abdomen. The scene resembled Kuwait and so did she. You leaned down to grab the bowl, but she dug her teeth deep into its side. Like a child with its favorite rubber chew toy, she wouldnıt let go, not without a well-rehearsed fight.
      "We gots udder bowls Œround somewheres," said the shriveled man sitting behind a pile of rusty shotguns. He wore a 1918 Soviet artillery uniform once worn by Lenin. Or was it Stalin? You couldnıt be sure ­ either way it fit fabulously. "Dereıs de coin-operated ones out back too."
      But you were set on shaving your seaweed in the llamaıs bowl, so you hung on, dragging the beast to the checkout counter. "If you wanna leave wit dat bowl, you gotta pay for Kitsy too," said the old man, using the barrel of a revolver to extract a stubborn piece of seaweed from his teeth. He threw in a pair of recoil buffers to compensate for your time, but you left without the seaweed.

3. Overheard on the Street.

"Once the screaming started, I couldnıt stop. My throat opened and high-pitched squealing emerged. Frantic screeching like a caged beast struggling for freedom. Freedom! My lungs visible outside my mouth ­ thatıs how loud. Birds perched on the air-conditioner outside my window released their bodily functions as they beat a fowl retreat."
      On the way to a meeting of American Socialists for Anarchy, you saw those birds, pasty white excrement splattering inches from a homeless man snuggling in his cardboard bed. They headed west into the blood-streaked sky, crossing twisted ropes of highway, turning south towards open country until the last light of day brought them to land on a wire high above freshly fertilized fields where Dale Johnston steered his tractor towards the weatherworn barn, looking forward to checking his e-mail.

4. Meanwhile in Middle American: the Voice of the People.

"This coffee tastes like urine," said Joey, brushing chiggers off his arm. Trying not to focus on your full bladder, you looked down at the space beneath your feet, crowds milling as crowds do, children with one hand wrapped around the string of a balloon, the other securely held by a parent or guardian. All this handholding was dozens of feet below. You swung your legs, imagining walking on air or little heads.
      Suddenly your vision was altered, your feet pedaling above the horizon, crushing clouds with your rubber soles. It was Joey rocking the basket. "Damn chiggers. Howıd they get up here? They canıt walk on air," he whined, swinging his arms like a child learning to dive.
      The chiggers and their location werenıt exactly revolutionary. Stalled on top of a ferris wheel, you were seated in a metal basket attached by a series of components circuitously to the earth far below. But you couldnıt explain such mechanics, or how the chiggers, or any insect, could easily reach your vantage point. Your fiancé was a swell guy but with the concentration of a bricklayer.
      Then he spat on your foot. "What was that for?" you asked, staring down at the yellowish liquid slowly making its way to the inside of your sandal. "Chigger," shouted Joey. He handed you his cup of coffee, then stood, rocking the basket even more.
      Hands above his head, Joey leapt over the guardrail, easily clearing the edge of the basket. Framed by the metal bars around you, he made a lovely composition against the perfect blue sky as he curled into a tight ball and executed a textbook double gainer with a twist on his way to the ground.




4 visions of the revolution