It’s a recurring dream, or more a recurring dream construct. I’m out with my friends. This time it was Daniel Owen and Mitchell Abbot. We’re kids, kinda. The ages keep changing, but they scale together, you dig? We’re riding mountain bikes over the ridge and then suddenly we’re road tripping in the Pirate Honda, with a boat on the top.
Ready for any situation.
That’s when we hit the flood. For some reason we go down next to the river, and the street is always flooded. Then we look back and the whole city is flooded. This time we hit it in the car and it capsizes, leaving just the small boat floating. We desperately clamber over the broken flotsam of the ruined neighborhood, and into the boat. I am pissed because my cellphone got wet, but I’ve been here before. I know what this is about.
We paddle up street until we hit the house with the Ark. It’s a luxury yacht, three hundred yards long and eighty feet tall, built entirely of wood. It perches atop a tiny, tiny trailer and is towed by a nondescript black SUV. We go into the back yard and I find a spot of sunshine to dry my cellphone in. The little moisture indicator has gone red and I’m pissed.
The woman walks out with her kids, just like every time I have this dream, and asks where we were headed. I explain that the car capsized in the flooded street, and she just clucks in vague acknowledgment. “I’ll go get a copy of the map, you don’t still have one from last time?” I do, but it’s in the car, so I send Mitchell in with her to finish the transaction. She begins to explain to him how FISA came down and gave them all evacuation maps. I don’t have time to correct her. Besides, I can’t remember the acronym she meant to say. I’m going to go back to the car to see if I can salvage anything else.
I paddle back in the boat and the Pirate Honda is nowhere to be seen, sucked beneath the gentle ebb and flow of the flooded street. I watch an unfortunate car turn down here, seeking shallower water, but immediately the engine is snuffed and the driver looks panicked. It’s Debanjan Ghosh. I quickly paddle away again to avoid being seen, that would just be more awkward conversation.
When I get back to the Ark house, the Ark is gone, and so are Daniel and Mitchell. My cell phone is dry and I stuff it back into my pocket along with the car keys and the woman hands me the map. “No charge” she says, picking up her pitcher of Sun Tea and walking back into the house. I turn around and the dogs are out, and suddenly I’m back at the Toledo Street house of my childhood. The fence is broken, and Buddy and Zuel have taken my cycling shoes out into the yard and chewed them up. They come over soaking wet and I know they’ve been down at the river, they followed the smell of the car. I reach down to touch them, to feel their fur and know that they’re real.
And then I woke up.