They have been walking for some time before they get to his dream, but get there, in the end, they do. You would think the way would be difficult, what with the baking heat and their feet slipping in the fine sand, but it hasn’t been like that at all. No, it’s been very much more like strolling in the gardens of a grand house in Gloucestershire, say, or Hampshire. Glocs or Hants. So, despite the fact that his dream is slap bang in the middle of a desert, they arrive at it far from uncomfortable, even perhaps refreshed.
I wonder who they are?
Certainly the man of ordinary height and looks is the owner of the dream. He has led the way. He’s around thirty-five years old, and has a healthy air about him. And he has a good sense of humour. He knows that the world is a joke and he believes in God because who else would have gone to such trouble just for a joke? What other explanation is there?
She - is she a she? – well, I can see her no other way. The sad truth is that none of his male friends would have been remotely interested in going into the desert to look at his dream. He hadn’t even bothered to ask them. They liked to do their work, do their duty, and then relax. This – this excursion – although perhaps not work or duty, was certainly not relaxing. So – and here is the point – she is a woman, because women are more inquisitive, at least when it comes to what pertains to the most purely human.
Have I spent too long on this? I rather think I have.
What are their names?
I think their names are John and Jill. Ok, Jack and Jill.
So here they are, Jack and Jill, at his dream. He’s been wanting to come
here for years, and to bring someone with him, to show, so that he need no longer explain. He has had this dream since childhood. It is rather dull. It never changes. Has never changed. This is partly because nothing happens in it. It is an image. This is what might make it interesting.
Now he is closer than he has ever been before.
The sun is at its zenith. There are few shadows.
This makes no difference to the dream because it is fenced by a large ornate gilt frame, and what is inside the frame is strictly two dimensional. You cannot walk around the dream. If you try it simply remains the same, as though it revolved. The frame, Jack thinks, is about 11 foot by 8 foot. He says this to Jill, and she nods in agreement. She seems awe struck.
The picture can be divided into two planes. The upper half, or perhaps two thirds, is a perfect cobalt blue, which represents the sky. The lower half is painted in what Jack is going to call picturebook yellow. It represents the wind-sculpted desert in which they stand. Linking these two planes of colour is a violent tangle of scrapped metal. The metal is twisted out of recognition. There are mere hints, suggestions, of what constitutes the mess: dials, frames, lengths of metal tubing, spokes, blades, tines, cogs, perhaps a carburetor, innards and outards.
This irregular, sharp-vined, vaguely rhomboid shape sits in the soft sand – stabs down into it, and punctures the perfect sky, doing tremendous damage to perfection.
“This,” says Jack, “is my dream”.
“It’s horrible,” says Jill. “I pity you, dear Jack. Does it come often?”
“Now you have seen it, perhaps it won’t come again,” says Jack, but as he says this he is suddenly aware of two certainties: that the dream will begin to visit Jill, and that she is the very last person in the world he would wish it on.
Wynn Wheldon has published widely, including in Ambit, London Magazine, and The Rialto. His short fiction has won awards. He reviews poetry for Ink Sweat and Tears, Iota, Lunar Poetry, and Sabotage.www.wynnwheldon.com. He is found easily on twitter and FB.