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T h e   M a l l

This dream took place in a mall.

The lower levels were nice and wide and bright (I think they had natural sunlight shining in). High ceilings. Very high. Lots of people were down there too. People bustling. People with bags. People with kids.

There was this escalator in the middle of the mall, gray and black, very tall, very thin. It went all the way up. Several stories up, to the high roof in the mall. I went up it.

Only now do I realize that the escalator didn't come back down and how unfortunate that would be for me.

So I get to this top floor thing and it's dark and smoky (Not heavily smoky, but smoky. It's not cigarette smoke in the air but Hollywood movie smoke. Dry ice smoke). The ceiling on the top level is considerably lower, though not low enough to hit my head or where I have to crouch or anything.

Anyway, I'm just nonchalantly walking around, like anyone, kind of eyeing the stores (The only stores I remember are a music store and a video game store). Suddenly, I get to one end of the mall and am stopped. A loud, robotic voice is booming, stop, stop where you stand, or some such nonsense, and there is the sound of laser fire. I look ahead of me and there are these things moving toward me, toward the few of us standing there. They're cut-outs of Star Wars - Episode 1 characters, like marching robots and stuff. And they're shooting at us, with red laser beams. Somehow we all know it's a game but a game none of us wants to be a part of. None of us wants to be pretend shot. So we turn and walk away, the cutout Star Wars characters stopping but still firing, as if there is an invisible line they can't cross. I think it's some promo for the movie. I think the mall movie theater must be down that way.

So I'm just aimlessly walking around some more and the mall has taken on the look and feel of a nightclub: everyone is just sort of continously walking around in a small area like cattle, getting nowhere. At some point I see Mena Suvari, the blonde girl from American Beauty. I remember and remind myself that she is married, to some older guy. A not-too-good-looking guy, I might add [All of this is true in real life]. I tell myself I have a chance with her.

Then I see Drew Barrymore and she's with some guy. It's the guy from her movie Never Been Kissed. The teacher guy (Michael Vartan). He's wearing the same sweater and slacks combo that he wore at the end of the movie. I wonder if he ever changed. Drew and I are old friends. I just know this somehow. In fact she tells the guy that as she holds her arm around his. He doesn't say anything or look my way or pretend to want to be involved in the conversation in any way. I look at Drew. She is wearing a loose-fitting off-yellow sweater--the kind with long sleeves, that hangs off the body and away from the waist. It's glittery. She looks like a little golden bell. Drew says something about remember when you touched my breasts, to me. I blush and say no, I didn't! I never did. I can tell her date, her boyfriend, whatever the teacher guy from her movie is, is not too pleased. His face is tight and his eyes are dead. I guess this is how he keeps himself from getting mad, from lashing out and beating someone to a pulp: by just tightening his lips and holding it in. I know if it were just me and him alone he would probably whale on me like nobody's business. But he wouldn't have to. Even as Drew continues to so obviously be teasing and flirting with me, I know I would never touch her. She's my friend. I'm attracted to her, I think she's beautiful, but I don't like her like that. She knows this too, I realize, but she's just being silly. I don't think her guy gets it. Either that or he doesn't want to. So I keep saying things like I have never touched Drew and never would, that she is like a sister to me. Drew backs me up: "That's right, you never have touched me...even though I gave you plenty of chances!" Augh! I'm trying to put out the fire and she seems to be stoking it. I don't think it's intentional. I think it's just her joyous personality. But I'm thinking of the guy and trying to make sure he knows there's nothing going on with her and me. Because there isn't. I say the most we've ever done is kiss. I'm being honest and I hope the guy sees it. We've all been walking along as Drew and I've talked, and boyfriend guy sees a store he wants to go into. I think it's a distraction. I think he wants to be rid of me. I'm a threat. Drew is more than glad to go with him to look around but I can sense that she also wants to still talk to me too. I let them go in without me though. I'm not hurt. I'm not sad. I'm actually happy, smiling. I think the two of them should have some time together. Alone. I feel that's why they probably came to the mall in the first place. They don't need me.

So I'm walking along and then I hear that booming robotic voice again. I'm like oh god, no. The lights seem to dim and there's a whirring sound as the Star Wars characters move toward us. Us being the mall shoppers. We all have that look on our face like not again and turn to walk away. As we do so, there are other "Star Wars" cut-out characters coming from the other end. We are all being boxed in by cardboard cut-outs with laser guns. The sound is deafening and it seems to be getting darker, more smoky. There seems to be no escape. And then I notice that I'm standing by a row of elevators, elevators that are closing. "Close the elevators" a voice booms and I see actual guys with dark helmets, shades, and big, Terminator-style rifles moving forward from around the cut-outs. These are real guns. I duck into one of the elevators and one of those guys jumps in too. I crouch up against the corner, and even though the elevator is very large and dimly-lit, he sees me immediately. He points his gun at me and I know he could kill me with one light touch of the trigger. I ask him what is going to happen to me and he says you'll see. I try to bargain my way out of it. I babble. Now I'm just trying to buy time. Or maybe I'm trying to distract him. I think of staging an escape, like in Star Wars, and next thing I know I'm lunging at the guy and knocking his gun up and away. I'm knocking him unconscious and stealing his clothes, his uniform, and I slip it over my own clothes. The elevator doors open and I'm back at the top mall floor. It's almost completely dark now and full of smoke. The smoke parts and I see Mena Suvari. She is just standing there, all pale gold and bright light. I start to move toward her, like a moth to a lightbulb, and she seems to be hovering, moving toward me as well. I want to kiss her. Just want to kiss...

And then I wake up. Damn.

Damn. Damn.

-- W i l l

Copyright © 2001 W i l l