FAST Fiction: Fall Classic Dream State #2

“I still have a dream … I have a dream today.”
— Martin Luther King Jr.

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• Fall Classic Dream State: Part 1

On this late October evening, I’m at home watching the pregame show before Game 5 of the 2000 World Series — the first Yankees-Mets Subway Series. If the Yanks win tonight, they’ll capture their third straight championship.

Moments before the first pitch, I fall asleep … and soon I start to dream.

The dream is at turns haunting and hopeful. And while it tends to be jumbled — like a toddler’s toy box, post-playday or post-tantrum — the dream resonates in my psyche as vividly as a December rose or the springtime sun or a tranquil mountain lake. Consequently, I don’t realize I’m dreaming … until I wake up and write down as much as I can remember (and as much as time allows).

On occasion, I awaken during the dream — or at least I recall returning to that semi-aware place between waking thought and a dream state. And then I go back to sleep-land like a child on the playground slide.

This is what I dreamed…

I’m in New York City. More accurately, I’m above the city at night. I am a human hot-air balloon, with a bird’s-eye view of the five boroughs. But then I realize I’m not suspended in midair. Instead, I’m on the observation deck of a skyscraper — the iconic Empire State Building.

The first landmark I see is the unmistakable World Trade Center, with its mammoth Twin Towers that dominate lower Manhattan.

I see the George Washington Bridge, with its own twin towers, resolute in its continuing conquest of the Hudson River. I see Times Square, Central Park and the Chrysler Building.

Then I see Shea Stadium — and instantly I have an up-close view of the field, as if through a high-powered telescope. Mets pitcher Al Leiter winds up and delivers to Derek Jeter, who strikes out swinging. I know intuitively that this is no regular-season interleague game. Then I recall: Jeter was slated to bat No. 2 for the Yankees tonight, and Leiter was the Mets’ scheduled starter. So this is World Series Game 5! The scoreboard shows it’s the first inning. I missed the first pitch, but not the second batter.

Without warning, the telescope malfunctions and I lose sight of the field. Yes, I’m annoyed. Instinctively, I reach for a TV remote but find only frustration and air — and suddenly lose my balance. I begin to fall from the skyscraper, plummeting like a rapidly deflating balloon.

Terror-stricken, I hear Bill Cosby’s voice. He’s telling the story of being terrified on a roller coaster in his youth and crying out for help — but when he tried to shout “Mother,” the rushing wind caused by the coaster kept blowing his distressed shouting back into his mouth. I smile. And then I think: Why am I smiling when I’m about to die?

But I don’t die. I drop, dream-like, on a pole vaulter’s landing cushion. When I arise, uninjured, another voice is sounding — this time emanating from the south. I look that way, toward lower Manhattan, and the voice is recalling a time when he drove along the road and saw a sign that read “Blasting Zone.” Now I recognize who it is — yes, it’s Brian Regan, or someone who impersonates the comedian impeccably. After seeing the sign, he says that several blasts shook his car, prompting him to ask this question: Shouldn’t that sign back there read “Road Closed”?

I see that the pole vaulter’s cushion is on a sidewalk next to a city street — I can’t tell which street at first, but I can tell that a parade is under way. Actually, the parade is just beginning, and now I see where I am: in New York’s Canyon of Heroes, along Broadway.

The list of those who have been honored here is as long as the Hudson River — from Amelia Earhart and Jesse Owens in the 1930s, to French president Charles de Gaulle and the Apollo 11 astronauts in the 1960s, to Nelson Mandela and the Yankees in the 1990s (three times for the Yanks, who were World Series champs in 1996, ’98 and ’99).

Makes me wonder: Why hasn’t Mandela been honored with three parades? What he’s accomplished warrants 30-plus parades compared to winning three World Series, it seems to me.

A familiar voice gate-crashes my thoughts: “HEY! What about me?”

To be continued…

• Fall Classic Dream State: Part 3

© Bruce William Deckert 2013

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