I’m standing at the edge of a garden, holding a sparkly cocktail glass with a yellow liquid. I down it in a gulp and look towards the sound of the recurring voices of the masses of people standing before me. I detect speedy movement in silver platters that seem to rush back and forth within the human maze, carried by athletic bodies in black and white that seem to have no obvious goal with their running but merely do so because it seems to come with the territory. Hands which appear out of everywhere place old glasses and grab new ones as the round discs fly them by. Anyone who fails to grab the glass of their choice merely waits for the next silver carriage that could come whizzing from any direction any second. “It seems to be one of these apparently random systems which actually do work”, I mumble. On the lawn conversational groups stand scattered like a kaleidoscope of dreamy soap bubbles constantly shifting in size and roundness as women in dresses like butterflies flutter from bubble to bubble hoping to find one that has not yet heard the shameful news about Ms So and so.
I listen to the circle I am closest to. I try to ignore the six men who are all wearing West-African hunting masks over their heads. Instead I notice the woman in white who is the centre of their attention. I think I recognise her and I try to get closer to the group.
Suddenly all the men turn and face me. The larger one with a mask like an alligator’s mouth points a finger at me. “Just line ’em up and gun them down,” he says and fires three shots at my head.
“No!” I scream as I fall down and the world drains into red puddles.
But then I’m looking down at the body in the red grass. I’m standing with the other men over the dead man with a bird mask.
“Gee, I guess your finger was loaded,” says one of them and they roar with laughter.
There is a clap of thunder and I look up as it begins to rain out of the black sky above. I look down again and I sense that I’m alone. I turn around and everything is still. All the people are gone. Vanished. But at the far end I see the woman in white run out of the garden. And I rush after her as the dead bird comes alive and begins to chase me, tearing through the air behind me, howling weirdly at the moon.
I run, scared, heart thundering, not looking behind me. The red rain comes down heavily and I plow through knee-deep mud. The bird screeches behind me, “I’m back Pierce! You can’t get rid of me! Are you ready for your lesson!?” I turn to look at the bird with the human body and I recognise the T-shirt with the yellow, round, smiling face. “Don’t worry be happy!” the bird sings. I scream and fall backwards and I am pressed against the seat as the yellow car accelerates, just escaping the birdman whose claws grab at the roof of the car.
“Who was that guy?” the driver asks. He’s dressed in a cowboy outfit and a cigarette butt hangs from the side of his mouth.
“Jimmy?” I ask.
“The one and only,” he says and looks with his tortured eyes at me, smiling at the end of his mouth.
“Did you see the girl in white?” I ask.
“Yup. That’s who we’re going to get.”
“Do you know who she is?”
“She’s my friend. It’s Christine.”
“But I know her.”
“I don’t know.”
It’s not raining anymore. It’s daytime. We are speeding down a highway and in front of us a car is getting ready to make a left turn.
“Slow down,” I say.
“I can overtake him.”
“No. You can’t. You never could.”
“I can overtake him.”
The car starts turning and we hit it in the side. Jimmy’s neck breaks as I fly out of the car. I’m flying away into the red and orange sky. And in front of me I see the woman in white. Her dress is fluttering in the warm wind. I reach for her foot and grab it. Abruptly she gains speed and I see the claws bury in her shoulders as she is carried away by the bird.
“I love you too,” it screeches.
And I fall to the ground.