I’ve been having the same dream for a while now. Not strange dreams like the people I know have, where they’re playing tennis naked with the president, the principal and Gandhi. Not strange like they’re in a house that is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. No, I’ve been dreaming the same dream over and over again, every night. In my dream the world is coming to an end.
Every generation seems to have its own version of the apocalypse. For awhile they all thought the world would end with an unnatural sunrise to the west as the Pacific coast met its untimely Russian style nuclear end. Then for a while everybody thought that the world would end with the ticking of a clock as some unseen menace shut off every light in the world. These days most people don’t know how it’s going to end. I do. I’ve been dreaming about it for months. I’ve been dreaming that a sword from the sky will pierce the earth, causing it to ring like a bell. All over the world people will stop whatever they were doing, drop whatever they were holding and look up. I don’t know what will happen next, that’s when the dream always ends.
It ends because my roommate and my ex-boyfriend wake me up as they orgasm.
The problem with finding the right roommate is that there are so damn many wrong ones out there. Some of the wrong ones look like the right ones at first too, so you never really know what you are going to end up with. I’m sure that I’m the wrong roommate for a lot of people out there but right now I seem to be the right roommate for Kelsey. The right roommate is hard to find, but always has a number of positive factors. They are willing to contribute to household chores. They are capable of paying the bills. They don’t use all of the hot water and they are willing to let you have a significant other spend the night. Or weekend should it come to that.
Kelsey had all of those things for the first couple of years that we shared an apartment, but that’s not the real issue. Once she lost touch with those necessary factors, well that’s why I have her car, a gas can, a crowbar and the matches. The real issue here isn’t the money or the dishes; it isn’t the food or even my DVD and CD collections. You probably won’t believe it but the issue isn’t even the guy. All of those things can be replaced. I can find a better job that will allow me to make more money so that I can replace my stuff, hire a maid and pay off my debts. I can even find another boyfriend. After all, there are lots of guys out there.
No, none of those things are the issue. My problem with Kelsey right now is that I really need to finish that dream. Something big is coming. I can feel it. The dream has hooks in my brain that I couldn’t shake off even if I wanted to. I have to see how everything ends. I need to be prepared.
It really is a beautiful night, the stars are out, the moon is just a silver crescent and from the top of the hill you can see all the way down to the lake that fills the old quarry. The water is so still that it’s more of a mirror than a lake and it reflects every star in the sky.
I really could have stood there all night; it is one of the most beautiful scenes I could have imagined. But business is business after all and I will enjoy the view more after I get Kelsey sorted out.
I get out of the car and place the gas can a few feet away with the matches. It isn’t quite time for them yet. I take a firm grip on the crowbar and let loose on the hood of Kelsey’s precious BMW. I take care not to break any of the glass outright, but with special attention the front and rear windshields spider web nicely. The hood, trunk and side panels receive not only crushing blows, but also long, deep scrapes in the paint. It takes a lot of effort, but I manage to punch a hole through the roof of the car before giving up. By then the sweat is pouring off me and my throat is raw.
I wedge the crowbar between the driver’s seat and the steering wheel, locking the wheels into position and put the car in neutral. I take the gas can and empty the contents into the passenger compartment, making sure the upholstery is soaked. Just for good measure I toss the empty gas can into the trunk and pick up the box of matches.
I take a minute to appreciate the feel of good quality “strike anywhere” matches. The smoothness of the wooden stick; the color and texture of the red and white match head. The scrape and hiss of the match being dragged down the roughened side of the box. The flame blazing to life and then flickering down as it consumes the starter and begins eating away at the wood. I inhale the scent of it as the touch of wood smoke mixes with the gas I have poured in the car.
The match is a comet as it sails through the air, through the open window of the car and onto the driver’s seat. There is a slight puff, like an exhalation as the gas catches fire. The flames roar to life as the matchbox sails through the car window, following its former tenant. Soon the entire passenger compartment is ablaze with flames and acrid black smoke is pouring out the windows and the hole in the roof, blocking out the stars.
This is where the timing is delicate. I had to do a lot of research on the internet and a lot of calculations and I’m still not exactly sure if it will work the way I want it to. I step to the back of the car and put both hands on the rapidly warming metal of the trunk. At first the car doesn’t move so I push harder. The heat is starting to become uncomfortable when the car finally starts to roll forward. It gathers speed as it rushes down the hill and I count.
The stars in the lake at the bottom of the old quarry are drowned out by the sudden light as the flames reach the gas tank. They return, rippling and hazy through the smoke, after a few breaths. As I watch, the rippling lessens, the smoke is carried away by the wind and the stars in the sky once again mirror the stars in the lake.
I feel much more relaxed now, as I take one last look around. I can’t wait to get to sleep now. I really want to see how it all ends.
- ► 2005 (18)