A Date in Minsk
Dreamed 2009/8/23 by Wayan
Wake with a sore throat. Feel tired but not really ill... yet. Cancel everything and lie around quietly all day. Read Peter Dickinson's Angel Isle. I preferred The Time-Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.
Evening: look up dating in Wikipedia. Find a list describing the main online agencies. Try Chemistry.com--fill out a long questionnaire, but after spending at least an hour on my profile it crashes and I lose it! Disgusted, I give up for now.
Instead I weed through the pile of proposals we got for installing solar panels. Intimidatingly complex, and all different. But as I look at the details, a few sound okay.
Work on my new song, Island--refine the melody, change some chords. Too hoarse to sing it, but do work out the notes.
I'm in Western Europe watching a date between an elfin brunette with curls--call her Audrey--and a tall thin guy with a gliding walk--call him Gaston. Audrey's local (French? Anglo-French?), Gaston's a raffish world-wanderer with a trace of magic causing people to open up to him. She responds to his charm, but worries it means he has a girl in every port.
And then she finds out. They stumble through a space-time portal together--it's how he's seen the world for free. Suddenly they're in a city in Eastern Europe. Cyrillic signs. Turns out this is Minsk, the capital of Belarus--White Russia--a scruffy land where democracy's just a word and everyone's got a scam. And guns to back it up.
It gets worse. A cafe door opens, a slender blonde emerges and lights up and yells "Gaston!" and hugs him. Ignoring Audrey. And leads Gaston inside.
Audrey breathes deep, and follows them it. A loud, jammed cafe-bar. TWO blondes now, clinging to Gaston like limpets. Limpets with long legs. In microskirts. Twins.
Trouble follows. But not the trouble Audrey expects. The twins aren't possessive; they know Gaston's history, and accept with good humor that Audrey is Gaston's new girlfriend--for now. But can Audrey handle their history? Not a girl in every port. Two. In every bed.
But romantic drama soon seems trivial. An old friend of Gaston's--not, apparently, an ex-lover--comes into the bar wearing a military helmet. Audrey asks if she's a soldier. "No, but this country's so violent and mafia-run, I always wear a helmet." Helmet Head goes for a walk on a nearby hill. A rival who hates her, a gun-loving butch girl, follows her out of the cafe. Stalks her up the hill, and then, from five paces behind on the sidewalk, Butch shoots her in the head. Despite her helmet, she falls instantly. This was no spent stray bullet--it was big-caliber, close-range, and aimed to kill by a crack shot.
Is Gaston a coward? Audrey's unsure if all his wandering is volitional--sometimes, from what he's hinted, he just stumbles through new dimensional doors.
A few days later, Gaston reappears on a hill near town, loping down the railroad tracks next to a tall hobo he befriended. The latest door must not have sent him far, and he hurried back, worried for Audrey. As well he should be, in this lawless land.
The shooter is in the cafe, unpunished, not even arrested. But... her violent impulse seems spent. The victim? Alive and recovering! Stitches on her scalp, bruises, some concussion... but here she is. Looked dead to me, but that helmet saved her life after all. The twins are fine, so's Audrey. They seem to be friends!
Though Audrey's changed--says "Since you weren't here, I've been learning to handle a gun. I just beat Butch Girl in this week's target-shooting contest."
Gaston the Mysterious Traveler looks a little shocked. When he left Audrey was a vegetarian pacifist, scared by this gun-loving society!
But when in Minsk, at least when stranded in Minsk by your boyfriend the helpless spacetime hobo... you do as the Minskies do.
NOTES IN THE MORNING
ONE YEAR LATER
In July 2010, for no reason, I started illustrating Minsk, polishing it, obsessing on it. On August 8, I had a nightmare: a Monkey with a Gun blasts away, missing me but killing one female monkey. Rattled me--my most violent dream since Minsk.
The next evening, the dream came true. Entering a cafe in San Francisco's theater district, I leave a street corner... and the bullets start flying. One stray shot kills a Central European woman. (Details in Monkey with a Gun).
Later, I discover a third foreshock-dream of a senseless shooting on a corner, two years before the real murder: Fetal Pause. Three annual nightmares... [NOTE FROM 2014: No more since! They ended with the real shooting.]
Now, in hindsight, Minsk's many references to "The Time-traveler's Wife" may hint the dream's ABOUT time-loops--but not fictional ones. Real.
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