Interlude                                                                  GREEN  9.3

      Here is a dream that Melinda will not remember to add to her journal.

      She is standing in the shower. The water is extremely hot. The bathroom has filled with steam, fogging the window and mirrors. Melinda is unable to get clean. Her skin is coated with something sticky and clear, like pine sap. She cannot wash it off.
      She takes a wad of steel wool, and begins to methodically scrub her body. Her skin turns bright red. Her face is raw. She drops the wool and watches the bloody water swirl down the drain. She feels very clean.
      She dons a royal blue silk robe, and takes the towel from her head to wipe the mist from the mirror. Her long dark hair has miraculously dried, and it seems aglow, cascading luxuriously down over her shoulders. Her skin is like porcelain, perfect. She stares at her reflection in wonder, taken in by her own appearance.
      ‘Have I always looked this way?’ she wonders.
      "No, Melinda, you have never looked this way."
      Her reflection disappears. Melinda turns to see herself in the bedroom, sitting on the edge of her bed.
      "It's me. Linda."
      She watches as she languidly crosses her legs, neck long and head slightly bowed, lighting a cigarette. She thinks that she is heartbreakingly beautiful.
      "You know," says her doppelganger, "Linda means pretty." She blows a perfect smoke ring that floats Melinda's way. The ring pops like a bubble when Melinda reaches out to touch it.
       "It's Spanish. When you say 'My name is Melinda', it's just baby talk. What you are really saying is 'Me pretty', 'I am pretty'. Or maybe you mean, 'Muy Linda' - very pretty."
      "That’s not very modest. And Melinda?"
      "Yes?" she asks, because she must.
      "You are not a very pretty girl."

      Melinda is alone in someone else’s car. It is mid-day but the sky is dark, with a tint of red. Melinda is crying violently. She is unable to keep her wet bloody hair out of her eyes.
      She is driving south on Route 1. The road ahead is deserted. She is driving  much too fast. The scenery whips by.
      A small plane approaches her from nowhere. It is flying so low that she fears it may hit the roof of her car. It crashes on the road in a brilliant white fireball. She can feel the heat. There are voices screaming. They sound as though they are coming from her back seat. She can't take it anymore.
      A cement mixer is approaching from the opposite direction. It is cold gray steel with no windows or doors. Melinda steps on the gas. The car goes even faster. She jerks the wheel left and heads straight towards the truck. The future is dead ahead.

      Melinda pulls herself through the windshield of the crumpled car. It has been entirely transformed into scrap. She is standing in an open field. The remains of the car burst into flame. She barely notices. It doesn't matter. She is clean. She feels pure. She is heartbreakingly beautiful.
      She walks to a clearing where large purple flowers are blooming profusely. Their scent fills the air. There is a large nest on the ground. It is full of puppies. Baby dachshunds. She sits down inside of the nest and the puppies swarm around her. How many can there be? She laughs and laughs as they vie for her attention, all tongues and tails. It is perfect.

     Melinda stirs and wakes.
     "Puppies", she whispers to herself, smiling.


Prelude     1.1 Be My Guest    1.2 LTMTSKW     1.3 Suzan  
        1.4 DownUnder     2.1 Melinda       2.2 Lex Makes His Move  
  2.3 Fungal Propogation     3.1 Letter Perfect     3.2 Funhouse  
  3.3 Red      3.4 Permissions      3.5 Menthol     4.1 Happy Hour  
  4.2 The Reporter Speaks   5.1 You Can't Win   5.2 909 
    6.0 Blue Mondays       7.1 The Gown       7.2 Lost in the Future
  8.1 Chaos    8.2 Ex   9.1 Mister Pitiful   9.2 Night of the Living Dead
    9.3 Interlude