Everyone on the street, black and white alike, was wearing white top hats or white suits. I asked a group of people what it was all about.
“The ball is tonight,” the girl said. She invited me to go with their group. As we talked I learned they’d actually been my next-door neighbors for months, which we all had a good laugh about.
I had to go back to my apartment first. It was overflowing with books, but I decided I needed more books and so went to the bookshop in the back room of the house. The owner was a large man who always tried to beat me with a pipe or have his dog attack me, but his book selection was too good for me to stop going there. This time when I left he followed me outside and tried to assault me. I gave him a savage punch in the nose. His face dented. I apologized profusely. I said it was by far the hardest punch I’ve ever thrown.
“That’s obvious,” he said.
But for some reason it was my nose that started to bleed. It wouldn’t stop for hours.
* * *
“Because of you, I’ve been cutting myself more,” she told me.
“Please don’t do that,” I said.
* * *
Across town, my father and I were trying to get home. As we went through the park, I thought about the buildings I would build if I knew how, how they would be both classical and modern in a way nobody had ever known before.
I also thought about how Elvis is fading from the public mind, then I realized that I knew two songwriters who both had what Elvis had, though neither one knew the other. I would have them get together to rework the lost unrecorded Elvis Presley song “Parasol,” and it would be a big hit that put Elvis back on the map.
I found a remote control car in the street, sat on it, and rode it home. I frightened some nuns with the point of the antenna by mistake. I frightened some boys with the point of the antenna on purpose. The streets were full of people. “Bicycle streetcars” went by, which were bicycles modified to run on streetcar tracks, housed in a streetcar shell. You could rent one from the Department of Transportation.
Arriving home, I had to enter through the tiny red-and-yellow concrete tube. Usually I went into the tube feet-first, and so slipped gracefully through its many twists and turns and popped out into the house. This time I went in head-first, and it was tiny and claustrophobic and I could barely wriggle through. It took ages to work my way through and I was terrified by the end that some liquid would come rushing through, I desperately wanted a way out but I knew I had to keep crawling.
When I at last popped out, my mother was there, distraught. She said she had been delivering packages for Amazon, and one of her deliveries had been at LSU, and these frat boys had asked if they could rape her, and when she told them Amazon wouldn’t let her, they became very upset.