“Mo chuisle! Mo chuisle!”
Martin didn’t know where that deep voice was coming from. The sky? All he knew was he had to get away from them and punch…punch hard…the ones he couldn’t outrun. And that he kept hearing the same odd snatch of poetry, also from the sky:
The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.
Martin grabbed a pole, using it to break and make a sharp turn as he dashed down a side street, praying he’d lost them. But one oozed right around the corner after him, so close he could smell the briny beach and the frothy waves. Finally the time had come to turn and punch it, a dismal thing to do since his fist just sloshed around in it until he hit the shell. Then all its friends turned the corner too, and more of them came dashing up on Martin from behind.
Oysters, giant oysters everywhere! All squirming at his touch, some with Karen’s eyes winking at him. One of them shaking him hard, much harder than anything without hands and bones and…
Martin opened his eyes, seeing the mess he’d made of the now-sweat-soaked bed. “Officer Ann Worth?”
The girl let him go and jumped back, her eyes widening in what at first looked like terror. But then she laughed. “Oh, that crazy at the restaurant! Yeah, sure… ‘Officer Ann Worth’ at your service, sir, ready to arrest the perps bothering you…a mob of giant oysters, I gather?”
Martin looked around the room. Nothing was undulating. It had only been a dream. He was so relieved he grabbed…No Name…and drew her close, genuinely feeling a tenderness for her that only gradually turned to lust, then turned back into a genuine if not slightly sleepy tenderness after they’d made an even bigger mess of the bed.
She was smiling a smile no one could fake…but were there also tears in her eyes.
Finally she got up and went to the bathroom.
Martin took stock of the himself: He was fine. Just fine. His parents had been totally daft to go on so about all the hallucinogenic drugs he used to take. Right? He wasn’t hallucinating. Only in his dreams…when everyone hallucinated. But he was totally bloody conscious now.
The sun was shining, just like in that poem he couldn’t quite remember now from his dreams. And that was a rare and wonderful sight in San Francisco, sparkling through the window as if it were a finely cut diamond. No Name was in the kitchen now, and he could smell the vanilla latte she was fixing him…trying to compete with Starbucks. No Name might not be the sharpest tool in the shed…thinking she could possibly compete with Starbucks…but she was cute.
Martin yawned and looked out the window. Scrawny chap with an obvious death wish and a skateboard careening down the sharp hill at breakneck speed, dog yipping at his heels. Hysterical mother shoving a bratty looking toddler out of the way just in time. Flowers. Eucalyptus trees he fancied he could smell through the window. But leaning up against one was…Jennifer.