September story, 2022.

It’s Just A Job

The crowd mingled and chatted or stood around quietly while waiting.

“You got your next assignment?’ asked the fireman, the one with a yellow, walrus mustache, to the sailor standing next to him.

“Yeah,” replied the sailor, dressed in a white tee shirt with an oil stain in front and faded cut-off jeans, “Just a short one, crewing a yacht in a hurricane.  You?”

“Pretty standard fire rescue.  One curve ball though, it switches from a house fire to a forest fire before it’s done.  Gets pretty intense.”

“Hey guys,” said the hooker, coming up to join them, ”How’s it going?  Know where you’ll be tonight?”

“Well, we know where you’ll be,” said the sailor, smiling and eyeing her black micro dress, red high, high heels, and billowing red hair.

“Yeah, just the street corners and the johns change,” she replied.  “You lucky guys get all the variety.  And here comes the machete guy.  What’s up, slasher?”

The slasher, face hidden by a smiling Halloween clown mask and holding a blood-stained machete, said, “Getting lots of work this week.  Three, sometimes four jobs a night.  The calls pick up every time a dice-em-up movie comes out.”

“Kids mostly?” asked the fireman.  “And girls?”

“Yeah, but you’d be surprised by how many guys in their twenties too.”

The woman pedestrian one stood by and was joined by the old subway rider ten, holding a folded newspaper.  Indian eleven and posse rider four stood in the back of the group along with GIs fourteen and seventy.  They waited patiently not bothering to converse. 

The storm troopers one through eight waited in their own little cluster.  Not getting that much work now, between sequels, and when they did work, were usually quickly eliminated.

“AARRGH,” roared the huge, deep red boogie monster by way of a greeting, baring its green tinged fangs, as it shambled up to the waiting group.

“Hello boog,” said the fireman, reaching out to rub its head.  The monster wagged its naked forked tail in pleasure.

“I’m curious.  Everybody here got night work this shift?”  asked the fireman, pausing his petting.

“Nah,” said the sailor in disgust.  “I got a day one.  That’s why mine is so short.  Power nap.”

“Yeah, the worst,” agreed the slasher.  “Lucky there are less day jobs compared to night work.”

“Okay everybody, listen up,” Dispatcher shouted, from the stage. “You all got your assignments so let’s get to them.  Make it a good one and see you back here after you’re done.  We’ve got to clear this place out now so the next shift can come in.

Do you ever wonder where the people in your dreams come from?  Not the family and friends that show up at the familiar locations that you know well, but the people that you don’t know, have never seen before, who you meet and talk to in your dreams and then cannot remember what they looked or sounded like after you wake up?  The “extras” in your nightly dramas.  Do they leak out of your id, come from the Sandman, of Gaiman’s modern mythology for the millennial generations, or….?

Now some people will tell you that they never dream, but they do–they just don’t remember after waking, because almost everyone undergoes REM sleep which is when dreams occur.   

Well, this is how it happens. 

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