Postcards From The Edge

August 6, 2010
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Norbert Francis Johnson washed the grime clinging to his face. His bald head shone in the florescent lights. It had been a long day. He had eaten the same breakfast as always, a piece of toast and a cup of sweet creamy coffee. Then he drove to work. He was a mechanic at Mr. Lube. Today was the same as every other day, dull, depressing, and downright boring. Norbert had to shake things up. Get a new perspective. Do something rebellious. Have fun. That’s why he decided to go to the cinema. Norbert loved movies. They were a way for him to live without living. Little did he know that he would be living tonight.

Norbert departed from his small, slummy, one bedroom apartment at 7:15pm. He wore a long brown coat, loose khaki pants, and a pair of ratty lace up boots. His leather clad hands held tight to his umbrella as he trudged through the rain to his car. It wasn’t really rain, more like slush. Norbert grumbled at it.

This is stupid, he thought as he drove down the back-roads to the movie theater. Norbert would feel much more comfortable on his gray couch watching a fuzzy television. But he had to do this. It was important. He knew he would not be satisfied if he didn’t. So he drove on.

The movie theater’s parking lot wasn’t busy and he easily slid his Ford truck into one of the slots. The lights seemed dim, but Norbert trudged defiantly through the rain toward the front doors. He stopped at the small sign in the window, which listed the movies being shown: Predator, Total Recall, and Postcards from the Edge.

He was contemplating which movie to see, when his hand was suddenly pulled up, so that his umbrella was covering a stranger. He stood up straight and stepped back, so that he could get a better look at the person. He had to do a double take before he registered the individual before him. He was wearing a long, curly, black wig, which was pulled back from his forehead with thick bandana. Large black sunglasses balanced on the bridge of his nose. This man had a dark leather jacket draped over on arm, the other rested on Norbert’s shoulder. He wore very little clothing. There was a strip of black fabric resting just under his nipples and feminine underwear and long socks covered his lower body. On one foot he wore a galosh, on the other a ballet slipper.

“If you want real happiness” the man said, “you won’t find it here.”

Norbert smiled kindly at the man. “Where will I find it then?” he asked. He might as well be indulged. He wanted happiness didn’t he?

The man eased the umbrella from his grasp and flung it to the side. He grabbed Norbert’s hand and pulled him into the rain.
The world burst into color, like fireworks in a dark, starless sky. The man was spinning in the rain, wig fanning out behind him, and the world seemed to spin with him. The rain drops spun. The sky spun. The parking lot flashed yellow, then green, the red tinted with purple. Garden gnomes came to life and danced across the street. Cats yowled and pounced on 3 inch long grasshoppers. Golden sparkles fell from the sky. And then everything went black.

“Happiness is in the little things that make life seem worthwhile. Smiling at a stranger, or helping someone who can’t afford something to eat. Happiness is knowing you’re a part of something more important than day to day reality.”

Norbert bolted upright to the sound of his alarm and the dream fled from his mind. It was just the beginning of another worthless day. He heaved himself out of bed with a sigh and washed his face. His bald head glistened in the lights.

It was raining as he drove to work. The streets were congested. He stayed stuck at West 14th for twenty minutes. A man on the sidewalk was trying to get a ride to work, but no one would give him one. He wore a long, curly, black wing and dark sunglasses. A long leather coat covered most of his body. His legs were covered with see through tights. He wore ballet slippers.

Norbert pulled to the side of the road and opened his passenger door.

“Where do you need a ride to?” he asked.

“The Masque Dance Studio on West 44th.” The man replied as he got in.

The man had many stories to tell as Norbert drove him to the dance studio, but the whole time the memory of the dream grasped at Norbert’s attention. He knew he recognized this man. It wasn’t until he had dropped the man off that he remembered and he was pleasantly happy that he had done something for someone else without having to justify it.

Norbert had a wonderful day and found a new passion for attending the theater and dance performances. He was truly happy.

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