CRYSTAL AND GUNSEL
Dreamed 1997/7/2 by Chris Wayan
Near my parents' house in the California hills, two men point guns at my head and kidnap me! They make me drive them down toward nearby San Mateo. One of them, Gunsel, orders me around, but he doesn't know where he is, so I have some power. But Gunsel's a crazy little weasel. He scares me--though it's supposed to be acting, I feel he takes it all seriously and could really hurt me. His tall silent balding friend Butler supports him, though Gunsel's getting less and less rational.
He wants me to stop in Polhemus Canyon. Asks "Which way is the wilderness?" I say disgustedly "Nowhere--this is suburbia." Turns out he just wants a tree to piss behind. I point to an oak grove. They both go--but they hover too close for me to run back into the car and flee.
They stop at a bar in the canyon near Crystal Springs. Drag me in. Crowded, a bit sleazy. I meet Gunsel's girlfriend Crystal, a tattooed biker chick who seems wishfully blind to his craziness--keeps telling herself he doesn't really mean to be abusive... as he hurts her again. Half-hearted efforts to leave him, but she seems to think she only deserves a lowlife. A shame, because under the tattoos she's a gentle, sweet-faced long-legged wonder and I'm madly in love with her.
It's a long evening. Gunsel drinks more, jerks people around, gets wilder, more publicly violent and criminal. Finally he pulls his gun in the crowded bar. People shriek and duck behind the bar, run behind a big cement column... The cops come fast, but he escapes with his tall friend Butler in their cheap little leaf-bug-car, splotchy with loud fall colors. "Poor paint job" I think--guarantees the cops will spot him--but they don't. Or are they letting him get away?
After that Gunsel's not around much. He's lying low, drinking alone a lot. He leaves me alone, but I see him in crowds, marking my movements--and Crystal's. I warn her he's stalking her as well as me, but she just won't believe he's dangerous, obsessed. "No, no, we broke up. He's over me."
Finally one night he talks her and Butler into meeting him on the steps of the empty Coliseum at night. He talks for a while, sanely for him--relaxing them. Says he plans to leave the country, wanted them to know. Then offers her a ride home on the back of his chopper "like old times". But he flies up over the stadium (all motorcycles can fly of course). He goes very high, over a mile straight up--then down. Straight down. Full throttle dive, and he's disconnected the safety! Aims for the gate where his friend Butler waits. He'll kill them all in a murder-suicide. Butler looks up, sees him, and stretches out his arms like Jesus over Rio de Janeiro. He grows gigantic as the statue--clearly he's a wizard of great power. Yet he does nothing to stop it! Just waits to die, a martyr. The motorcycle crashes at terrible speed, a huge fireball erupts, and they're all killed instantly. The shockwave smashes things for blocks around, causing injuries, maybe deaths, just from flying debris.
She never thought he'd hurt her. I did, but even I'm shocked that Butler would just let them die, or die himself. Such power, and he did nothing.
Now I'm downtown. The shock of the crash has altered the skyline. He landed, not on a stadium, but a half-built skyscraper, tapered like a jukebox or Gothic arch. It split down the middle and the halves peeled back a bit, like beetle wings. The shell was empty--apparently they build the skin here first, not the skeleton. Temporarily, his death's opened up a view of the waterfront beyond. A high price, though. He's dead, she's dead, the wizard's dead, and traffic's snarled for days, as the city cleans up the debris.
At last Gunsel got what he always wanted. He made an impact--literally. He'll be remembered.
But that's not the end of him. The nightmares about him go on all night
Now I'm on foot again, leaving Crystal Springs Shopping Center, hoping to hike back up into the canyon or to my parents' house to avoid him. He always comes back to these bars, after all, just when you think he's dead. His leaf-bug-car pulls up to the nearest bar just as I leave the lot. Slows, turns, and he's got me again. Pulls his gun on me, grinning, and says "I wasn't even looking for you." I'm kidnapped again! Knowing it's sheer bad luck makes it worse. He didn't even have to try. I wake feeling trapped. No matter what I do, it's not enough--Gunsel won't stay in his grave.
NOTES AT SUNRISE
LATER THAT DAY
Still troubled. Can't shake a vague fear I'm cursed for life with this crazy, destructive legacy. Not just SELF-destructive! Hurts those around me.
Still worry the dream was psychic--should I call Crystal, and tell her "For the next few days, YOU drive--don't ride with your husband driving." But how can I justify it? Yet I feel so uneasy--if she doesn't come to our support group tonight, I'll call. The dream was too intense.
Crystal does show up. I hesitate a long time, then tell her the warning dream. She thanks me and hugs me. "It sounds both literal AND about my marriage--my husband wants me to come down to the bar and help him close, when he's too drunk to drive. It's dangerous for me a different way--he turns it into a drinking party with his regulars, and pushes alcohol on me..."
I'd love to end this story one way or the other. Crystal was saved or she wasn't. But the fact is, I don't know. If she insisted on driving some night because of my dream, and thus averted a fatal accident... how would we ever know? Only catastrophe would really prove the dream was psychic: I fail to warn her and she dies in a flaming wreck. Or I do tell her and she narrowly averts a crash, barely survives...
Not to get cynical, but I suspect that certain of my readers (both the born-again psychics AND the diehard skeptics) will be hoping for tragedy here to prove a point... one way or the other. Even if someone has to die for it.
Preferably someone else, of course.
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