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In El Rio
or,
Drinking With Filler

Dreamed 1994/5/14 by Chris Wayan

I take a short cut home, through the garden behind El Rio Bar (as our sign proudly says, "Your Local Dive"). My family runs the place, but they'll all be asleep now, it's way after hours, nearly 5 AM. But the back door to the garden is unlocked as usual. I let myself in. I cut through the dark bar, happily calculating profits on my Tarot deck, just published...

But... something's wrong with this darkness. Should be a few diodes glowing, showing the fridge and clock and security systems. NO lights. Power failure! I dream I'm in a bar when the power goes out--and all the people slump over like unstrung puppets.

And the dark seems dense and frightening somehow. As if someone's waiting in the dark.

I scan the gloom. Black on black, silhouettes surround me. People sitting absolutely still, at the bar. I wait for someone to move, to speak. Dead silence. Not a breath.

I grope on the counter, find a matchbook. Light one. The bar's full of people slumped over drinks, sprawled on the floor. Knocked out cold? Asleep with exhaustion? Dead? I can't tell. Now I notice a faint smell of gas--not enough to knock me out, but enough to scare me into snuffing my match. Is it the remnant of an earlier gas leak that overcame them all? Am I in a room full of corpses?

Or... worse... when the power failed and the lights turned off, did these turn off too? Were all these people just BAR FIXTURES? Robots to fill in the gaps, to soothe the loneliness of the real people?

If there were any real people.

If there ever were.

I'm terrified to stay in the wax-museum bar... but equally terrified to walk out and find the whole city full of fallen puppets. The whole world. Strewn with... filler. People who never were.

NOTES IN THE MORNING

Well. I've been nagging myself to go out to singles places like El Rio, and start dating again. Or at least the first step: unselective socializing fueled by horniness. Or loneliness.

But drinking with filler won't help.



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