I'm on some Greek island (Patmos? Samos?) leading an island "discovery" tour for a group of hearty old women folk from my grandmother's retirement home. I'm in the main dining hall of our chartered hotel picking up little snippets of hysterical giddyapchatterbuzz from a group of tour veterans dressed in travel khakis and pith helmets. They are also smorgasbord connoisseurs oohing and ahhing about the impressive luncheon spread before us: barrel o'pickles and pies and gelati for the mode along with open boxes of glazed and sprinkled Winchell's doughnuts, macaroni and potato salads on ice butted up against a massive bulwark of stacked up lunch meats: grouchy sausages, pork-and-roast beef, bratwurst, liverwurst, blood sausage, kalbsleberwurst, pastrami and mortadella and more mortadella and more pastrami. Long, hollowed-out loaves of bread looking like canoes are filled with skulking little finger sausages. "These are the terrible offspring of the worst wursts. BRATWURSTS! Und das pumpernickel mit dem family crests are branded onto zer bellies!" I jot this thought down in my memory for the big speech I'm to deliver sometime later. I'm jocular---"And some of these breads have finger-indented "handles" that each baker presses into them in order to create a certain quaint 'pre-golf era' medieval effect" Dungeons! Truncheons! Bludgeons! Cudgels! FORE!
I slip out of everyone's view to get a better glimpse of those great wheels of Parmesan, Gruyere and Emmentaler I'd spied when I first stepped into the dining hall. Up close they are all branded with what seem to be intricate bird-of-prey ensigns. All of them sit like hulking sentinels atop reams of paper. Office documents, magazines and newspapers from every kiosk in the world. The table of cheese-weighted paper goes on and on and on. Dumbfounded, I run across a familiar edition of Life (Kennedy assassinated! Oh no!) But I notice that the date is wrong. It reads "November 22, 1962" (here my distracted dream mind shifts back to an old boyhood fish tale arguement about R.C. actually seeing a WWII copper penny. "Was it or was it not in mint condition?---You lie!" I check to see that nobody is looking and begin gingerly unwedging Kennedy's face out from under the heavy stack. "Don't forget: The value is far greater depending on the condition" But I pull too hard and wind up on my ass with half of John F's. face in my hands.
This jerking movement triggers an seismic reaction which has me ducking for cover with dumbell cheeses and a billion words come dropping down on me with a terrible thud. I'm hurt. No, I'm not. No, it's landed on the foot of my sixth-grade teacher Miss Shaefer, who lets out a terrible, bone-shattering caterwaul. Then silence.
With everyone looking on, she begins sobbing, and all the attention is turned towards me, the leader of all this shit.
I slip and fall in the middle of the horn of plenty big mess, but finally gain my footing so that I can save face with an apology.
But she's not having any of it. She's clearly not a member of my group. She's got on Raggety-Anne Girlscout clothes. She's no longer that hell-raisin', bug-eyed, spark-shooting Nazi teacher I once dreamed of dousing with sulfuric acid. She's just a withered, toothless old bag lady. Christ, what a fuckin' world I live in!
She's rising up in tatters like a scarecrow phoenix, one hand slowly wagging her crooked index finger at me like a broken metronome. She isn't hurt anymore.
I ask her sarcastically, "Have you seen my Life?", but she says nothing. Instead she gives me a glassy-eyed drunken stare and starts chortling about all her hundreds and hundreds of former students. "And you all really believed that school was out?"
As Miss Shaefer continues to menace me, a woman I mistake for one of my mother's friends---or is it one of my grandmother's?---tries to decoy Miss Shaefer by whooping and pointing at some other commotion going on behind a curtained door. "Teacher, may I go to the bathroom?"
I'm the leader of the tour once again, everyone pressing me forward past the curtains to see what all the brouhaha is about. The lady who did the decoying gives me an "I've got your back" wink and smile. She isn't my mother's friend, she's my aunt Mary. I go up to her for a hug and realize that she's got the sweetest, noblest, most soulful face imaginable. Those eyes, my god! I realize a whole universe left us when she died. And then she leaves again, but this time through a side door.
Now I am in my elementary school auditorium and quite lucid about Buckminster Fuller who, on this "elementary" stage, is giving the same dymaxion demonstration that I witnessed on another stage in my life when I was in college. He's overseeing a loony procession of puffy breads like Yorkshire puddings. The little pastries are being shuttled on conveyors, puffing up and down like miniature bellows round his spotlit figure.
I joke to myself about this guy being "Buckminster Fooler" and "The Fooler Brushman" He's speaking in scientific ellipses, swinging his arms and sweating profusely all over the puddings. I'm wondering how this Bucky bread would go with the lunch meat and cheese and what sort of dressing to use.
Then just before I awake, something tells me there's a connection between the energy of those spry old ladies and Bucky's pastry puddings.