Look, Amanda… I said as we walked down the street towards the video store slash art galleria slash religious curio shop. “I’m worried about you, are you going to be OK?” She just turned and gave me a look of confusion and disdain as she was changing her shirt as we walked through the crowded street here in San Francisco.
No wait, let me back up.
I’m running, from something, not sure what, but it’s something and not someone.
I’m taking short-cuts through random gardens as I go jumping fences, jumping through stair railings, knocking over Sunday barbecues and their chefs, forgetting to kiss them as I pass. Its clear I’m running for my life.
When I reach a stair railing that I’ve passed through a million times I hesitate, not entirely clear why the sudden doubt, but it’s enough to call attention to myself.
Oy! Whatayou doing pal! I scan the yard below, I see him.
Damn it. This guy’s going to screw things up.
I yell back “Nothing, just trying to get through this yard, something is after me, you should get outta here too!”
Oh no you don’t chief, go back the way you came, yous ain’t coming through here. If you know what’s good for you. He yells back while waving a newly furnished 9mm in the air vaguely in my direction.
Fuck me, I don’t have time for this shit. I see a way out without pissing this guy off or going back the way I came—the way that lies that thing chasing me. I don’t know how much of a lead I’ve got on it, so I don’t have all the time in the world, I make my move and I’m out of range of the guy when I hear a gunshot and abruptly interrupted screams, sounds of flesh being torn from bone. Fuck!
I don’t look back I keep running. I’m breathing hard, I feel like I’ve been running forever—in sand.
I see bright lights up ahead I keep going, moving forward. I burst through the light into the street, a horn honks, tires squeal and a car bumps me back. I’m in the middle of the street, Market, I think, in San Francisco. What the hell? I was just in Idaho, I know I was.
I feel confused, I must look confused, the cab driver just keeps honking and yelling out his window, I can’t hear what he’s saying or maybe I just don’t understand him. My hands are on the hood of his cab. I step backwards dazed. I look around and I see the sidewalk a few feet away—salvation.
You OK James, what the hell was that? Says a voice from behind me. I turn around and it’s Amanda Bynes.
Oh. Hi. I say
Sorry not sure, what were we talking about?
Are you Ok? She said and smiled.
Yeah, Yeah let’s go the store is just up the street. I want you to see my exhibit.
We walked for a while and then I asked her is she was OK, and defined my worry for her. She shrugged it off with that aforementioned look of disdain and we entered the shop.
This was a weird fracking store. It was a video rental and sales shop with an art gallery and religious curio sections. While in the shop I found my dad’s old tape measure on a shelf with some old magazines.
I showed Amanda my “Art” exhibit, which consisted of my full name spelled out with scrabble tiles glued to scrabble tile holders and mounted on thin metal pipes upside down and reversed.
Then we went to the front counter and Amanda paid for my Dad’s old tape measure, to which I protested and she insisted because it was my birthday (which it wasn’t) and she hadn’t had many birthdays this week.
Then I woke up with a feeling equal parts mass confusion and great relief.