This is the Stuff of My REM Time or “Where a prisoner camp, the grocery store, dysfunctional family, and a highway come together in the night”

I’m with a friend from high school and we’re in a prisoner camp where the guards are Asian/Japanese and the prisoners are Americans and Asians from other countries. We’re hiding, watching as all the Americans are let out to waiting trucks but we’re afraid to run for it, fearing being shot. Also, my friend is of Korean and American heritage and we don’t know if he’ll be kept in. The other prisoners are bunking down in a large, dormitory-like building and we decide we’ll try to hide in plain sight with them. I find a long robe with a hood and I pull it as far over my face as I can to hide myself.

The scene changes and I’m in a building in this camp, looking for an exit. I come around a corner, face-to-face with an English speaking woman who’s teaching children of the camp guards. I hear footsteps coming down the stairs I’d just descended. She doesn’t want to give me away, or lose her favor …whatever that is… in the camp so she points me to a door behind me. I turn.

And the scene changes again. I’m outside, walking slowly down a sidewalk alongside the dormitory building, hoping no one will take notice of me before I get back into the relative safety of the crowd. I’ve got the hood pulled low over my face and I hunch over, trying to walk as if I were an old woman but this doesn’t do much to disquise my 5’9″ height and large frame. A guard dressed in samurai-like garb passes me and calls out in a language I don’t understand. I keep shuffling. He lifts the bottom of my robe to reveal grey sweatpants and I know I’m given away. My friend appears and takes the guard down with one punch. I kick a guard who’s appeared to my right and we run for a nearby truck. We clamber in, he gets it started and

The scene changes and I’m in a grocery store that has skylights and is bright with sunlight. I’m in the produce section choosing red peppers to put in my cart and I see my long ago high school friend. I tell him, You were with me in a prison camp last night. He laughs, we chat. I had a huge crush on this friend so long ago. He’s still charming and kind.

The scene changes and I’m on my stomach, stretched on a bed, watching TV. I have a habit of leaving water bottles wherever I’ve finished them, intending to get them for disposal later. A woman who seems to be my mother yells at me, telling me I’m hoarding water, drinking too much water. I realize I’m a widow, and that the family of the man to whom I was married expects me in court that day, suing me for alienation of affection. I call one of my sister-in-laws to tell her that my husband is dead, and that I know his will bestows his wealth on his family, with only a small part to me. I expect that she’ll tell me everything is OK and we’ll have lunch but she is shrewish and threatening. I hang up the phone and get ready to leave the house.

The scene changes and I’m standing alongside a highway in the early morning darkness. I realize I’ve forgotten my keys and I run back to the house. The same mother-woman opens the door and hands me two sets of keys, one of which I put into the lock in the inside of the door. She has disappeared and I close the door, realizing too late that I’ve locked them inside the house.

I come to waking, the clock reading 10:21AM. I stretch and flex my feet, the cat stretched along my outseam grabbing my toe through the blanket. Some hard-wired instinct tells him it’s prey, not my foot. I look over to see my retired sled dog has…once again…opened his crate but had gone back to sleep inside it. He stretches and yawns as I softly call his name. Time to greet the day.

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