It begins an effective modern nightmare--problems at work, being yelled
at by the boss, too much to do and not enough time to do it in. It's so
frightening because, unlike ghouls and vampires, it can and probably will
I work the 9pm-7am shift at Kmart, just like in the waking world.
I am, officially, a "Stock Replenishment Associate"--I'm a full time
stockperson and part time doormat. Because the store is closed to
customers, we're all locked in, and the lights are on 50% of their usual
Kmarts are dismal places.
I'm bent over, struggling with a heavy cardboard box, when a dark
blue shadow covers mine. Someone has walked up behind me.
I straighten and nearly jump in place. It's Peter Gabriel behind
me, in beautiful impeccable clothes, standing as if he was the tallest
man in the world, when in fact he is only the tallest of us both. His
arms are crossed in front of his chest. He scowls. His eyes burn a deep
knife stab of blue. "Hello!" I say, "What are you doing here?"
"What IS this place?" he snorts, turning his nose up at the
surroundings. He seems so angry, so capable of violence, that the other
employees and my boss cower and shake at the sight and sound of him.
"This is where I work," I tell him.
"Then why are you here?" he growls.
"Uhh," I'm thrown off balance by his question. "I have to eat?"
"You're not supposed to be here," says Peter sternly.
"That's what everyone tells me," I shrug.
Peter rolls his eyes, purses his lips together in a tight line
and seems to be visibly counting to himself. When he's hit a certain
number, he says very deeply, over emphasizing every word, "Now is the
time you're supposed to be thinking about me."
"OH!" I gasp. "Geez, I'm sorry!" I concentrate hard. The Kmart
dissolves into puffs of harmless air that drifts away with the breeze.
"Honestly," Peter says in a softer tone. "I began to think you
didn't want me here. I was beginning to go crazy."
I quickly wish up a Babylon--a beautiful Taj Mahal-like palace
with a cushioned couch for a throne, sweet sherbet and beautiful,
shapely, scantily-clad harem girls waiting to tend to his every command.
"Hmm," Peter Gabriel muses, nodding very slightly. He lies back
on the couch where two girls fan him, one begins a manicure, another
serves the sherbet and another removes his shoes and rubs oil onto his
feet. Peter calms down considerably and the air of violence drifts away
like the Kmart had.
Peter looks at me and smiles crookedly. "Well," he tells me, "it's
a little cliche, but it's a definite improvement."
Where the dreamers