Everyone at school has been rounded up, thousands of people. Teutonic, mustachioed musclemen with crew cuts herd us into various places-- I am part of a large crowd that's standing on some bleachers. Two helicopters circle overhead. One is directly above us, firing into the crowd, and nobody really panics even though people on the bleachers are dropping dead. I notice that the helicopter never fires at our backs, and I slip under the bleachers and run away from the direction that everyone is facing.
I run to a house. Roby and I have to play a show in the basement. We play and the samples sound really, really good. I'm shocked at how good they sound. I don't remember making them. But I want to smoke, so I tell Roby I'm going into a closet to smoke. There's a crowd of kids standing, watching, but we haven't fully told them we've started so I figure they can just wait some more, listen to the loops. I go in the closet and puff but not for very long. It's a large closet with cement floor and a green wooden door. Some kind of old heating pump is in there, too, and the far wall has some kind of bricked-up window in it. When I come back out, the samples have stopped. Some pedals have fell off the table where my shit was set up. It takes me a very long time to put the pedals back together, their cords are all tangled up and some are missing. While I put them together, one of the samplers somehow continues playing a loop. It's very, very long. It's basically a full song all by itself, minus the vocals. I listen to it while I fumble with the pedals but the whole time I'm worried that everyone is bored and waiting for our set to actually start. Musclemen arrive, and I notice them coming down the stairs into the basement, so I scoot.
I come to a ballroom-- there are about two hundred or more of these Teutonic musclemen here. I walk among them with no problem although I know that they are supposed to be looking for me. They are all getting ready to be a part of a large play, so maybe they're too busy.
I leave and find a shopping plaza. An old lady comes out of a windowless CVS and I ask her where she lives. She tells me that almost all the houses around here are empty because the musclemen have taken everybody away. She's got a plastic bag with some peanut butter and some boxes of fancy crackers in it. I thank her and take off, trying to beat her to her own house. When I'm there, a lot of people I know are there, and they seem only vaguely aware of the impending danger of the musclemen. I go to the basement just as the musclemen arrive. There's a similar closet to the one I smoked in before. I have the feeling that this house is my parents', although I have never seen it before. In the closet there is a bricked-up hole, from which I can pull the bricks rather easily. Once the bricks are removed, I find a hole that is just about too small for me to squeeze through. Beyond it I see some old heating pumps. It's possible there is more beyond the pumps-- like a tunnel, perhaps, but I can't get myself through the hole. I leave the closet just as the musclemen are coming down the stairs. I find a window in the back of the basement, open it, and pop out.
I come to a large, old apartment building. The kind that was once just a mansion but has been cut up to make separate luxury units. My dad gives me a video tape, it's a message from a real actor to Joan Hiller, who has auditioned for a role in a Hollywood movie. The actor is some kind of fantasy mash-up of Jeremy Irons, Willem Dafoe, John Malkovich-- guys that style, all combined into one uberactor. He looks into the camera and explains to Joan how actors used to have to train for years and do extremely difficult and demanding things to prove their skill, but then people like musicians and movie stars started being put into leading roles in Hollywood pictures, which degraded the art. From now on, the uberactor says, only real actors will be in movies. No musicians, no wannabes-- nobody but those who have been tested and proven.
The video makes me mad. I become determined to be in a Hollywood movie. My dad is late for a big play, though. I ask my sister if we have two leashes so that I can bring both of my kittens. There's a purple leash under the sink, I know, but I'm not sure if there's another leash. I try to put my belt around Melvyn, over his head and around his arms, but it's obvious he'll be able to slip out if he tries. I wonder if it will be OK to bring them to the theater without a leash. I hear Fine Young Cannibal's "Good Thing" on some kind of PA system and it includes the line, "Good thing, I have no arms."