A consistent part of my life in the 2020s has been strange dreams. Here’s one of them:
An imaginary Russian girl named Versonica is cussing out my real-life friends Jared F. and Andy D. who both say little in response to her. I stand on the corner outside of a bar or a music venue near the corner of Myrtle Ave. and Broadway in Brooklyn as I witness all of this. The sound of the elevated subway train drowns out most of the words. I can’t clearly hear Versonica, Jared, or Andy. Jared yells at Versonica a couple of times. That’s the only way I can even tell that the Russian girl’s name is Versonica. Jared says stuff like, ”C’mon Versonica, chill out, it’s not that big of a deal.” All three of them are chain-smoking and it has just rained so the dirty pavement shimmers reflecting the orange-copper streetlights.
Just as the argument goes around and around with no clear resolution, no agreement to disagree, Andy laughs loudly and throws his hands up and walks away. He then opens up a blurry door. I can’t tell if the door leads back into the building or if it’s just a doorway installed in the middle of the street leading to nothing more than a different part of the sidewalk on Broadway.
Jared and Versonica continue to argue, until suddenly a lush green hillside materializes near the northern corner of Myrtle and Broadway. On the other side of the street —the side where Versonica and Jared were arguing—it’s dark and late at night. On the side with the lush green hill it’s an overcast afternoon, probably around one or twp. With shiny coats and bright eyes gleaming in the midday light, hundreds of Doberman pinschers gallop down the hillside toward the corner of Myrtle and Broadway. They’re silent, stoic, and moving with a unified purpose.
Somehow the giant dog pack never makes it to the other side of the street; instead they disappear before getting anywhere near Jared, Versonica, or me. There’s a lull for a few minutes once the dogs are out of the scene.
At this point the corner of Myrtle and Broadway, the entire city of New York, and the argument shared by Versonica and Jared all become distant memories. Everything is dominated by the big hillside where the Doberman armada roamed wild and free. Soon, the hillside becomes flushed with a deluge of tigers. The land’s throbbing with color. Black-striped orange fur coats every inch of the hill.
Despite their numbers and steady gait these beasts (just like their canine counterparts) barely make a sound. The only noise is the soft padding of paws on slippery grass. The tigers don’t even pant or make any kind of breathing sound. I’m overwhelmed by the subtlety of this ambient noise. I stand 100 feet away on another hillside trying to understand why the tigers are so quiet. Eventually, I give up trying to figure out what’s going on. Enjoying the majestic tiger exodus is all that matters. There’s no answer to the question of volume. It just hovers in midair like an imaginary sun; the lack of an answer becomes just as beautiful and reckless as an eternal stampede of tigers.