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Halloween, Dreaming

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The Tortuga rolled to a stop in the morning sunshine filtering down into a San Francisco alley that smelled like a long gray urinal.

I struck out on a hunt for the nearest pay phone through a maze of alleys and industrial streets. Uncertain what level of paranoia was appropriate, I held my bags close to my body and walked quickly. I finally found a phone with the skyscrapers of the financial district overhead and a fashionable model staring at me from a triangular kiosk. I tucked my bags between my feet as I fumbled about for Daya's phone number.

Daya answered and told me he was about to leave for a class, but that his roommate would be home to let me in.

'Which train do I take?'

"Just get on the side of the platform that doesn't say San Francisco, then take the next train. They'll tell you where to transfer."

'And when I get to Berkeley?'

"You'll head right up towards the campus, then follow the path."

I jotted his directions down as well as I could, but as I hung up the receiver, the notion that I might mistakenly take a train to Fresno loomed over my shoulder.

In my bleary state, I found my way to the correct side of the platform, then stepped on the next train heading to 'Fremont,' whatever that was, and studied the map of the system as well as I could. I hoped soon I would hear directions to Berkeley crackle out of one of the tinny speakers loud enough to be heard over the deafening roar of the trains themselves.

Waking up, I realized that the train had indeed taken me all the way to Fremont while I slept on top of my bags.

I hopped off the train, now completely looped from the interruption of my serotonin- deprived nap, and saw that the only train that ran on that line would take me all the way. Relieved I wouldn't have to pay extra for my detour southward, I nonetheless resolved to stay awake by noting each station as it passed.

Walking through the campus, I suddenly felt at ease, surrounded by trees so dense you couldn't see through them all, a sensation I hadn't felt once during my week to the south.

Many many minutes later, with my bags digging deeper into my tired shoulders the whole while, I arrived at Daya's apartment building on the far side of the campus. His roommate, Gene, came down to open the door, and offered to carry one of my bags up the flights of stairs to their apartment.

Gene pointed out Daya's room, and I went in to spread out my sleeping bag on his bed and take a nap. Although I expected Daya to come back soon, I thought I could use the rest.

The next thing I knew, Daya was gently shaking me awake. "Hey man, good to see you," he said.

'Hey dude, good to see you too,' I said as I rubbed my eyes. The windows had gone dark. 'What time is it?'

"Around eight. Listen, you know tonight is Halloween. Do you want to go see Halloween in the Castro?"

'Sure, maybe. Is that what you're going to do?'

"No, I'm going to try to see Crash Worship tonight."

'What's that?'

"Well, it's kind of hard to explain. A lot of drumming-- tribal drumming-- with a lot of other random stuff thrown in. A lot of freaks show up."

'Could I get in?'

"I'm not even sure if I'll get in. You might be able to. But it's not a free show."

Daya understood my meager financial situation.

'You know what, more than anything? I really need to sleep.'

...what just happened again?...
...section five...
story index - v