PAGE ONE: CALIFORNIA DREAMLESS
Kenny Dantley never dreamed...
When he was fifteen and had fallen off the roof of the trailer and broken his arm, his mother decided to ask the doctor about several things bothering her about her son. “What the hell,” she said, as the taxi dropped them at the emergency entrance of the hospital. Kenny cradling the bent limb, “while we’re here we might as well have him look at your toe, and your ear, and those teeth you say hurt sometimes.”
The duty intern had set the arm and cleaned the accumulated wax out of Kenny’s ears and, after frowning at what he saw inside the boy’s mouth, recommended a dentist as soon as possible.
“One more thing,” his mother said. “The kid says he never dreams. Am I supposed to believe that? I mean, everybody dreams, don’t they?”
The doctor shook his head and frowned. “It could just be, Mrs. Dantley, that Kenny dreams but doesn’t remember. Probably that will change as he grows up.” He paused. “If I were you, I wouldn’t worry too much about that.”
Kenny waited but his mother said nothing else, and they had gone home to the trailer, and his mother had changed back into her slacks and poured herself three fingers of Cutty Sark because, she said, she needed it.
She forgot to take him to the dentist; a year later he went himself and had the teeth pulled out.
Three years had passed since he broke that arm. He had waited to dream, or at least to remember that he had dreamed, but it had not happened. Each dawn when he awoke he waited to remember. He pushed out of his mind all the images that had already begun to crowd upon it, and he had tried to recall where he had traveled in his sleep, and whom he had met, and what adventures he had had.
But there was nothing. Nothing. Between going to bed and waking there was nothing at all, not even a void, or a chasm, or a gulf, or anything that could be described by those fancy words the Forrie Redman, the English teacher, was always telling him to use. There wasn’t even darkness. There was just nothing… Zilch. Blotto. Zip.
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