James Lepore: Project 52/2015: The Dreamer

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14814_1807030lImage: Metro North, © James LePore

Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths. — Joseph Campbell

Men in Exile feed on dreams. — Aeschylus

If he’s running late, he switches in Stamford.

You want me to push him off the platform?

I want it to be personal.

You want me to turn him around before I push him off?

Sit next to him, use a silencer. Get off at SoNo.

Where’s SoNo?

South Norwak.

It will be my face he sees, not yours. I mean nothing to him.

Mention my name. Whisper it in his ear.

You can’t afford it.

How much?

Fifty K.

That’s a problem.

I thought so. Why are you doing this?

He’s a bad tipper.

* * *

He wasn’t a bad tipper. He took my wife away, and my daughter. Apparently, in my dream, I have a sense of humor, which is something my wife said I lacked. A sense of humor is very important to a woman, especially if she’s having an affair with her hedge fund boss. He runs a hedge fund. I trim actual hedges. And mow the lawn. And take my daughter to school. I used to do those things, anyway. Now I’m driving across the country sleeping in Motel 6’s, dreaming the same dream every night. He’s a bad tipper. Who knew I was such a funny guy?

Maybe in Los Angeles, I’ll have a different dream, one about hiring a rich guy to have an affair with the judge’s wife, to take his son or daughter three thousand miles away. Why? This is what he said:

I find that it would be in Melissa’s best interest if she were to live in Los Angeles with her mother and step-father. Mrs. ___ will be starting a very rewarding career there which will enrich her life and naturallly enrich Melissa’s. The financial benefits are enormous and will only inure to Mr. ____’s benefit in the long run. Mr. ____ will have liberal visitation, including alternating holidays and four weeks in the summer.

Do you know what inure means? I had to look it up.

I knew I was screwed from the start, when the judge asked me why I was representing myself, what my income was, etcetera. I told him Legal Aide turned me down because I was making too much money ($82,000.00 in 2014) but that I could not afford any of the private attorneys I met with. (They all said the case would cost around $50,000.00). My wife’s attorney had asked for a “plenary” hearing (another word I had to look up) and had notified the court that he would be presenting expert testimony from a child psychologist and an early childhood education specialist. Of course, I couldn’t afford experts of my own, even if I knew how to find them, which I didn’t. I wore my best sports jacket to court, which was too tight, while my wife’s new husband had on a five-thousand dollar suit and a Rolex watch.

But they didn’t count on me moving west. I can always fix refrigeration systems. I’m a whiz at it. I’ll make my $80,000.00 a year. I’ll drive Melissa to school. I’ll go to all her soccer games. I’ll get a little place where she’ll have her own room. I’ll go to her school’s parents’ nights. My wife and her new husband will hate me. My blue-collar presence will make their life a nightmare. They’ll fight, they’ll get divorced. My wife will get a huge settlement. We’ll get remarried and live happily ever after. I wouldn’t mind seeing that dream come true. If it doesn’t, well, I’ll come up with another one. One thing’s for sure, though, they’re not taking my daughter away from me. I’m digging in, digging in so deep, they’ll dream about hiring someone to kill me. Let them try. They’ll get caught and go to prison and I’ll get Melissa back.

That’s another dream I wouldn’t mind seeing come true.

And I’ve got plenty more if by chance it doesn’t.


About Project 52/2015: I like to take pictures and I like to write fiction. This Blog will combine the two in what I am calling Project 52/2015, one of my images mated with a piece of very short fiction each week in 2015. Enjoy.

James LePore is the national bestselling author of numerous novels including No Dawn for Men and his most recent, God’s Formula, which he wrote with Carlos Davis. Visit his website for more.

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