Dream Exercise + Colleen Rich

7 Minutes


The huge metal door locked behind me. I looked at my phone to check the time. A tall man in a collared shirt came up to the tinted glass. Instead of speaking, he mimed opening the door.

“Yes, thank you,” I said and then nodded in case he couldn’t hear.


Empty boxes and crumpled newspaper balls were strewn around the room—just like you would imagine in an abandoned building. But it wasn’t abandoned. At least it wasn’t yesterday.

I told them her name again and tried to show them her number on my phone, but I couldn’t find it.

“Give me a minute,” I said, trying to keep my tone level, trying to be polite. “It is here. It was just here.”


I didn’t have anything strong enough to secure his hands so I just tied them as tight I could with a scarf. I knew it wasn’t tight enough, but it would have to do. When I just couldn’t look at him anymore, I rolled him onto the balcony.


The bagger at the grocery store was out of sync with the checkout girl. He smiled, oblivious, has the items rolled down the conveyor belt and bunched up. She put the cleaning products in a plastic bag. They were both wearing Dallas Cowboys jerseys.


The rental car keeps making a strange squeaking noise. It almost sounds like a cellphone sound effect. I check for texts three times before I realize it is just the car.


“Jordy isn’t from around here, is he,” she said. It wasn’t a question. She just wanted to see what I would say. I said nothing. I didn’t even blink.


The family headed down to the beach each morning around 10. We watched the husband carry the chairs down with a bag of toys. We watched the wife put sunscreen on the toddler. The day was overcast, kind of clammy.

“Get ready,” I told her. “It’s almost time.”


“Get ready,” I told her. “It’s almost time.”

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