Drug Store On A Hill

by The Acolyte/Blaise Bienvenue

Last night, I dreamt I was in an old time drug store with a soda fountain and tables for dining. Both along the walls and in the middle of the floor were spinning metal racks and wire frame racks and fiber-board magazine racks filled with hundreds of comic books. Most of the comic books  were from the nineteen eighties and they sat on the racks exposed to the air as if they’d always been there, as if the owners of the store had put them out on the day they were published and they’d stayed on the racks for thirty years. I could only assume they were selling for cover price, which was as little as sixty cents a piece. I spotted the comics from one of the tables where I was sitting with some family members, who promptly disappeared.

I walked over to one of the racks of comics and started to search for the ones I wanted. The comics were not arranged in any kind of order, which meant needles in a haystack, so I was compulsively driven to look at each one. I started to make my way methodically though the racks. I started to make a pile in my hands of the ones I planned to buy, calculating in my head how much all of them would cost. There was a slender boy of ten who was going through the racks with mechanical efficiency. He zipped right over to the rack I was going through and began to flip through titles. This made me nervous. I bristled with rage. I felt like the boy had intruded on my territory.

I carried my stack of comics to the other side of the store, where stood a magazine rack across the top of which were displayed many issues of a much newer comic, one that had been published for the last several years. It was a comic that only existed in the dream. The title has escaped me. It was magazine-sized, but with comics inside.  It was written for adults. It was smart, hip, and edgy. I decided to take one issue of this, which cost more than the older ones, and add it to my stack.

I suddenly realized I was running out of time and had to get through all those racks of comics if I was ever to find the ones I wanted. As soon as I thought this, I found myself helping an elderly woman with her motorized wheelchair, which had a built-in tray table. We were still in the drug store with the same racks of comics, but my own stack was gone. The woman was questioning the way I was helping her; I snapped and said, “What do you want me to do?” I continued to help her set her chair up sideways on the ground, folding out a tent that was under its hood to shield her from the sun as she sat with her lunch.

That’s right, I said the ground.

That’s right, I said the sun.

We were still in a drug store with all those racks of comics, but the store had no walls, no floor, no roof. There was a well-mowed lawn beneath us, a plain of red clay tiles where the center of the store was, a clear blue sky above. The wheelchair was acting as a sort of little fort. Once I stood up to the elderly woman’s criticism, she stopped barking orders and let me set her fort up the best way I knew how. The woman who symbolized my girlfriend in the dream hiked up from the bottom of the grass-covered hill that the wall-less store was built atop to give me a message from the elderly woman, though the elderly woman had not left my sight the entire time I’d known her, which had only been as long as I’d been helping her with her chair.

My dream-girlfriend told me, “She wanted me to tell you that she’s from the streets, too, and she understands.”

– The Acolyte