Saturday, July 22, 2006

I Have a Dream #6: ‘70s Exploitation Movie Edition

It started with a slight variation of the Forgot-to-Go-to-Class-All-Semester/Missed-the-Final-Exam dream. In this case, I was supposed to leave Louisville to drive back to Austin for the beginning of a semester, but I had to run a bunch of errands around Louisville before I could go and I had yet to pack and it was raining hard. The semester’s classes were to start on Tuesday, and I was still in Louisville at 3 PM on Monday. Certainly, not as catastrophic as forgetting an entire semester’s worth of classes or forgetting a final, but nonetheless, the dream left me disconcerted about my poor trip planning.

Next, I found myself in a truck stop in a remote area of Arkansas along with about twenty other patrons, all stuck in a slow moving line to pay for gas and purchase Slim Jims. As I waited, a dangerous gang of ne’re-do-wells began to file into the truck stop. The men all sported scraggly mullets, bushy untrimmed beards that extended down their necks and into their collar lines, and filthy denim outfits. All appeared high on crystal meth and agitated. The gang also had their old ladies in tow, as well as a handful of children. How tough was this gang? The children, a handful of boys, age nine to eleven, had the same thick beards as their fathers.

The other patrons and I knew the drill. Scary men show up, so now we have to be hostages. The gang didn’t actually threaten us, but they always seemed on the cusp of doing so. Through a series of grunts, glares and nods, the gang herded us to a nearby, secluded, dusty farm. Implicit in this choice of location, were beatings, fondlings, leerings and other various humiliations sure to come. My greatest concern, however, was verisimilitude. Though I knew I was in Arkansas, the location seemed too mountainous and dry. It looked more like Malibu Canyon, filming location for such shows as M.A.S.H. (That doesn’t look like Korea!), Little House on the Prairie (That doesn’t look like Minnesota!), and The Dukes of Hazard (That doesn’t look like Georgia!).

A group of hostages, including me, was instructed to go into town and purchase food for the gang and the rest of the hostages. Once we were in the grocery store, a particularly shrill and nerdy hostage suggested that we act out against our captors by only purchasing canned chicory and creamed corn. That’s the kind of passive aggressive move that will get your Poindexter-ass dragged behind their motorcycles, I thought. We ended up buying a grocery cart full of gray meat beef ribs. Yum.

Purchase this for a motorcycle gang if you want to get your ass kicked.

The gang in the dream never intimidated me, since I somehow knew that I was the unstoppable protagonist in this scenario. I bided my time trying to decide which scruffy outlaw to subdue first. I would then take his pistol and shoot the rest. But I worried that it would not look cool enough unless I shot all the gangsters in a quick, economic and meticulous fashion. If I struggled to wrest the gun away from the first tough, then the rest of the action sequence would likely be a clumsy, un-cool affair. So while the rest of the captives cowered in fear, I calmly surveyed the setting with a mind toward lighting conditions and camera angles. The dream ended before I felt sufficiently cool enough to act. Story…of…my…life.

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