Enormous sets of lights flash on. The sound of men and women cheering and yelling in excitement. I open my eyes and look around. I’m standing on a huge white stage at the center of a professional football field! I turn to my left and see the stadium seating completely surrounding the field. The entire place is packed to the brim with people standing and chanting. CHANTING MY NAME!
“DENVER! DENVER! DENVER! DENVER!”
The lights are bright and hot! So bright I can’t tell much about the folks in the beyond capacity bleachers but as I turn away to somewhat shield my eyes from the intense stadium lights I see the football field itself is also packed with even more people in a worship like trance! I see they are all standing behind a roped off area with a sign reading VIP ticket holders.
“What is going-“
I whisper to myself before being startled by a loud screech and moan that reminded me of an oversized PA system in any given public school.
“Testing, testing 1,2,3. Ok we’re good! Hello everyone and welcome the show! Who’s ready to laugh?”
The roaring of the crowd grows louder, almost deafening.
“Settle down, settle down.”
The announcer continues.
“Please give a warm welcome to the man we’ve all been waiting for DEN-VER RED-DING!”
The crowd goes absolutely insane!
The clapping and cheering is deafening while I stand center stage confused about what to do next but more so about where I am. I turn even more to my left and peer out into the ocean of apparent fans of mine and my gaze is brought to a man. Although he is dresses rather odd brown leather cowboy hat, long brown duster this is not what grabbed my attention. What struck me most about this man was how hard he was laughing! I mean yes, everyone in the crowd is screaming and shouting their heads off. This guy though, he is rolling around on the ground laughing, gets back up and wipes tears from his cheeks just to fall back down again. I turn away from the crazed man and notice I’m holding a microphone in my right hand. Instinctually I raise the microphone to my lips and whimper out the only phrase I can manage.
“He-hello everyone, good mornin’. I mean, crap, afternoon.”
The crowd grows ten times louder than ever. I go to turn and make a full pass of the stadium but on my way around my eyes are locked on the man in the duster again. Something is different this time. We locked eyes and I could not look away. After staring each other down for several seconds -that felt much longer- the duster guy moves his left hand in front of his mouth and snaps his fingers. The sound of his fingers echoing became the only sound I could hear. The sound disappeared and everything became pitch black. I felt my body lunge forward and my eyes quickly opened. I’m back in my bedroom and realize I had “that dream” again. I set on my bed and take in my dream for a moment.
“That’s the biggest place I’ve ever performed!”
I said to myself while smiling.
I force myself out of bed and rub my eyes to get them back in focus. I turn to my alarm clock on the nightstand on the right side of the bed and see it is 6:46.
“Crap! Guess I’m not gonna have time to shower again!”
I have to be at work by 8am which is a good 30-40 minute walk from my apartment.
I walk to the bathroom door to clean up what little I can (wash my face, brush the morning breath out of my mouth). I move to the sink and brush my teeth. I grabbed a white rag from the cabinet under my sink and wet it with warm water and begin to clean my face. First the corners of my eyes, next the left corner of my lips which have a bit of dried slobber from deep sleep mixed with dried toothpaste. I turn the washcloth around to unused side and place it on my face, place both hands on it and drag it slowly down. When my eyes are uncovered I look in front of me and there is my face staring back from the medicine cabinet mirror. I imagine the image having a conversation with me.
“Hello there ugly! (Laughs) Why aren’t you Denver Redding?”
I don’t answer.
“Thin, white guy, 5’6” height kinda short for a 31-year-old! Hey! That’s okay though Denver! At least you have looks that kill right? Short wavy brown hair, brown eyes, and a slight shadow of patchy facial hair screaming out to everyone that sees your ugly mug “Whoa! I just hit puberty last week!”.”
I start to get annoyed but continue to take the insults because I know it’s all true and along with that I know this is all in my self-conscious.
“Hey pug face!”
He speaks again.
“It’s fun and all busting your balls – seeing how that’s the only action your balls are ever gonna get – but I really should be seeing you off since you gotta hoof it to work and all.”
I snap my head back to the alarm clock through the bathroom door and see it is now 7:02. I exit the bathroom and head to my closet in the bedroom. I open the door, reach for the pull string, then yank it down and my small closet is filled with dull yellowish light. I run my figures through my collection of heavily worn polo shirts and think sarcastically to myself, “Do I wanna wear the black polo, the blue polo or be adventurous today and don the dark green?” I play it safe and throw my usual black polo on. Next I turn my attention to my jeans to right side of the closet. Not much need to overthink which pair of jeans to wear, I only own and wear blue jeans. After I put my pants on over the tighty whiteys I slept in last night I reach into a basket of unfolded socks – because what’s the point of folding socks – and grab a handful. I jump around awkwardly on one foot at a time balancing occasionally on the faux wood door frame eventually putting my socks on. Out of breath now, I move toward my abused white tennis shoes on the floor of the closet and slip them on. No reason to tie them. They have been tied for three years. I find it convenient, I’m sure others would say it’s lazy.
All ready for work now I shut the closet door and turn back to the nightstand and see it is now 7:13. If I leave now I can make it to work without any rush. I pass through my bedroom door and enter my living room, kitchen, dining area combo. I pause and look at my refrigerator.
“No shower OR breakfast today.”
I speak to myself again.
Out the front door, locking it behind me.