Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Monday, January 12, 2009

a year of morning thanks


I opened the door slowly, in silence, and edged around the corner, where I saw the guy walking away. He was dressed in fatigues, two full belts of bullets criss-crossed over his back like some mad killer. He was carrying a rifle--don't remember what kind.

I went back inside, where we waited in the darkness. Soon enough, he came to the door of the barracks cabin we were in--three of us, an old friend who teaches English 750 miles away and an ex-student, all of us at something like a bible camp. We waited.
Then, I remember seeing the shadow of that rifle through the glass of the window at our door, along with his silhouette. We hoped he would leave and go to some other cabin, where he'd find people to kill. We hoped he'd assume there was no one there. He didn't. He tried the door, opened it slowly. It had no locks.

He didn't bother with the light. The room was midnight dark. Somehow--I don't know why--he turned left after he came in and ran into a bed, reached down blindly, then got on the bed and started creeping across, toward me, even though I don't believe he'd seen me.

That's when he felt the ex-student. I'm not proud of this part, but I swear I had nothing to do with it. Not only that, I was fully dressed. What on earth the two old English profs were doing in a bible camp barracks room with her is another story, I guess. Here's the bad part: the ex-student was in bed, a fact which the villain happily discovered while feeling his way through the darkness. Anyway, he pulled back the sheet over her and discovered her to be buck naked, for which he likely also gave thanks. (I can't explain her being unclothed, but it was dark and I saw nothing. I swear.)

She was frozen in fear, too scared to scream. My old buddy--the other English prof--was across the room somewhere, like me, waiting, I'd guess, for exactly the right moment. I'm not sure how I reasoned, but once I knew he was sufficiently thoughtless about anything other than the girl, I made my move.

Instantly, he relented. Honestly. He must have understood that he was in the hands of male vastly more powerful than he. Right about then, my old friend must have tossed the Lionel Trilling book he was reading and entered the fray because in seconds we'd drawn and quartered the guy. We'd done it. I don't remember telling the young lady to get dressed, but I must have.

That's when I woke up.

An hour ago.

I'm teaching screenwriting this year, a brand new course. One of the books I'm using insists that young screenwriters keep a dream log as a means of finding material for their work. That chapter isn't on the syllabus because it struck me as a dumb idea--and besides, I never dream.

Well, not never. Just now I did.

Freud says dreams tell you what's steaming in your subconscious. Superheros, naked women--maybe there's some real smokin' goin' on beneath the conscious surface of this hard-working, 60-year old English teacher and writer of biblical meditations. I shocked myself.

But I think I have a better interpretation. Lately, for this new course, I've just been watching way too many movies.

But then, I got to admit--I could do worse.


Jake said...

Thanks for the chuckle!

Cara DeHaan said...

Thanks for the belly laugh! I won't ask who the ex-student was. :-)