Two adolescent boys played in a barren road to nowhere in particular. They lived in a town called Nothing. In this stretch of endless hills and dirt roads, lived 535 lifeless people. Every person in this town of Nothing, wore an expression of exasperation and as if the day were just a job.
These two adolescent boys were no different. They lazily let the baseball touch the desolate earth without effort of catching it, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And each night they would come inside when their mothers called. This would be their only time for excitement.
Danny, the 11 year old, would see his transformers and dog with contempt. He hurried through his nighttime routine of washing for supper, saying grace, eating, and washing for bed. As the Cedar family prayed, they held clammy hands and said words. These words were nor coveted nor honored, but said with machine-cold like voices. And as you and I would tell expectant parents of our days, the Cedar family ate with an air of silence as frigid as steel. They looked at no one and just filled their mouths with a mush they called food.
Danny didn’t even question this cold, void routine, for everyone in his town of Nothing did exactly the same. Day in and day out they nourished themselves in wait for the splendor of sleep.
After finishing his nighttime routine, Danny didn’t falter to rush into bed with equally excited parents on his heel. They rush and threw covers over him. Almost running to exit, shut the light out and mumbled some incoherent phrase, shutting the door, cutting the light. The Cedar parents touched their faces together and closed their eyes to the timeless escape.
Cynthia the older sister of 16 fell into a deep slumber at the same moment both her elders and younger sibling fell. Cynthia finally met again to her medieval world of Lords, Ladies, and Peasants, with the sun shinning over the land. She, herself a peasant with high expectations of her future, didn’t even toss as she lived this fantasy. Most people in her dreams were faceless and nameless. Only a select few were worth imagining in her dreamland. She had a best friend, also a peasant, Maggie. Maggie was always strong and stoic, while Cynthia was more timid and observant. Maggie would always introduce her to wonderfully interesting people, only for them to fade out. There was Sam, the goat herder’s son, who was an Arian boy. But upon entering a conversation with Sam, she soon learned that Sam lacked the gift of an opinion, talking only of his work to be done and not of futures to come. And he soon faded into one of the faceless people. After this he would only remain a boy with blonde hair, no eyes, no nose, and no mouth.
Cynthia and Maggie were milkmaids who delivered to the royal chambers because of their youth and naivety. This castle, regarded as the peak of social existence was lacking in the glorious shine from the sun. It had growing upon it weeds and fungus of different species and in abundance. Cynthia had dreamed in her head what the inhabitants of this place were like. They were the king and queen of life taking beauty and charm. The prince would be of obvious descent but with a warm heart that revealed itself within his smile. Upon the first week they spotted the prince at the peak of his youth. He was sitting off to himself by his window over looking the lush dark woods that encircled the village, whispering to himself. Prince Louis Imort was a fair-skinned boy of 21 with brown hair, short and kept. His eyes were a darker shade of brown. He was tall and splendor, a forlorn fairy, to Cynthia. She stood in gaze of this creature, until Maggie shoved her. Cynthia then returned to the reality within a dream as a maid. They set his milk upon the cold stone floors making a loud “clunk”. He then got up and waived his hand in the direction of the door, not even to look at whom they were or what they were doing. Thus, Cynthia and Maggie were gone.
While leaving, all Maggie could do was talk of how their Lord was detestable, ill mannered, ingrate, undeserving of the love of the people. Cynthia only stared ahead, ingraining his image into her head. She thought how elegant his features were and how royal he acted. He was just as she’d imagined, except for the charm. “But that will come in time,” she assured herself.
Danny, who was encapsulated in his fantasy, was flying high above Nothing. Seeing it as the rural, desolate cemetery it was. He twirled in the crisp exotic air of the night. He felt so alive just feeling the air swirl through his hair. In a fit of excitement raced to touch the stars and then tasting them of sugar cane of islands far from Nothing. He had never even traveled outside of Nothing, except for in his dreams. In his dreams, where he could save the world or swim in the ocean of Kool-Aid. He tried to understand everything he could in his dream of make believe, because when he awoke they would be all he had of a ‘life’.
Suddenly Vince, his 12-year-old friend of the real world, pushed him into the moon. Quickly laughing Vince retreated to the exciting unknown. Danny, unable to feel the pain of the unreal, braced himself against his crater and blasted after Vince. They flew around Saturn, hovering above the rings, tagging one another in all their childish glory. They both started trying to out-do one another on the ‘ice’ of Saturn. Vince flipped upside-down and turned before reaching the ground. Danny, knowing he could do much better, flew twenty feet above their new rink and flipped. He flipped upside-down, to the left, to the right, flipped with both feet swirling out beside him. Finally he gallantly touched the ice and shouting, “Tuda!” Vince and Danny were exhausted after this game and came closer into Earth’s atmosphere. They sat on a wispy cloud overlooking Nothing. Vince asked Danny, “Where will we go tomorrow?” Danny replied, “Anywhere we want! We don’t belong on Earth any longer”
Tom Cedar, a parent of two, responsible husband, can be found in his dream in the world of the 1930s gang world, of mobs and gun fights. He was called “Big Tony”, not because he was fat but because of his bouncer like size. He wore suits of high-class quality and hats that were obviously expensive. Always on his arm was Kitty, also known in their harsh reality as, Mrs. Cedar. Together they did as they pleased, and didn’t answer to anyone but each other. In their dreams they took on different personas. Normally, Mrs. Cedar was a cookie-cutter who tried only to impress the neighbors and school officials, whereas in her dream, she was a fox in red. She adorned her body in one dark deep shade of red. She was quite outspoken and loud. Her man, Big Tony was of great size and also outspoken and loud, whereas in the gleam of the conscience he was no more than 150 pounds with thick black rimmed glass who listened to detective stories on the radio and did what his wife and boss said. Here he told other people what to do, and was less receptive to his wife’s demands.
They drove a 1930s V16 Cadillac, which to match Kitty, was a deep shade of red. They raced off, screeching the assault as they peeled away, to a liquor store on 61st and central. Not tending to pay for their products, Tony came prepared. Kitty grabbed Vodka and cranberry juice, while Tony clutched his whisky. As they reached the register, the clerk had an angry gleam in his eyes. They’d robbed this joint before. Pulling out his shotgun behind the counter, Tony said, “’Ey, ‘Ey, we don’t mean no trouble old man!” Kitty quickly squawked in “Yea, we was only gettin some stuff”. The cashier asked them to leave, as Tony was putting his unpaid products in his suit coat. Kitty just blatantly walked out with her goods.
As time progressed in the dreams of the town’s folk, as did the time in the dull reality of Nothing. When the sun rose, as did the disappointed people of Nothing. They woke to responsibilities, the ability to feel pain, and loneliness, unlike their dreams. Mr. Cedar drove his children to school, with faces that could shoot an angel with their unhappiness, in his old minivan of green. They dragged themselves out of the car into the prison with authoritarians who didn’t want to be there and inmates who wanted to be better than someone else. This gray building was called school, the authoritarians called teachers, and the inmates were adolescents. Then he went to work as he always did; being told by the same people, who also didn’t want to be there, what to do. An elevated form of high school; people gossiped at the water cooler, bosses loomed over you while you’re just trying to get along, and people are put down to make others feel better and bigger. In her own personal limbo, the Mrs. did her household duties slowly and machine-like. She vacuumed the same spots she always had for their marriage of 14 “wonderful” years. She cleaned the same plates, talked to the same boring neighbors with nothing to talk about, but each other, and bought things that she wouldn’t eat, as she was always trying to lose weight.
All their rat races and goals would never live up to the freedom and power they had in their dreams. As each day progressed, they would drudge on if only experience their magnificent dream worlds again. A high suicide rate in Nothing, leads to wonder of eternal sleep. Will it be the same adventure as had in “life” or would it be torture for gluttons of the unreal? Often these simple folk would die never experiencing true happiness outside of their own imaginations.