The Narrator’s Tale #TFDbyRWOz2 D minus 8

As I have related it was some time before I could open the book. I went about my regular life – working, eating and sleeping. But my mind frequently turned to the conundrum on the shelf. I spent hours holding it in my palm and staring. 

I wasn’t sure then but I am positive now that glints of light emanated from its pages whenever my back was turned. (This truth only came later). Obviously I felt something was going on. And my unease grew as the night lengthened. 

It was two weeks after I brought it home that the dreams began.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Eighty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I was disappointed. Instead of being back in the hiding place and resting, we were trudging up and over hills avoiding the major pathways.

As we neared the Damascus-Jerusalem road, my attitude improved for I recovered my bearings. And soon after Quasimo took the lead as he was more familiar with these approaches to our destination.

Elijah held me back and picked up our conversation of the other day. He shared that his dreams about the end have returned and are stronger than ever. He confessed that he does not dwell on them but finds that as the time draws closer, he did not want to let the opportunity pass to thank me for my constant help and companionship.

Day One Thousand Sixteen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Situations like this made me wish that Tomas was still with us, out front scouting. But that worry passed when I heard that gentle rebuke, and I realized I was transferring my trust off of where it should be.

I found Quasimo in the same dilemma. He was still hesitant about ordering us forward, thinking it perhaps too soon.

I believed his recent dreams were  robbing him of his confidence. I sent him to confer with Elijah, and  took up the task of moving us on.

Elijah sent his new pupils to assist me, and together we had everyone up and over the next hill in short order.

From the summit Quasimo saw that the next stopping point was free.

Day Six Hundred Seventy One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I guess, most would think I was panicked into numbing inaction, by concern for my friends. Or even paralyzed by fear for my own safety.

And perhaps so they would judge by my immediate actions.

But such would not be the case.

Yes, I turned in for the night.

But that was because I knew I was not alone. The One who is with us always, never leaves us.

And I simply followed His direction.

And out of that time of rest came the dreams. The dreams that old men dream.

Which came to pass today when Elijah came for me, and brought me out of the inn right under the noses of the guards called for by the innkeeper.

Day Six Hundred Fifty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lights appeared in the sky again last night. Not concentrated anywhere, but criss-crossing haphazardly.

We were left wondering. Were they looking for us? Or for the army?

Tomas was hard pressed to believe that they could miss anything the size of that juggernaut of an army. So he concluded that we were its object.

Neither Elijah nor I felt concern as all of them were very wide of our mark.

What we did have concern for was the pinpoint glow of a fire off in the distance. At a point for which we were headed.

It could only be the mysterious group whose camp we have come upon twice now..

We turned in with much to fuel our dreams.

Day Six Hundred Forty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We are on our way again. We had set out in the heat of the afternoon. At the insistence of Elijah.

Tomas has recovered. I will not say completely, but I will say he is very willing, and hardly requires any assistance. At those points when he does the Captain is first by his side to help.

I stayed close by Elijah and we conversed. He had many things to share with me, revelations that have come to him in dreams. Many things concerning me. My spirit quivered within me as he spoke. Some things I have known, but for others, and for one in particular, I will need to seek confirmation.

Perhaps during this night’s trek I will hear.

Day Five Hundred Forty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah had lots to sort out today, all on account of dreams. The dreams of crew members (including the Raj twin G) and the dreams of our guests.

Those experienced by the crew showed them joining the pilgrimage on land. And those of our guests revealed their continuing with the ship. Elijah has met with each one to hear their story. The fact that the number of individuals from each group is the same – six – strongly inclines him to accede to their leading. He wants to be sure.

And as I feared P is upset by all the talk of his brother parting from him. He talks about casting his lot in with him too.

That Elijah refuses to accept.

Zefferelli at the Jewel Box

zefferrelli-at-the-jewel-box

It shouldn’t be surprising that I used to dream about my work. Probably every one does. But these dreams were the weirdest when it came to my job at Saffle’s Theater Service over on John Street in Seattle. In some respects they were like walking through an Ingmar Bergman movie.

In this particular recurring dream, the streets were empty, and I was wandering them alone. I moved in the silence, not a single person anywhere, and no vehicles either, just buildings and trees and other such landmarks. I would follow the familiar boulevard towards my workplace. But I stopped a block short, and took another street on a vector away from my goal. And then another turn brought me up a hill and over to Second Avenue. I felt awake and conscious – all was recognizable to me because it was the landscape across which I circulated for my job. And there was a deadline somehow involved in the logic of the dream, yet not binding, as time itself was slowed down.

My movements always came to an end over on a little section of Second Avenue between Bell and Wall Streets.  There all the film distributor offices were huddled together in one little section that was called “Film Row.” And there also was the focus of the “fun” part of the job, the screening rooms.

There were two main venues on film row, where the screenings for new films were scheduled. Fox was the only distributor to have their own in-house screening room. I have absolutely no recollection of this screening room (my boss must have covered the few offerings there). I have been told that it was tiny and uncomfortable, and every seat had a bad view of the screen.

The other venue was a different story. The Jewel Box was a gem. (The choice of name was a genuflection to that old favorite choice for a theater name. If you’ve seen those old theaters with the name Bijou above the marquee, you’re were looking at something akin to the same thing – ‘bijou’ is French for jewel). It was built in 1927 by B. F. Shearer as a showcase for his theater equipment company.

With only sixty seats one might say it was the size of a shoe box, (compared to the theaters of that day – not now), but it was comfortable. One center aisle divided two seating areas. At the front there were individual theater seats, but as you moved to the back there were a series of booths – bench seats with their own long tables upon which you could place your meals, ordered up from the Rendezvous restaurant next door (a side door of the theater led straight into it). One might call the arrangement with the booths an early example of stadium seating, for each pair of them had their own riser.

The summer of 1976, I spent a lot of time at the Jewel Box viewing films. Here are a few titles:

In May- Food of the Gods (AIP) Marjoe Gortner

             – Ode to Billy Joe (WB) Robby Benson

             – Eat My Dust! (Parnell) Ron Howard

              – Drive In (Col) a film made with Texas state tax incentives for the (what else) the drive in market

In June – The Great Scout and Cathouse Thursday (AIP) Lee Marvin

              – Special Delivery (AIP) Bo Svenson and Cybill Shepherd

               – The Outlaw Josey Wales (WB) Clint Eastwood

               – Survive (Par) about the 1972 plane crash in the Andes Mtns and cannibalism

                – Obsession (Col) Brian de Palma pulls a Hitchcock with Cliff Robertson and Genvieve Bujold

In July  – St Ives (WB) Charles Bronson

              – Squirm (AIP) man-eating worms

              – Gumball Rally (WB) Michael Sarrazin

              – Futureworld (AIP) sequel to Westworld

In August  – Moving Violation (Fox) Stephen McHattie and Kay Lenz

                – The Shootist (Par) John Wayne

                – Car Wash (UN) Richard Pryor

                – Winds of Autumn (Film Brokers) Jack Elam

                – Drum (UA) Warren Oates, Ken Norton

[These movie “dreams” may have impacted somehow my “dreamlife.”]

One night we had the Jewel Box all to ourselves or rather all to our families, mine and my wife’s. And some few choice friends. I had arranged to rent it for my wife’s birthday party. (We all had dinner at the Spaghetti Factory before coming to the Jewel Box).

But what would renting a theater be without a movie? So I arranged for that too. I contacted Joe Vigil, my Paramount rep (and friend) down in San Francisco and ordered up a film title by one of my wife’s favorite directors, Franco Zefferelli. You may be familiar with his Shakespeare films “The Taming of the Shrew” and “Romeo and Juliet.” Along with our snacks and cake we sat down to watch “Brother Sun Sister Moon.” The film tells the story of the life of St Francis of Assisi.

I believe for a time this director’s films may have eclipsed Gone with the Wind as her favorite.

Day Three Hundred Twenty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

In my dreams, the world government official had no face. But it was not surprising that he turned out to be our old nemesis. He saw me, of course, but I am certain he does not realize that I saw him.

He disappeared as the ship entered the island’s single port.

Elijah and I were well away from the ship on our errands before unloading commenced this morning.

We passed through the town and made directly for the summit of the mountain, which is the whole reason behind the island’s existence. A caldera actually.

The minute we set foot on the trail, a tremor staggered us. We did not turn back, but pressed on.

Something is stirring within the mountain.

Day Three Hundred Twenty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Foul weather had blown in. And from every direction it seemed. The island as of then had not come into our view. The Captain assured us that we were close, and added that it would be a good time for Elijah to do his “trick” again.

I started to protest his worldly understanding, but Elijah interrupted, told me to fetch his staff, go out to the bow, and there command the storm to cease.

I caught on immediately that this way would educate the Captain better than my words. And it was also the fulfillment for one of my dreams.

I obeyed.

And to the amazement of those watching the storm blew itself out.

One of those watching was Stan.