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no thank you, i’ll have my tea without krumpets

I hereby declare a war on toxins. I do believe that the combination of skin-so-soft to repel mosquitoes during my meteor-hunt last night and Brni’s vodka made from rye caused damage on several levels. My liver aches and my throat is sore and the dreams I had last night have hurt my psyche.

I was lost in a very strange part of the mall, trying to find long skirts to wear instead of pants. I wanted to change my image but I was having trouble finding what I wanted, which is the way it usually goes for me when I attempt to shop.

I was trying to navigate the mall by way of these strange back stairs. The stairs traversed three levels and were lined with glossy, white tiled walls and odd colored lights. Tucked into the walls were dimly lit alcoves where mall maintenance men lurked, smoking cigarettes and watching the shoppers. The turns were all severe, right angles, no smooth transitions or elegant spirals. Some turns opened out to little groupings of exclusive shops. No Sears or Penney’s on these floors. Other turns brought you to another stairwell going up or down, never both, and still others were dead-ends. I knew that things happened in those dead ends and that people caught in them didn’t always come out. The crowded stairs seemed to endlessly loop and snake around the actual mall, intersecting it only at specific locations that changed according to some sort of intermittent schedule–like little gaps in space that someone or some group controlled from a remote switching station.

The shoppers using these exclusive stairs were very high in social and academic circles, loaded with lots of pomp and circumstance, dripping in self-esteem. They were all dressed in casual-chic attire, clumping together at little tables elegantly spread with cheeses, pastries and champagne in delicately fluted stemware. I got the distinct impression that these high-society watering holes were there more for control than as a benefit of stature–I was sure they were laced with will-altering substances.

I don’t know how I’d gotten here and I was really concerned about being found out. I was trying to move through without causing suspicion. I just wanted to find one of the entrances to the real mall so that I could get my damned skirts and get the hell out of there. I had no idea what would happen if I were “caught,” but I knew it would be awful. I was lost and scared, going back and forth, up and down these endless shiny stairways, almost reaching the way out, but just missing it.

At one turn, I found a more dimly lit stairway. This section was lined with the standard, utilitarian variety of tile. I followed these stairs down to a dark, outdoor parking lot. There was a small group of “maintenance” workers standing there. I approached them and asked them how to get to the main mall. They gave me directions, but for some reason I just couldn’t understand them. They were amused, and just a trifle menacing, so I quickly went back up the stairs. I stopped at a landing, trying to figure out if I should return to the maze of glossy stairs or take my chances in the parking lot.

I drifted up into consciousness and then back down to a different, unremarkable dream about my dad and some roofers.

I drifted lower into a dream within a dream. I was in my bedroom, sitting naked on the floor when I looked up and another me was standing in front of me. I was looking up at me and down at me at the same time. The other me seemed somewhat predatory and I was not exactly comfortable with the situation. I looked over at the closed bedroom door and saw a shadow of someone walking down the hall. The person paused in front of the door for a long minute then moved on. I reached over and quietly locked the door.

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