Continued from: Earworm: Part 29 — A Little Company
“‘O beware my lord, of jealousy; It is the green eyed monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on: that cuckold lives in bliss who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger; but, O, what damned minutes tells he o’er who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves!’” Mr. Grey read the text in a fast, shady growl signifying his portrayal of Iago. His voice then changed to the deep, powerful cadence of Othello: “‘Why, why is this? Think thou I’ld make a life of jealousy, to follow still the changes of the moon with fresh suspicion? No; to be once in doubt is once to be resolved: exchange me for a goat, when I shall turn the business of my soul to such exsufflicate and blown surmises, matching thy inference. ’Tis not to make me jealous…’” Mr. Grey strolled around the room, the book held in one hand, his other hand in the air like a conductor waving with the poetry of the words. “‘…For she had eyes and chose me. No, Iago; I’ll see before I doubt; when I doubt, prove; and, on the proof, this is more but this,—away at once with love or jealousy!’” Mr. Grey paused.
There was silence.
“Whoa,” Carl Watts said, “that was intense.”
“That’s right, Mr. Watts. What just happened?”
“I don’t know, but it sounded bad,” Carl said.
The class giggled. The bell rang.
“Okay, class, have a good night,” Mr. Grey called, adding, “And Mr. Watts, you may want to review a bit.”
Hope gathered her things, the other students rising from their desks in flutters of shutting books and book bags being shouldered. Out of the corner of her eye, Hope spotted a shimmer of light, like rushing water. She flinched, her hand going to her breast in search of her moon jewel. She turned to find the flicker was Samantha Stuart standing from her seat, light catching on her plastic binder.
“Hey,” someone said.
Hope flinched again, looking up at Joel, Joel saying, “Whoa, you all right?”
“Yeah,” she said. “You scared me.”
“Why look,” Mr. Grey called to Hope and Joel from across the room, “I still have two students left to teach. I can continue with my lecture on Othello if you both shall wish. I had no idea that I kept you in such rapture.”
Hope and Joel burst into smiles. “Can’t get enough of you, Mr. Grey,” Joel said, “but who’s this Othello guy?”
Mr. Grey smiled. “Perhaps I can bring you up to speed after school, Mr. Fitch.”
“You’d actually come to football practice and tutor me?”
“I, Mr. Fitch, would not dream of such a thing.”
“Hey,” Joel snapped his attention to Hope, “you still havin those weird dreams?”
“They’re getting weirder each night,” Hope said.
Although the dream of her father’s demonic transformation had shaken Hope in the late hours of the night, she felt it almost seemed silly now. For some reason, the dream of losing her father had not been as jarring as the dream when she’d first found him again. Maybe because the dream last night was more like a dream than the other dreams she’d been having. Last night’s dream was more random and bizarre—as dreams should be.
“What do you think of dreams, Mr. Grey?” Joel said.
“Still dreaming of becoming the first U.S. President to graduate from our fine institution, Mr. Fitch?”
“No, dream-dreams, the ones at night.”
“The ones where you already are the president, Mr. Fitch?”
“No, the ones where I take over the Playboy empire. Ouch.” Joel grabbed his arm where Hope struck him.
“I like them,” Mr. Grey said.
“What, dreams or playmates? Ouch.”
“Mr. Fitch, must conversations with you always take the path of water descending a drain?” Mr. Grey asked, but it was evident in his smiling eyes that Mr. Grey enjoyed these conversations with future President Fitch.
“Hope’s cheating on me in her dreams,” Joel said.
“Joel,” Hope squealed.
“It’s true, she spends every sleeping moment with another guy.”
“Only shows that her sleeping self is a better judge of character than her waking self,” Mr. Grey said, looking up from his papers.
“You got that right,” Hope said.
Joel rolled his eyes and shook his head. “We know that isn’t true. But really, Mr. Grey, what is your take on dreams?”
“Isn’t that question better suited for your father, Mr. Fitch?”
“He’d say Hope is repressing guilt about bedwetting or something. Ouch. Would you please stop hitting me?”
“It sounds like, perhaps, it is you projecting your own bedwetting problem onto Hope,” Mr. Grey said.
“Exactly,” Hope said.
“No, I’m serious,” Joel said. “What’s your take on dreams, you know, from a—I don’t know—a book standpoint?”
“I’m not familiar with many books that dream. However, if you mean from a literary standpoint, then dreams can be anything from spiritual to prophetic.”
“Prophetic, what is that, like a condom?”
“Way to flush yet another conversation, Mr. Fitch. But to answer your question: Native Americans thought dreams to be doorways to the spirit world. There are even Aborigine tribes that believe the dream world is the true reality. Then there is the Bible, and other religious texts, where dreams allude to demonic deeds—an idea taken a little too far in Salem a few hundred years ago, when the dreams of young girls alerted authorities to supposed witches. Just remember, Ms. Ferretti, they are, in fact, your dreams, and you should take from them what you want.”
“Think you’re a witch?” Joel said, bringing his hands to his cheeks in mock fear.
“Ms. Ferretti, maybe your dreams are trying to tell you something about whom you keep company with,” Mr. Grey said, arching an eyebrow toward Joel. “Perhaps you should listen to what they are saying.”
“I’m still convinced it’s bedwetting,” Joel said. “Ouch.”
As Hope and Joel walked toward the door, Joel began singing in an off-key voice, “‘When I want to see you, all I have to do, is dre-ee-ee-ee-eam, dream, dream, dream…’”
“Ms. Ferretti,” Mr. Grey called as Hope and Joel were about to walk out the door, “Our minds speak to us in different ways. The key is to listen to your mind and listen to your heart, but not to let one rule the other. No one can control your dreams, and your dreams cannot control you.”
“See,” Joel said, nodding in Mr. Grey’s direction and saying in his best Kung Fu movie voice, “you need to listen to the great Master Grey here.”
“And, Mr. Fitch,” Mr. Grey said, “I will be sure to inform Ms. Glindelle of your wonderful singing voice, and that you will be quitting football for chorus.”
“Nah,” Joel said, “that Beatles’ song is all I know.”
“You mean The Everly Brothers?”
“See what I mean?”
“Never underestimate the power of the oldies’ station, young Grasshoppa.”
“Yes, Master,” Joel said as he and Hope walked off down the hall.
That night, Hope dug at the tacks hanging the poster of the castle to the wall. She imagined the delight in her sister’s eyes as she handed the poster to her. Here you go, Karen, you better take care of this. And if any boys try to take you there when you’re dreaming, don’t go.
Hope thought about the creature her father had become in her nightmare—the sunken nose, narrowed eyes—and she looked at the poster, the castle somehow seeming tainted now. But then she stopped digging at the tacks. She traced the castle’s ramparts and towers with her eyes, suddenly realizing she was acting like a foolish little girl. Mr. Grey was right, her dreams were her dreams, and they would not control her.
She fastened the poster back into place, smoothing the slight bulge where it drooped against the tacks. “Sorry, Karen,” she said to herself, securing the final thumbtack into place. Hope then put on her favorite boxer shorts and Dutch Horse T-shirt, and she went to bed. She decided that she was done with these dreams. And she slept a dreamless slumber. But it wouldn’t last, because the dreams were not done with her.
Continued in: Earworm: Part 31 — The Specter
If you like what you read, please vote for us on topwebfiction.com .