Steve Guttenberg's 116th Dream
We gingerly put the Krells on dollies and roll them, sliding, bumping, and grinding, down his long gravel driveway to a shiny black Dodge van. The second we open the van's rear doors, my nose hairs burn from the stench of rotten cantaloupes. Then I get a whiff of charred insulation. But after a while I don't notice the awful odors anymore, because Dan is going on and on about blue LEDs. He's really got a thing about blue LEDs. Or maybe it's white ones. I'm not sure.
When we get to my house, Dan doesn't have time to haul in the amps. As we plop them on the sidewalk, I get a few nasty cuts on my forearms from the amps' sharp heatsinks. I duck into my kitchen to deal with my wounds, and my old girlfriend Sami and my wife, Robin, are so busy jabbering they don't notice the spatters of my blood trailing across the living-room floor as I run long extension cords and interconnects out to the amps on the curb. I want to hear them right away, but they have weird connectors, and I can't figure out how to hook them up. Sami and Robin are baking apple pies, and they smell greatthe pies, that isbut I'm still desperately trying to find the right cables. Then it occurs to me: I've left a tall stack of crazy-expensive Krell amps on the street. What if somebody steals them?
Distracted again from the Krell shenanigans, I start recording all of my Neil Young LPs to cassette, beginning with Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. I like Neil Young, but for whatever reason I keep falling asleep as the side ends, so I have to start over. I can't remember which albums I've taped and which I haven't finished . . . and then I'm roused by a loud thunderclap and drenching rain. Holy shitthe Krells are still out on the sidewalk! I drop everything and rush outside, but the amps are unaffected by the downpourtheir chassis are so hot that steam is rising from their innards. Class-A indeed! But fuck mesomebody's already stolen two knobs from the KRS preamp. Dan's gonna be pissed!
Then I rememberI have to go to the World Trade Center to pick up a shipment of microphones. When I get there, I have to punch in a 100-digit code on a keypad to enter the building. The security lady points to a huge box with toothpicks sticking out in all directions. I'm confused. "Take a toothpick," she says, as if I'm an idiot, then starts reading off the code numbers. Using my toothpick, I dutifully punch in the numbers on the keypad. When I tell her I'm probably going to make mistakes in the 100-number sequence, she shrugs. "Everybody does."
I keep screwing up, but when I finally get it right, the elevator doors openand immediately close in my face. I frantically do the 100-digit sequence again and again, listening to this woman, who's now in a purple polka-dot dress eating a huge bowl of spaghetti while reading the numbers. The dress has streaks of dried pasta, and puddles of sauce that seep into the cloth between her breasts. She's sweating profusely as she shovels forkfuls of spaghetti into her mouth, stopping only to bark, "32, 27, 813, 809, 3, 9, 27, [glub glub glub] 59, 2005, 707, 61, [glub glub] 93, 70, 103, 86, 41 [glub glub] . . ."
At last, I get the sequence right and the doors open. I rush into the elevator and punch the button to take me to the 111th floor of the World Trade Center. The doors open on blindingly bright light. As my eyes adjust, I see a long, brown table with piles of disassembled microphones, and a stern-looking Asian woman with her hair in a tight bun. She points to a seat, then to the mikes. "Don't forget the batteries!" she screams, and gestures to neat stacks of SD cards.
I'm sorting through the mikes when Bob Dylan sits down across from me at the table. He's being interviewed by phone, and I can't quite hear the questions, but every now and then he looks straight at me, smiles broadly, nods, then goes back to answering questions, but I have no idea what he's saying. Finally he giggles, puts down the phone, and picks up a battered black-and-white Martin D-28 acoustic guitar. He sings "Tangled Up in Blue." He's amazing. Bob's in his mid-30s, very happy, and singing and playing better than he did on Blood on the Tracks. I'm thinking, He's a much better musician than I thought he was.
Then I wake up. And I wonder: Surely, I'm not the only one having these dreams . . . ?Steve Guttenberg