Part (taken) from the Whole
     The day Christine met Megan at the club had started in a doubly diabolically disastrous direction. During sound check Mr. D had whispered in my ear that he had been visited by Dreams in the night and a discussion of them was desired. I say whispered, but shouted was a better description. Sound check, unlike rehearsal of recorded music, allowed the band to exchange messages, because the volume of the Noise was such that no eavesdroppers could participate. When the band was creating improvised music, the content of any message could not be flittered out by the surveillance equipment. During a show the band was working with established pieces of music. There was not much improvising go[ng on. A program could remove the music portion of the recorded signal, leaving the underlying messages exposed. The band would often explore new sonic territory to facilitate messaging, because the performance of the music and the messages were inseparable. The band would often talk to each other while the noise cascaded through the Subterranean Sound System, but deep discussions were deliberately deferred. Shouting in someone’s ear was fucking rude.
     Mr. D had leaned in close and disclosed, “I have had a Dream we need to discuss. I will not travel the path you have chosen. Follow me to the Farm.” I had a familiar sinking feeling as he walked away.
     When the Soundblasters were silent, I put my weapons of mass percussion in their quiver. This was the private signal that I was headed to the farm. If the drum sticks were on the snare it meant I was staying at Dwnwrdspyrl, and if they were on the floor tom it meant I was headed under the sea. We had many such private signals. Mr. D’s dream was obviously not a collective dream. If he had said we had a dream, he would have seen others in Dreamland. This meant interpretation was less clear, but all his dreams were important, and were part of the fabric of the Elders. They could not be disregarded. Without a delay, I started my journey to The Funny Farm.
     In order to function as clubs historically have, Automatic Slim’s was connected to a tunnel network. Dwnwrdspyrl could not afford to be connected to the tunnels, because of our precarious political position. The dance academies and clubs, although supported by the security apparatus, were not overtly supplied with drugs and liquor, so there was an extensive network of passages that allowed “goods” from outside to filter into the Triumvirate. The God fearing men of power could not be seen allowing vice to invade their New Jerusalem, but neither could they be happy without it. In the “bad old days” a trip between Dwnwrdspyrl and the outside was fairly easy, since the club was a restaurant and was supplied by the farm. But the times had changed and contraband, human and otherwise, had to find a more clandestine route into the city-state. This meant that Mr. D and I were going to Automatic Slim’s and from there to the Farm.
     Even with the tunnels, it was not easy to get in and out of the walled city. It was not something that was without peril, even in times of relative calm. The ground was searched from above for sources of heat and the drones would shut down any unauthorized passages, which meant suffocation. But the Eagles had taken to the sky during our last band meeting, and would not allow us to go under the sea again. They would immediately sense any new holes in the web and easily triangulate our position. This meant that the avenue was open for us to use the existing tunnel network more easily, as the drones were pulled away from searching for sources of heat underground while they patrolled the web. The Invisible Man would know the schedule of shipments to Automatic Slim’s and we could slip back and forth between the cargo.
     When we reached The Funny Farm time was of the essence. We had walked into Slim’s club early in the afternoon, we had to be back by night fall. Appearances had to be maintained. Everyone knew this, so polite conversation was dispensed with. An unscheduled return to the farm was seen as an inauspicious occasion for small talk. When Mr. D and I got to the farm we headed straight for the studio. i was ready to hear what was going on in Dreamland.
     “So, my friend, what’s happening in you field of dreams? Why are we here?” I asked my fellow traveler. “ I hope this is good.”
     “Do you think I would bring you out for bullshit, brother?” I knew he wouldn’t. “You are not used to following others. You must be fighting me already to say such things. It has always been a struggle for you to believe that yours is not the only way, and yet you have often walked into walls or sunk in sand. I have never told you this, but I know the counsel has always seen you as a mixed blessing. Your mouth is so big and your eyes are so small.” My brother knew me pretty well.
     “Yeah, thats right. You don’t have all day, you know. I know the Elders as well. Thanks for the props though.”
     I guess it was a talent, but the Elders had been aware of me from the first time I came to the Reunion, because of the complaints. I had to work twice as had as the others just to undo the devastation in my wake, but that’s another story.
     Mr. D continued, “Why is it always like this with you? You fight where you should flow. You splash where you could swim. You laugh when you should listen.”
     I could see where this was headed. “Its like Louis Armstrong said when asked ‘What is jazz?’” I quoted, “If you have to ask... You ain’t got it.”
     “Right.” was all Mr. D said. He was not going to waste more time. I had my problems and he had his. I was a loner. Every band I had ever joined had been a struggle for a group of individuals. I bristled when confronted with authority, especially when it was wielded by someone I considered a peer at best. Why would this band be any different? The Elders had brought us together to learn from each other if we could. Mr. D and I had learned less from each other than our counselors had hoped we would.
     “The matter at hand is... “ I was prodding. If I was a flame thrower then Mr. D was the weather vane. His energy got easily diverted, he often had no idea where to turn. That might be unfair though, perhaps he saw all the roads that could be taken, and could not choose one.
     “Last night, as the window on this world closed,” he spoke very softly now,” I woke upon a raft in the middle of a pond. A child was with me. It was a beautiful child, filled with energy and able to do many amazing things.” The raft often symbolized Dwnwrdspyrl in Mr, D’s dreams. He had had many such dreams before.
     He went on, “It was a joy to behold. He made dinner when I was hungry. He made fire when I was cold. He was like any other child in appearance.”
     “He must be a symbol of the dancer who auditioned yesterday,” I exclaimed, thrilled because such an omen would support my gut feelings toward Christine.
     “Do you think so? Then you need hear me out.” Mr, D continued, “After dinner I began to wonder that such a small child was not tired from waiting on me. The child had done many fantastic things for me and yet I was the one that was tired. The next day was the same. I sat passive on the water. The wind didn’t blow. The fawn and the doe did not come to the waters edge. I began to grow roots where I lay on the raft. Now I know you think the child is your dancer, but there were no other dancers on the raft. No Count Beat, no Michele from Hell, no Megan and of course no Josie. It is in my heart that this was a premonition of Death. Death provided by, as you said, the new star of your galaxy.”
     “What are you talking about?” I was astonished.
     “Where were my brothers and sisters Count?”
     “I don’t know, on their own rafts, with their own cherubs.” I was clutching at straws.
     “There was only one raft. If there were others, they were at the bottom.” Mr. D knew I would resist his interpretation. “I realize the meaning for me, and we can’t be all of one mind in this. A dreamer on their own can easily be swept along by false readings. You have your reasons for doubting, and I have mine for believing, but if you do not act as your heart tells you to then you are truly lost. Count, brother, do not stand in my way. I am not asking you to follow me. I was alone in my dream, I can be alone on my path. I did not expect you to see things as I do. Evermore and more, when we look through the same pane of glass, we look into different worlds.”
     The Funny Farm was alive around us as we talked. Unlike the cold concrete and steel club, the farm house was warm and wooden and very comfortable. We were not on the grounds long, but news of our arrival was passed among the Elders. Mr. D had been a part of the fabric of the Reunion for much longer than any of the dancers, and that included me. Though everyone knew we had only a little time to discuss our mission, a visitor came into the studio as Mr. D was talking. It was Queen Ann a.k.a. Ann Bowling, who graced us with her royal presence.
     “Hi fellas, ya’ll buttin’ heads agin?” Annie had a sweet syrupy southern drawl. She had been a dancer in her day, but had turned away from the foot lights and put down roots at the farm. She always tried to see Mr. D when he was on the grounds. It didn’t surprise either of us that she would turn up now. There were mandatory hugs all around. Mr. D even got a big kiss, she hugged him and held him as she talked to us.
     “You guys on the war path, huh? I thought we had enough problems without you two scrappin’.” She was holding Mr. D while looking at me. She said, “No word on Josie... No trails or scents... No dreams... It just don’t make sense.”
     I was trying to figure out how to slow Mr. D down. I could tell he was about to jump ship and chase Josie into the void. When you have been in bands long enough you recognize the signs. A shift in balance often meant aftershocks, repercussions. The club would go on without A Horrible Noise, but the band would be a different story without Mr. D.. Annie gave me a chance to think, but I didn’t need to.
     “So wassup my fine fuedin’ friends?” She looked up at Mr. D, and then at me again. “Let me guess. Count is heartlessly determined that the show must go on... and you Dear D want to come and live with me.” She smiled sweetly. “You boys have a show to do tonight. I know you ain’t got much time, so lay it on me. Let me judge your quarrel. I know ya’ll boys can’t never see straight between ya.”
     It was dream time at the Funny Farm. Mr. D told his story about his passion for finding Josie, and about the problems in the Mother-Ship. Then he related his dream and his interpretation. Annie listened
and squeezed him and then stepped back from both of us. She was in over her head... we always were. I had an epiphany and realized this was why she had left the band years before.