I was on some kind of eerie plain. Or maybe it was a plane. It didn’t much matter. All I knew was that a well-dressed, kindly woman was offering me peanuts and club soda, a shimmering source of nourishment and comfort in the cold, indifferent expanse of tall grasses. Her soothing alto voice cut through the stillness and the silence. Her fulvous hair was pulled into a tight bun, an ardent and unwavering fist resisting the tyranny of open spaces.
It astonished me how lost I was. It had been only a day earlier that I’d found myself in a tired, windblown town that boasted the world’s largest freight rail classification yard but only one saloon. The town bored me--I failed to find its local color charming, or even acknowledge it. I suppose my predicament a day later was punishment for my carelessness.
I stared intently up at the woman with my one good eye, so as to distinguish which way was up. The monotony of the landscape was playing tricks on me. The sky had assumed the same colorless color as the earth. The woman was wearing a smart navy blue uniform that flattered her figure. The wings pinned to her chest said “Caroline.”
The peanuts were dry roasted but did little to curtail my plight. The club soda couldn’t remove the stain of cocksureness and self-deception from my left ventricle. Caroline meant well. She was perhaps the purest distillation of good intention but she too began to blur and fade into the formless ether. My vibrantly colored reference point had become dull and dimensionless. I spit in vain like an avalanche victim to get my bearings but my thin, impotent saliva hit my face and the ground simultaneously.
“Welcome to Tomorrow,” said the pilot over the intercom. “The local temperature is desolation.”