My mother took the wheel of the Suburban. It was perhaps the biggest car she had ever driven, at least to my knowledge. From my view in the back seat, I saw her look from left to right, slowly scanning the layout of the driver’s seat, and necessary controls. She had refused to let anyone occupy the passenger seat. There was a long silence, followed by several seconds of inaction.
“Mom are you sure you want to drive, one of us can if you're not up for it,” I offered hoping she’d take the bait.
She ignored me, and began to pull out of the parking space at a snail’s pace. I looked at my father, my brother and my girlfriend in that order, my doubt was on full display. However, their faces seemed resigned to the fact that there would be no stopping her from driving. Slowly and precariously she backed the Suburban out of the spot. This whole process took about 5 minutes.
“Mom, really you seem a little uncomfortable. I can take over--”
“No! David you just sit back and relax I am going to drive!” She checked every mirror two, and three times over, “We had a nice day shopping and now we are going to go get something to eat. And I am going to get us there.”
“Mom you seem a little lost driving this thing. Really its okay. I can do it.” My offer was met with a lecture.
“You know you need to have a little bit more faith in me. Just because I'm old does not mean I can't do it myself.”
Again I looked around at my family members within the car, but they gave no responses. “Alright fine do whatever you want, just be careful.”
My mother’s progress and driving the vehicle was slow. But it was progress nonetheless. A few painstaking minutes of quiet followed wherein my mother continued to navigate the large SUV down each level of the parking structure. I relaxed a bit and began to look at my phone checking a few emails and other menial tasks.
It took only a few more minutes before my concentration was ripped away as I heard the sound of metal meeting metal. I looked up from my seat in the rear of the Suburban only to see my mother finish driving straight through a rolled steel gate.
I looked around at everyone else in the vehicle and if they took any issue with this driving tactic, it didn't seem to register on their faces. “Oh my God! Mom what the fuck are you doing?!”
“Oh David, I figured you'd be upset with me. Don't blame this on me, you know I'm getting older but you let me drive anyway.”
I was livid at the words, but didn’t say so. The car was now stopped, fully outside the gate. As I looked around us it seemed my mother had not only driven through a closed gate, but she also missed the actual street exit of the parking garage, as the vehicle, including as its occupants, were now in a service alley of some kind behind the mall we had just visited.
“Turn off the car Mom.” I heard a dating jingling of keys and the engine was quiet. “Is everyone okay?” I said almost absently as I stepped out of the car.
Surveying the Suburban’s exterior, I noticed some minor scratches around the front side panels. “Ok it doesn't look too bad actually.” I turned to look at the gate, it however hadn't fared too well. The Suburban had made it look as though a bomb had went off from inside, removing it completely from its guides on one side. I took a breath and reentered the SUV, “Okay we need to find the office so we can tell them what happened.”
“I'm not going to do that, we’re going to go eat.”
“Mom, are you kidding you drove through a their damned gate! What’s wrong with you?”
“What’s wrong with you?” she snapped back, “How dare you talk to me this way!”
“Are you insane? You had an accident; the right thing to do is report it.”
“No, I’m hungry- we are all hungry, and we need to eat.”
I turned to my family, and girlfriend, looking for any support, but they were all quiet, Their faces nearly blank as a matter of fact, I took at as no one wanted to pick this battle as worth fighting.
“Sit down and get your seatbelt back on.” My mother ordered, “Just focus on something else if you’re so nervous about my driving. You typically multitask when I talk to you anyway.”
“Ok fine, but after we eat, we come back here and tell them what happened.”
“Agreed. Take a nap or something until we get there, as you might say, with the way I drive it will be awhile.”
I did as I was told. Eventually, I dozed deeply, jostling awake only when we hit a hard bump. Once I got my wits about me after waking, I feared the worst. Dragging my chin up from my chest I asked, “Oh God, what happened now?”
I looked around me and everything had changed. Well almost everything. I was still in the Suburban’s rear seat, but seated around me were faces I didn’t recognize. Three blonde children that were maybe ten to twelve years old had replaced my father, brother and girlfriend. Their blue eyes gleamed eagerly at me, but the looks on their faces showed only distain.
“Who the fuck are you?”
“Hey don’t cuss in front of my kids jerk.”
I looked up to the driver’s seat and my mother had vanished as well. In her place was a rather large man in a t-shirt. The t-shirt plainly showed biceps nearly as big as my head. “Brock Lesnar?”
“That’s right you little weasel.”
“What is going on?”
“Your mother asked me to take care of you.” He spoke to me while driving, but was doing little in the way of watching the road. The children, who I assumed were his, continued to judge me with their gaze.
“Take care of me? I thought we were going to dinner.”
“Oh we're still going, it’s just when we get there I’m going to beat your ass.”
“Hey, language in front of the kids remember?”
“Shut up you little twerp, I’m going to knock you into next week for disrespecting your mom. You should be ashamed of yourself!” The kids nodded profusely for punctuation.
As timing would have it, we coasted up to the front of a restaurant at that moment.
“Oh, I get it, this is a dream.”
With these words the children and my celebrity driver looked at me with confusion. Mr. Lesnar spoke, “What do you mean dream? You’ll be on Dream Street when I knock your sorry carcass out cold.” Mr. Lesnar giggled maniacally at his statement.
“No Mr. Lesnar, you won’t this is a dream and you can’t hurt me.”
“Pshh, you’re rude and nuts. Just how do you think you’re going to beat me?”
“I’m not. I’m going to run away.” Even as I spoke, I clamored forward into the seat ahead of me, over the kids and flung the passenger door open. Stepping on the curb, I began to run, as fast as I could. “It’s a dream!” I screamed back at the vehicle, laughing while I did.
I ran for only a little while before I knew I needed to hide. If Lesnar decided to chase me, it would be a one way ticket to suplex city. Even in dream form I did not want to experience that. Looking around I realized where I was. I was at Westgate, an “entertainment district” in Glendale, Arizona- or at least it was my subconscious mind’s recreation of Westgate. Thinking on my feet I past the first few places I saw, running into a bar there that had a patio on its west side. I thought if I got cornered, I might be able to flee through there.
However, my plan was quickly forgotten. Running through the dining area, I pushed my way through a door with a crash bar and ended up in another service alley. It looked remarkably similar to the one my mother had drove into earlier. “Really? Did most of my dream budget go to securing Brock Lesnar as guest star?”
I looked around, there was no exit. I was surrounded by trash and concrete walls on all sides. “Shit, I’ve got to get out of here! I need to wake up!”
As I was trying to figure how to best do that, a classmate of mine appeared before me. We’ll call him “Will”, because that’s his name.
“David, me and some of the others from school are here, you ok? We saw you run through the bar. You good?”
My only answer, “I need to wake up!”
“Did you have too much to drink?” he asked, edging closer to see if I was alright.
When I shouted, “I know I’ll hold my breath!” he shuddered away.
I had no time to waste to act on my brilliant idea. Immediately, I threw myself on the dirty ground and forced myself to stop breathing. My subconscious did its best to simulate my lack of breath, but I was not fooled. The sensation felt more like a deep clenching in my chest muscles, but I could tell I was still getting oxygen.
However, when I realized it wasn’t working as a method to wake me up, I stood up, now covered in murky trash water and grime from the ground. “Shit!”
In my peripheral vision, I saw Will still staring like I was a lunatic.
“Try something else.” I repeated, “Try something else.” Another thought came; I began to scream, “SAAARRRAAHHH! HEEELLLPPP MEEE!”
My thinking being that I would force myself to scream in the dream-world, and I would consciously begin to cry out in the real world, prompting my girlfriend to come wake me up before Lesnar could reach me.
I looked to the night sky in my dreamscape, waiting for a sign that my technique had worked. But the dream world remained.
“Think of something else,” became my new mantra. If only there were a way out of here, I could escape and no one could find me.
The thought was never even verbalized, but as it came and went in my mind I saw one side of the service area burst open. It started as a warm yellow-orange light, but gradually I could see shapes; a street, flanked by a sidewalk, glowing neon of other restaurant and bar signs greeted me. I saw other people walking within this newly created route. None of them seemed to notice the hole that opened up in the concrete wall in front of all of us.
I looked back at the door that led inside, it was closed. Will was gone, and Lesnar had not busted through while I was distracted.
I smiled and trotted towards the way out.