THE SIN CITY (1:1:4:31)

Last night, I had a dream. I'm in a room where the walls have recently been painted black, I can tell because of the obvious smell of fresh paint. What color the walls may have been before my arrival, only God and Satan know.

On these walls there are light switches. The normal light switch you would find in your room. The light switch that you flick on without even realizing it because by now you've been doing it for so long that it's second-nature. The only difference is that these switches are about ten times bigger than the normal-sized light switch, and a little bit more white.

I start to walk up to one in hopes of flipping it on so I can light up this room, but as I walk closer and closer I notice there is writing above the switch, as if it's the switches title. When I get close enough I can finally read it, the word "Hate" has been written here in red. A few feet to my right, there is another switch, and that one is titled "Love" and has been written in green.

A few more feet to my right there is yet another switch, and this time I can't read the word, but I can tell that it's in yellow. As I continue to look around, I realize there are hundreds of these switches, and as I pass by each one, they are all titled uniquely, the ones I can read anyway. The only similarities are that some are in red, some are in green, and the others are in yellow.

"Murder." "Jealousy." "Friendly." "Sacrifice." "Indifference." Those are five words that I pass by on the walls. Eventually I come up to the switch titled "Anger." I think to myself that if I turn this switch on, someone or something, maybe even perhaps myself, will become prone to the anger disease. After a while of thinking I convince myself that I am already angry, and that this switch is suppose to be on anyway, so I flip it on, and I immediately find myself outside in a city full of life.

People, cars, music, lights, yelling. I start to walk and after about ten yards I notice that the people who I am passing by are looking at me funny, but I don't know why. I walk for a few more yards and this continues, people looking at me strangely as if I am not one of them. As if I am not their kind.

Finally I look down to see if there is anything wrong with me, and I realize I have a bandage around my mouth. I look behind me and I notice pieces of flesh and my teeth have been falling out behind me. I cover my mouth, my bandage, and I walk into a store and head for the bathroom. How I know exactly where the bathroom is remains a mystery, but I walk into a stall and I stand there, trying to figure out what I will do next.

After a few minutes I hear the bathroom door open, someone walks in. The person begins to talk, they begin to speak about how the project needs some kind of loop function. Then I hear another voice, a different voice, a voice that says the only way to integrate a loop function is by stressing a single point.

They start discussing how this single point would be the basic function and main center of the loop function. How the project itself will perceive it as either birth or death, when it's really one in the same. How one will perceive the action as "going away from" and another will perceive it as "coming towards to." They say that with this point, the beginning and the end is merely an illusion.

I open the stall door because I want to see who these people are, and when I finally do all I see is a figure that seems to have a white light casted on it, and the other figure is completely shadowed in darkness. They both look up at me, and I realize that the outline of their bodies resemble that of children. The dark figure hands me a composition notebook that is mostly black, and then hands me a black pen. Shortly after, the white figure hands me a composition notebook that is mostly white, and then hands me a white pen.

Opening both of the notebooks I assume they will be empty, but they have both already been filled with words and pictures. When I look back up I see that the two figures are gone, and I notice that something had been written on the mirror in blue marker. "Welcome to the sin city." Las Vegas.

I wake up and I sit on the edge of my bed. The first thing I think about are the switches on the wall, and the titles they were given. Then I remember seeing the words denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, all words we have seen from the five stages of grief. Yellow, red, yellow, red, green.

I walk into my living room, the television is on; there is a part of me that remembers turning it off, I always do, but there is also the part of me that forgets. There is something on the news about past findings in a project called the Human Genome Project, a project that started in 1989 in an attempt to identify and map the many genes in the human genome.

These sorts of things, the human condition, they interest me, so I sit down to watch, but unfortunately that part of the news is ending and once again I find myself watching news about the violence in this city.

Two children, both girls, were victims to a drive-by shooting. The reporter says the shooting more than likely has a relation to the thirteen bodies found earlier this month in an abandoned apartment building, but there is no concrete evidence. Regardless, the police department is furious and has snapped due to the many recent homicides; who wants a higher murder count? The random arrests and police brutality will start soon. Max out the jail cells.

I'm at the bus stop now, waiting for a bus to take me to a department store where I can buy a new shelf for a few hundred homeless composition notebooks. The bus, unlike some other things, eventually comes after such a long time of waiting and takes me to my destination, which is also unlike some other things.

Along the way to the department store, I see black and whites, a name for police vehicles, and they are all over the place. If only the police department had the funds and the man and woman power to do this every hour of every day, crime might move to another city in another state that doesn't have the funds.

Walking through a neighborhood, I see a lot of kids playing in clothes that don't quite fit them right, playing with balls that don't quite bounce properly. Sitting on the steps are the older kids who have seen and done a bit more than the kids who will survive them. The kids who will succeed them. Shouting from the windows of the apartment buildings are the mothers, who are yelling at the little ones to come inside, or to not play too close to the street.

The fathers, they are probably either gone, or too busy working all day, every day, which also means gone as well. Then there are the kids who don't have a mother to be shouted at by, because their mom is a single parent trying to make ends meet. I think of Lynne and her two children, what it would be like if they lived here. I wonder if there was ever a time that they actually did.

At the department store I order a new shelf, a better shelf, and they say they will deliver it within three business days. The night falls and I get on a bus that takes me in a different direction, and I'm finally back home.

As I'm entering the apartment building, I look down at Lynne's flowers, and then up at the Moon that looks as if it's giving its light to these flowers. These flowers, growing in darkness, they remind me of my feelings for Lynne, and then I tell myself that the light from the Moon is coming from the light from the Sun.

I open the door, walk up the steps to the second floor and walk towards my apartment door, and I notice that Lynne's door is slightly open, and I hear two women talking. I can immediately tell it's Lynne and Kathleen, they had met once before because I was gone, and it seems they have met once again under the same circumstance.

I go to her door and knock two times and then open it, believing that I have the right to do so because Lynne only knows Kathleen through me, and I see three women sitting at a table, and they see me and tell me to come in. I greet Lynne, Lynne's mother, Emily, and Kathleen, and they tell me they ran into Kathleen in the parking lot. That they were talking about Joe. I picked a great time to come home.

At the end of the discussion, I learn that Kathleen took the liberty of contacting the landlord and informing him that Joe was in a coma, and if she could take his things from his apartment. With his rent being way overdue, provided she had identification, he agreed, and she was to take his belongings in the following week. That made me wonder what types of things Joe owned. If maybe knowing about his possessions would help me better know the dreamless identity of Joe.

One wonders if it is the things we own that define who we are. Will the behavior of a woman who owns an expensive car differ severely from the behavior of a woman of the same age and background who owns a cheap bike? Certainly it will play some kind of role in something.

The party is over, and I go back home. The phone is blinking red, it has a message. I hear the voice of Kathleen telling me that she was going to visit. Kathleen, visiting, about thirty seconds.

The light stops blinking red, and then I remember the dream I had, the switches on the walls. In particular, I remember that I saw the words lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride in red writing on the wall, and realize that just like the words from the five stages of grief, that these seven words were also from a popular list of words; the seven deadly sins. I start to wonder how many other lists of words I may have unconsciously put in my dream.

There is a knock on my door, it's soft, which means it's probably Lynne. I look through this fisheye view and I see her wearing the same bright green shirt she was wearing before, and for a second I fool myself into believing that I know who she is, philosophically, and even if I can't see other things because this view is so narrow, I at least know I can see her, and understand her. This fisheye love.

These thoughts make me smile, but then she starts to walk away. I forgot to open the damn door. I open the door and she looks back, I say hello. She starts to walk towards me and smiles.

After the general phrases such as "how are you?" and "I'm glad to hear that," she starts to tell me about how her mother was visiting and was going to take Sarah and David with her for a little while so that they didn't have to deal with their father, Silvio. As I'm wondering why she is telling me these things, Mary walks past us.

Lynne says hello, but Mary doesn't reply. Maybe she is still bitter about the parking lot thing. Mary makes me realize how much I hate people and their tendencies. Flip on the hate switch and make me prone to the anger disease.