December 10, 2006

Helicopters Hovering at the Hall

I was heading back to Nanuet, from Troy. My car had been reasonably packed up. I had a lot of electronic stuff in the car. A few friends asked if I wanted to stop by the “Troy Music Hall” which was in Albany. It was dusk as I arrived in Albany, and I wanted to leave because I was expected at home soon. I pulled into a spiral shaped underground parking garage at the place I was going to. I was almost at street level as I parked. I walked into the street and around the block because I thought my friends were there.

Night was falling rapidly. One of my friends said, “You didn’t tell anyone what was in your car, right?” I said, no, why would I have done that? He said he just wanted to make sure because it was a bad area. That made me want to have to pee, so I stopped, found a recessed stairwell leading to a ground level apartment, and peed right on someone’s door. No one noticed though. We all started walking back towards the music hall.

As we walked back, we were picked up by another friend in a helicopter. Everyone else in the helicopter had automatic weapons, although I only noticed the CAR-15 in particular. The helicopter was also piloted by a PlayStation 2 controller. We were flying around Albany and the police were trying to follow us with little success. Somebody said they were thirsty, and the helicopter was then flown into a grocery store. As it neared the drink rack, I volunteered to get a bottle of soda. I got out of the helicopter and jumped onto the tile floor in the supermarket. I grabbed a bottle of soda, but for some reason, the helicopter had flown back outside into the parking lot, so I ran back out into the parking lot to catch the chopper. As I did, a white woman in her 50s, wearing a grey fleece, tried to stop me, and I laughed at her. She grabbed my arm, and I grabbed the helicopter’s landing bar, and at the moment we started to ascend, I pushed her back to the ground. The helicopter then took off. The police were chasing us, but because people had guns, they were shooting from the planes.

I was back at the music hall now, dropped off at the main entrance to the parking garage. I started walking in, but there were lots of people blocking the way. I didn’t have to ask what was going on because it was obvious there was a freestyle rap battle taking place. Except it was planned, and there was security and a crowd. I tried to get to my car, and a security guard asked to see my ticket. As I explained that I didn’t have a ticket, he grabbed a red sharpie marker and put a slash-mark on the back of my hand. Then he let me through.

I was trying to find my car in the garage, except the garage was confusing me. I felt like I was drugged. I ran through the sloping, square, dirty white tile and cool white fluorescent lit hallways that spiraled around the building. There was actually a second concentric ring, but it was for maintenance only, and it was dark, and I didn’t go down that way. I went down three levels and hit the very ground floor. There were people on the very ground floor, and they were standing around miscellaneous cars and debris. I said I was looking for my car but they said they hadn’t seen it. So I started going back up, figuring I had missed my car. I saw my car through a reflection in a glass door, but when I opened the door, I was inside the building. Then I couldn’t go back into the garage.

I was on the second subbasement floor, I knew that much. The architecture inside was amazing. The rooms were mostly a muted peach color with old wooden hardware everywhere. The doors had arched tops and some had angled tops, especially when they were jammed into corners. I walked through a library and some guest rooms where there were people discussing poetry and music. They asked me to stay, but I said I was running late. I walked through a series of two wooden doors and back into a stairwell that took me to the first basement level. Again I thought I saw my car through a glass door, this time even seeing the dirt on the treat of my brand new snow tires, and when I opened the door, the car was nowhere to be found. This time I didn’t let myself walk through the door and have it lock behind me.

I went up a flight of stairs and was now on the main floor. I ended up waltzing into the backstage area. This led me into practice spaces, dressing rooms, back hallways, and catwalks. I was then even more seriously disoriented than before. I ended up on the top balcony and overlooked the empty but soon-to-be-filled music hall. I left and walked through the plaster-walled and oak-trimmed 1900’s style hallways, and moments later I was in the expansive dressing room, lit with cool blue hued light, watching performers get into costume. I couldn’t figure out how to leave. I walked through a door marked EXIT and it took me into another hallway; this is where concert patrons were waiting. As I walked out trying to find the exit, feeling convinced I had finally made it, I heard a girl call my name: “Peter?”

I turned around and saw a blonde, brown eyed girl, just about my height, and as I turned around I noticed her eyes were dead set on me. I said hello, but I couldn’t remember her name. She said, “It’s been a while!” I said it certainly had, but I didn’t know at all how long it had been. She asked if I was staying for the show and I said I couldn’t because I was already running late and trying to leave. She started walking away backwards asking, “Did you manage to decide on a career?” I said yes, in Information Technology. She laughed and said good luck, still walking backwards. Then, still looking dead on at me, she said in a hushed tone, “At the xerox machine…”

She turned and walked away briskly. I followed her, and she ended up walking to a set of stairs and up to the fourth floor. When I made it up as well, I was distracted because I saw a costume rack with all kinds of police uniforms on it, and I wanted to take one. I didn’t take one because I wanted to find this girl, but then by the time I came to my senses, I couldn’t find her. I walked in circles trying to find her. After a moment, she found me and said, “Don’t worry there’s a consolation prize.” She started walking away again and went into an open elevator. She hit the button to take us to the 7th and top floor. The elevator was slow.

Looking at her again I couldn’t help but wonder where we had met or what her name was, but I didn’t ask. She got very close to me and with her face inches from mine, asked if I wanted to stay for the show.

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