” I had the weirdest dream last night”
The voice over my shoulder had that sad refrain of the sleepless. The morning fog had just begun to lift off the roads and as we rolled out of the mist towards the job site , everyone paused in their own quiet way to wait for the inevitable follow-up to statement now hanging in the air.
When you hire young guys, fresh out of high school, you generally expect some level of naiveté but sometimes it surpasses even my expectations. I had hired Moose on the recommendation of another employee and the kid showed up just as advertised. Big. Strong. Young. Quite literally Moose right out of Riverdale in an “Archie’s” comic book. A huge grin never seemed to leave his face no matter how rough the job or what I asked him to do. His only real issue was how gullible he is.
I could throw my stern boss voice on at any point in time and convince him that they actually sold orange and black striped paint or that I had jumped off a three-story building and survived when really I had simply climbed down a television tower when he wasn’t looking. Needless to say, I was having fun proving that youth was not wasted on the young. The young simply exist for the amusement of those of us seasoned enough to recognize their stupidity.
” Must have been pretty bad if you are still shaken up,” I said in that I’m not really listening but you are literally over my shoulder speaking so close to my ear it entered my brain before I actually understood it way I have when I just want to get my coffee into me as quickly as I possibly can without scalding my throat.
” It was terrible,” Moose said, a haunted tone in his voice actually causing the skin on my neck to prickle a little but it may also have been the fact he was practically breathing down my neck.
” You might think this is weird but I dreamed that a massive tidal wave was rising out off the coast and was going to cover the entire country in water,” Moose continued ” And all I wanted was to get my sisters from school so they didn’t drown.”
A normal human being would have seen this as a shaken kid who had a nightmare and take pity on him.
” How tall was that wave then?,” I asked ” If it was off the coast of Canada it would have had to been over a thousand miles tall to reach us.”
” Can waves get that high?,” Moose responded tremulously, his voice actually wavering.
” Absolutely,” I replied ” Did you see that movie ” The Perfect Storm”? That wave was like ten miles high and all it did was sink a boat. Imagine if it had been higher.”
” I want to be able to sleep tonite ,” Moose said with a chuckle that he was using to brush off what seemed like genuine concern ” The worst part of the dream was the fact that the closer I got to the school, the deeper the puddles got until the streets were full of water and I couldn’t get there.”
I am no dream analyst but clearly the fact his family lived over two hours away and he was basically just a child was effecting him in ways his brain wasn’t coping with. I should have just let it drop but if you know anything about me you know that wasnt going to happen.
” If the wave hadn’t hit yet, why were the puddles so deep?” I asked just to see the puzzlement wash over his face. It was like an artist looking at a blank canvas.
” I don’t really know ,” Moose replied as he ran a hand over his sleep deprived face,” I was just worried about the fish.”
I actually think I hit the brakes on the truck as my feet involuntarily kicked out while I nearly doubled over in laughter.
” There were fish in the puddles?,” I asked between coughing fits of laughter.
” Oh God yeah, but imagine what it would be like if the whole world was just covered in water….,” Moose continued.
” For one thing, we certainly wouldn’t be the top of the food chain,” I replied back trying to get myself under control.
” Imagine how many people would get eaten by sharks then,” Moose said trying to now make light of the whole scenario as grave look set even deeper into his eyes.
” Oh, it wouldn’t just be sharks at that point,” I countered,” Pretty much any fish in the water would become predatory if the whole world was covered in water.”
” Really?,” Moose asked , his voice nearly a whisper. I wasn’t about to try to explain ecology or natural selection or the balance of species to a kid who had spent a generous portion of the previous day trying to figure out why the three pulled pork sandwiches he had powered down for breakfast resulted in explosive diarrhea but I couldn’t let this go.
” We would be the bottom of the food chain, I mean based on the size of you I bet you swim like a sumo wrestler in water wings. Every fish in the sea would take a bite out of you,” I said in as grave a tone I could manage without actually peeing my pants laughing.
” Have you ever eaten at the Mandarin restaurant?,” Moose asked. The sudden shift caught me off guard and I tried to figure out where he was headed with this quick left turn.
” No,” I answered” Is it any good?”
” They have these giant aquariums full of fish in there and I mostly only eat sushi when I go,” Moose replied ” I don’t think I will ever be able to eat there again in case the fish saw me and decided that they wanted revenge when my dream comes true.”