We got married in my sleep. She turned out to be a burden and I was sorry for tying that matrimonial knot. I anticipated years of discontent, a nagging wife, unappreciative kids, and a dog who didn’t give a damn as long as he was fed. Full of dread, I resolved to do my best to make my commitment last.
Morning came, and to my surprise, I was alone in my bed when I awoke. Still a single man, I thought. I had my morning coffee and opened my e-mail where I found a Dear Joe note from the bride in my dream. I knew it was a sign sent by a benevolent power as a gift to set me free to pursue other dreams I might have. Someday, because of the needs Mother Nature instills in every man, I’d marry. But I decided to take advantage of my reprieve and do manly things before the day that I’d be cornered, trapped, and required to tie that knot.
I headed for the Beehive, my favorite bar. I was the only one there besides Red the bartender. “Give me a Miller Beer and a shot of schnapps.”
“Rough night, Joe?”
“I had a dream and need to wash the dregs of it right out of my head.”
“Want to talk about it?” Red inquired like any good bartender. Having a bartender listen to their problems was reason enough to drink for many of my friends.
“Before I get married,” I said, “I want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. After that, I want to travel all 4,000 miles of the Amazon, and explore Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile for lost Inca treasures.”
“Sort of Hemingwayish, huh?”
“Guess you can say that. Give me another beer and a double shot.”
“Ya ever stop to think while you’re on that 4,000 mile trip down the Amazon that there’ll be no bars along the way?”
“I’ll drink jungle juice instead.”
“Whatever the natives drink, that’s what I’ll have for breakfast every morning.”
“I hear there are still head hunters roaming around down there.”
“No problemo, I’ll have an AK-47 to take care of troublemakers.”
` “You think an AK assault rifle will do the job?” Red asked.
The door swung open and a ray of sunshine blinded me as a big man barged in. Every seat in the place was empty, but he sat next to me.
“Name’s Bob,” he said.
After three beers and a few shots, generosity flowed through me. It always did – another reason I knew I shouldn’t drink so much. But what the hell, a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.
“Give me another beer and give Bob here one too.”
“Don’t remember me, do you?” Bob asked in a tone that held a challenge.
“We met at the wedding yesterday.”
“Nobody got married.”
“How could it be a wedding if no one got married?” Bob was starting to get on my nerves. If he got out of line, I’d kick his ass. It didn’t bother me that he stood six inches taller and weighed fifty pounds more than me. I had drunk enough to feel my beer muscles grow, and once they swelled to capacity, I felt like Superman.
“You were supposed to marry my sister.” Bob stood up with an aggressive grimace on his face.
I had been taking so many drugs lately to keep me awake while I drank, I didn’t know who he or his sister was. “You sure you got the right guy?”
He grabbed the front of my shirt and twisted it until it closed tightly around my neck.
“Yeah, I got the guy who left my sister crying at the altar and he needs a serious ass whipping.”
Red watched and I knew he was thinking if I couldn’t handle this guy, how would I be able to take on headhunters in the jungle? I grabbed a beer bottle, smashed it into Bob’s face, and kicked him in the nuts. He bent over in pain. I kneed him in the face as I hammered the back of his head with both fists. He fell to the floor unconscious.
“Give me another beer. The one I had got broken.”
Red put a frosty cold Miller in front of me. “Guess maybe you’ll do all right against those savages in the South American jungles.”
Blinded again as the door was yanked open, I saw a woman in the doorway backlit by sunlight. She glowed like an avenging angel. It was her, the bride in my dream. “Still drinking I see,” she said and came at me with a knife in her hand and a glint in her eyes.
I backed up and tripped over Bob, who shook blood from his face and then grabbed me by the leg.
“Hold him while I cut off his thing,” the one who looked like an avenging angel said. She must be driven by the devil to want to do something like that. I broke free and ran out the door, and Red’s laughter followed me to the end of the alley where I parked my car.
All the windows were broken and the seats cut into rags. A note hung from the driver’s side visor. When you were about to marry me, you showed up drunk. You said I’d be a burden and our kids would suck. You left me looking like a fool, so this damage is for those terrible things you said to me.
It wasn’t a dream I had, but a nightmare that turned into reality!