I lived in this apartment building. The mother of the family next door was a rather nervous, quiet, woman. I met her one night in her dreams. She said she wanted to show me something. It was just getting light out and the rest of her family was still asleep, having dreams of their own. She put a finger to her lips and then brushed aside the clothes hung up in her closet to reveal a secret panel in the wall.

The panel opened onto a passageway that led down several winding flights of stairs. We passed a room where some old grey-haired accountants seemed to be working. One of them stared after us sourly with his bottom lip stuck out. I turned back, out of curiosity, but the woman took my hand and led me on, eager to show me something. There was a giddiness in her eyes, and something in the way that she was tiptoeing down the stairs in her white nightgown made her seem younger despite her lined face and wrinkled hands.

At the bottom of the stairs we came to a balcony. The fresh air and the view hit me all at one. It was a futuristic cityscape, although it seemed as though it were made out of plastic toys. There were brightly colored gizmos and gyros that seemed to operate everything. There were all sorts of sleek vehicles and humming electronic and mechanical noises. It was like a vast living machine or an organism, endlessly interlocking motion and energy.

In the air around us there hung solid blocks of letters forming words that felt like they were attacking us, bearing down threateningly from the sky. Apparently, I wasn’t the only who felt this way. I looked over and noticed the neighbor woman curled up on floor of the balcony. She was shaking and half-hysterical. She told me that it absolute torture for her to keep coming here, but somehow she couldn’t stop. She brought me along because she needed someone else to see it.


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