When a dark-colored sedan slows to a halt beside you as you walk down the sidewalk, and a tinted window powers down, it’s usually not a sign of good things ahead.
Especially not when all you can see inside is a gun barrel pointing out at you, and a face in the shadows that says only, “Get in.”
Such was the somewhat cliched opening of an actual dream I had the other night.
I got in, as instructed, and the grim and leathery-faced man in the passenger seat beside me told me were going for a ride, in a tone that suggested I neither disagree nor ask too many questions.
He was a hit man, hired by some people whose identities he was not allowed to divulge, as that, too, would necessitate killing me.
His working orders were to convince me to sell my website to those people, and to kill me if I refused.
I could see no reason to debate any terms and I was about to agree when he told me I would get two days to think about it.
For the next two days, he sat in a straight-backed chair with a gun in his hand. He put it down only to make meals. He was mostly quiet, seemed to lack any emotions at all, and every once in a while he would hit me, slap me, kick me or verbally abuse me.
Yet, for a few minutes both days, he would let some humanity show through. We’d actually talk a little and make jokes and a tiny part of me came to actually like a tiny part of him, but that’s all beside the point, I think.
Still, I spent more time thinking about him than I did about selling the website. I’d never considered it, and as far it’s value, I figured that was up to the man with the gun to decide.
“What is your decision?” he asked. “I will sell the website,” I responded, suspecting I was going to die either way.
At this point, you need to know two things.
First off, I’ve never really thought about selling ohmidog!, and don’t expect it would be worth much. My website, back when it ran advertising, once brought in a tiny bit of money, but now it operates at a loss. Now it is officially a hobby — because the money-making side of a website, as opposed to the creative side, all involves work that either bores me to tears or violates my outdated journalistic principles. For the purposes of writing this I checked a couple of those websites that profess to tell you what a website is worth, and they estimated $6-$7,000. (Interestingly both of those websites, when you typed their own domain name, in, were unwilling to estimate the value of themselves.)
Maybe it’s worth even more than that, I like to sometimes think. I’m not one to overestimate my worth, or my website’s. But I am a bit of a dreamer and this was, after all, a dream.
Just last week, the company that makes dog food with Rachel Ray’s name on it had just sold for $1.9 billion — and who’s to say her kibble is worth more than my daily writings?
You also need to know now about my fear of large bills, for I suspect it is from those anxieties that this dream sprung. I do not like possessing anything larger than a $20 bill.
The currency-holding part of my wallet is divided into two sections. In one I keep twenties, in the other I keep smaller denominations. I rarely go to a bank anymore, instead getting my cash via the cash back option at my grocery store. I usually get one hundred dollars, insisting on nothing larger than twenties.
On a few occasions, though, they have run out and had to give me fifties. I put those in with my twenties. And before I know it, they are gone. I will struggle to remember using one of them, and I’m unable to recall handing anyone a fifty. I can’t remember ever getting change back from a fifty. Handing over a $50 would be act of some significance for me. Surely I would remember that.
I suspect I unwittingly hand over fifties, thinking they are twenties, and that the cashiers, equally unwittingly, hand me back change for a twenty.
Where else could they be going?
So whenever I have a fifty in my wallet, I am anxious. I have to check on them frequently
Just as I am no high roller, I had no high hopes that my website would fetch big bucks, so I was greatly surprised when, in my dream, the hit man informed me that I was to be paid $2 billion. One catch, it had to be cash.
I signed the paperwork, in triplicate, and he handed me two $1 billion bills. I nervously stuffed them in my wallet, in the twenties section.
He told me I could leave.
Ninety percent of me expected that I would be shot in the back as I left, and that he would retrieve the $2 billion, along with my twenties and tens and such. A small part of me thought, just maybe, despite his cruel streak, he was a man of his word.
Turned out he was. I walked out, through the woods, back to the highway and started hitch-hiking.
It took three different rides to get me home, and during each I worried that the driver would somehow sniff out the large bills held in my wallet and rob me.
But I returned home safely, the bills intact, telling myself that tomorrow I would deposit them in the bank.
Tomorrow came and, even though I had nothing to do, nothing to write and post on the website anymore, I didn’t go to the bank. I kept putting it off. And the rest of the dream was just a series of anxious days each one just like the previous one.
It got to the point that I was checking my wallet every 30 minutes. Are they still there? Should I put them somewhere safer, or will I forget where I put them if I do?
As for investing the $2 billion, that didn’t even enter my thoughts. Nor did how I might spend it.
Eventually, the dream became so boring — just me continuing checking my wallet — that I woke up.
I’m not sure what it means, or what I learned, but the next day I took that check that has been lingering around the house to the bank — a state income tax refund of $25.