I was using my favorite childhood stuffed animal to measure traffic patterns. I forget why, and I forget how it worked, but by putting him in the crosswalk I could figure out… something. It was something that required me to be somewhat far away, because when I turned around to collect him I had to run. A homeless man was about to pick him up and take him as his own.
I run towards him (in this dream, although there is a crosswalk, and the traffic is worth measuring, there is no fear or possibility that running diagonal across an will be dangerous) shouting “That’s mine, that’s mine” but he picks it up anyways and starts to walk away. By the time I get over there he’s made a football move (at least, plus a couple steps) so possession is his.
I tell the man that the stuffed animal is mine and that he should give it back. [Semi/Unflattering Note: in the dream there is a brief second where I contemplate whether I just let him keep it, as a) he’s not got much, but also b) bedbugs and/or lice]. He says the stuffed animal is his. I turn to the food cart that is all of a sudden next to us (it’s a New York style cart– not the fancy kind). “Sir, that stuffed bear is mine. Tell him– you saw me measuring traffic with it before he even got here!”
A note about the bear: it is greyed-white with a knit nose and slightly dour knit expression. It has rounded ears. It sits upright, ish– its head is fairly large for its body causing balance issues– about 12 or 15 inches; its frame is more rounded, powerful, fluffy than your traditional Teddy Bear. Though stuffed soft, the short-fur pelt covering its body has become gnarled over time. It has been sewn up before, evidenced by the thread grain/scar tissue in its side, and at the limbpit. Its eyes are hard plastic: amber under pale black.
The Food Cart man doesn’t waste time. He informs us that maybe he did see me measuring but there’s no way to know who is really the bear’s father, so we should flip for it. I am momentarily outraged but am quickly able to suppress that for the sake of rescuing the bear. “Heads: You’re the father; Tails: It’s someone other” his accent makes it rhyme, and though I do (in the dream) recall Solomon, I still pick heads. [Note: it does not occur to me, or to the dream, that he said that Heads is the winner and Tails was the loser– it was just patter; the result could be either].
The other man is somewhat taken aback by how quickly I am able to decide that I am just going to win this thing back without argument (I decide). He is now beardless and my age plus-or-plus two to five years. He is Pakistani and he is acquaintances with the food cart man who is also Pakistani (in fact, it is actually the opposite– I decide first that the food cart man is Pakistani and the Bear-taker follows suit). He has a heavy, roundish build, but soft. He has stubble by choice, but is no fashionist; his hair cut is a standard men’s haircut. He recovers and chooses tails (by default).
Now, at this point, the food cart man implies that, of course, chances for victory could improve for any customers. The other man orders something, but I can’t understand him. He is a regular. The food cart man then offers to take my order. I bristle slightly at being manipulated this way, especially to determine the outcome of a matter of principal in which I am clearly in the right. I recognize, however, that complaining will get me nowhere. “I will order a sandwich, but I will decide when this is over so I can look at the full menu.” It’s less a clever negotiating tactic (less implying that how much I will pay is contingent on the result) than I realize that I would actually like a sandwich, but can’t see the full menu.
In this world, I roll with the punches and am quick to forgive.
The food cart man does not seem to accept this answer. He suggests, “Perhaps you would like to try the Natural King Burger?” to which the other man reacts poorly. From his upset state I determine that he must have ordered the King Burger, and that the Natural King Burger is one step better. “I will have the Natural King Burger and an orange soda please.” [Note: in the dream I did not order an orange soda, I’m just really thirsty as I’m typing this and could go for one hardcore]. Pleased, he takes my order.
“OK. Best 1 out of 2. Heads or Tails? Whoever wins the coinflip will get the bear!” and with his accent he makes it rhyme. By this time a crowd has gathered and the food cart man is playing shamelessly to them. Meanwhile, I struggle to figure out if what he really means is first to 2 wins, or if it’s a weird way of saying single elimination. Scared at the prospect of one coinflip parting me from my favorite stuffed animal, I shout out a challenge
[Note: since waking up I have forgotten what the first challenge was. Suffice to say, we handle it equally adeptly. [Double Note: the challenge may have been so poorly considered that the other man was equally able to answer truthfully as I was]].
The crowd is packing us in very tightly now. Again, on the cusp of flipping, I yell to my opponent: “What’s his name?” My opponent is shocked and I take the opportunity to deliver an uppercut, “his name is Tackleberry. He was named after the character from Police Academy.” I look around the crowd for validation. There is a stray gasp, one guy seems to get the reference and appreciates it, is smiling. Another probably does but is ambivalent.
“SO what’s his name?!” I demand of the other man. Even in the dream I am shocked at how poorly he handles the question. He stumbles, mutters and ‘er’ or an ‘uh’ and he never gets to answer because I pounce, “If he was really yours you wouldn’t have any problem telling us his name. I said Tackleberry– there’s no way I could pulled that name and have made that up story on the fly,” even in the dream knowing full well that I could have (though I didn’t), “and you can’t even come up with one name?”
At this point it is all but over. Though there are gasps and shouting (of the yeah that’s right variety; more chatter than hostile), and though the contest has yet to end, confident that it has proven its point, my brain drifts away from the proceedings. Slowly, like a crane shot, it raises towards awake.
“We took our heavy revolvers (all of a sudden there were revolvers in the dream) and joyfully killed the gods.”
R.I.P. David Graf 1950-2001