"Doors and Walls"


"Anyone here got any ideas about dreams? I mean the kind that comes every night, almost."

"Sure, Burl, I get dreams like that all the time. Especially when I'm hungry."

"I don't mean dreams about food, Fergie."


"Yeah, si. I know what you means. I gets them most every night for sure. Womans, lots of womans. Grande, B'eeg womans. Womans w'eeth long hairs, and womans w'eeth short hairs, and...."

"No, Carlos, I don't mean dreams about women either. I mean other kind of dreams, dreams with walls and doors."

"You mean like buildin' a house?"

"Sure, Burl, you're a house builder. Only natural for a fella who builds houses to dream a' doors an' walls."

"It's not like I'm building anything in my dream, just kinda' like standing by them."

"Why don't you tell us about your dreams, Burl. Draw us a picture."

"I'll try, Andy. But it's all kind of vague and all. When I dream it, it all seems so clear. But when I wake up, it kind of vanishes."

"Dreams is like that, sure 'nough. I know when I dream...."

"We know all about your dreams, Larry, let's get back to Burl's."

"Well, they starts out with me being in this big, long room. Kind a like a hallway, like at the County Seat on the mainland. Only this hall is longer, and there's nothin' but doors on both sides."

"Is it dark in there? Or is it all lit up for ya'?"

"Yeah, it is dark, come to think on it. And foggy too. Not foggy like wet, mind you, but foggy like not so clear. Kind of hazy I guess you could say."

"Like the bog?"

"Yeah, like that, only not watery."

"Are the doors opened or closed?"

"Closed. All of them closed."

"Windows on them?"

"No windows. No nothin'. Just these big, tall oak doors."

"Door knobs on them?"

"You know, come to think on it, I never even payed any attention."

"What'cha doin' in that there room, Burl? Anything special? I mean like running or beaten on them doors and the like."

"No, not really."

"You must be doing something. Not just standing there with your hands in your pockets. Are you?"

"Yeah, Andy, I guess that's the way of it, mostly."

"It's somethin' you 'et before goin' to bed. I get the most god'awful dreams when I eats Limburger before I nods off."

"More likely you're comin' down with somethin'. Should oughta' go see the Doc before it gets worst."

"Naw, he's just having a nightmare. I gets them all the time. Give it a while, they'll go away."

"I heard of a guy that had dreams like that. He said it was like fortune tellin, sorta'. Called it pre-ammunition or some such...."


"Yeah, that's what I said. Anyway, he said dreams like that come true somewhere's down the line."

"How could a dream like Burl's come true. There ain't no such place like he told of that I ever see'd."

"They's like pictures of somethin' else. Like a lion means somethin' scary's gonna' happen'."

"Yeah, or a lake means you're gonna' drown."

"What's a bunch a doors gonna' say? A door is a door, an that's all they is to it."

"It's probable just somethin' he 'et."

"How long have you been having these dreams, Burl?"

"Off and on, I'd say, maybe a year or two. Maybe longer. I don't remember them all the time, like I said."

"According to psychiatry, reoccurring dreams have a lot of significance."

"Who's he?"

"Who is whom?"

"This psycho guy you was talkin' about."

"That's psychology. It's the study of the mind and human behavior."

"So what? How's that s'posed to help ol' Burl here?"

"What are you afraid of, Burl? What are you hiding from?"

"I'm not afraid of nothin', Mike. I knew I shouldn't ought' have said anything about my dreams to you guys! I was afraid you'd do just what you're doing."

"I thought you said you ain't a'fear'd a nothin', Burl."

"I don't mean that kind of afraid, and you know it."

"Nothin' wrong with bein' scared, Burl. Worst scared I ever been is when they lobbed a hand grenade in my foxhole. I was plenty scared then, I'm here to tell ya'"

"It don't take no han'granade to scare a fella. My Mother-in-law scares me half to death."

"W'een the Doctors they taked out my appendixes, I was muy temeroso then, you betcha'"

"Well, that's you guys. Besides which, I haven't got nothin' to be afraid about."

"We're all afraid of something, Burl. It's just part of being human. It's nothing to be ashamed of."

"Well, I'm not, and that's that!"

"Doors mean a place to enter, I'm thinking. Like maybe you're supposed to go some place."

"Yes, like maybe you're going to be invited to a big banquet and all those doors means lots of food."

"You and your food, Fergie. Can't you think of nothin' else?"

"Just trying to help, is all."

"Doors don't mean no food. That I's sure of. Sounds more to me like you're s'posed to go somewhere special an' can't because all those doors is locked."

"Or maybe you forgot to remember something. Like maybe your wife tol' you to do something that you forgot."

"That sounds 'bout right, Burl. An' you say there's lots a doors. Maybe there's lots a places you're to go."

"I think the doors mean something else. That doors don't mean doors at all. They's symbols a something different. Maybe got somethin' to do with the war, or your Mother-in-law or the likes."

"It's not his Mother-in-law. He's only got one a those. I think, nohow. Lest he's hiding a wife or two we don't know nothin' about. But you might be on to something with that war idea. That's a scary sit'uation for sure."

"I doubt if it's the war. That's a long time past. And you're too old for any new wars. It's something now, or in the future. Maybe something you're hiding from...."

"I ain't hidin' from nothing, I told you. You're way off kilter when you talk like that, Mike."

"I used to have dreams kind of like that, come to remember. I'd forgotten all about them. It wasn't in a hallway, and there wasn't any doors as I recall. It was just a big box that I couldn't get out of. Oh, yeah, now I do recall doors. They came latter though. I think I was out of the box, but was surrounded by walls. Yeah, that's it. Funny how you forget those thing."

"Well, what happened, Andy? How'd you get yourself out of that box an' all? Do you recollect?

"Um, yeah, I think I do. It was back, oh, about forty years I'd say. I was out of college and Thelma was with me then. Thelma, that was my wife, rest her soul. Anyway, I had all these things to do, all these decisions I had to make. Things like what kind of career I was going into. Where to live, what kind of lifestyle to have. Lots of things like that. Most of them were trivial things, but they pile up on a young fella just out of college. Especially a farm boy in the big city. Thelma wanted to come back here to the Island, and I wanted to make a big name for myself."

"Who won? I mean, which did you do?"

"I won, but by doing so I lost big time."

"So, what about the doors? You was sayin' about the doors, Andy."

"The doors. Well I had all these decision, and all these fears of what...."

"There you go talking fears again. I told you I ain't afraid!"

"Well, I was. Very much so. I had all these thing I wanted to do, and things I should do, and was afraid to do any of them. They were all like locked doors to me."

"Why was you afraid, Andy? I mean, what was there to be scared of? Nothin' scary you told us of so far."

"There wasn't anything to be afraid of. But I was. I don't rememb.... Yes I do. I was afraid of making mistakes. Maybe I might make the wrong move, take on the wrong job and get stuck in it. Maybe I might tackle something that I couldn't finish, or would be too big for me. Maybe I would end up looking bad in Thelma's eyes. That would be especially bad after I took off in a direction that she didn't want to go in the first place. That I drug her into."

"You dragged your wife about, did you?"

"Not that kind of drag, stupid. Andy didn't mean like no cave man. Did you, Andy?"

"No. But I suppose in her eyes it wasn't far different. She wanted to come back here awfully bad."

"Why didn't you? Come back here, I mean."

"My ego, I suppose. My stupid ego. I guess when you're young, you can't see how ridicules it is to feed your ego. Then when your old, and appearances don't matter any more, you see how you've wasted your life decorating a bubble."

"Bubbles, smubbles! What about the doors, Andy?"

"Yeah, Andy, You was talking foolishness again. Makes no sense about egos an' bubbles an' such."

"What's a ego, anyway?"

"It's that college stuff Andy done picked up. Fries your brain."

"I tol' you we was smart for not goin' to school. Didn't I tol' you?"

"Lots of times you 'tol' us."

"The doors, Andy, the doors?"

"Did you ever get through the doors"

"Shore he did. He's here ain't he?"

"Yes, I got through the doors, or walls, I should say. Little by little, I got though them."

"How 'ja do it? Did 'ja kick 'em down?"

"Now I do. If there' something that I'm afraid of doing, I tackle it then and there. I try not to let a wall build between me and it. The longer I wait, the higher and denser that wall becomes...."

"You is ramblin' again, Andy, talkin' nonsense 'bout tacklin' walls and such."

"I see'd them do that on a picture show once. Football players, they was. Tackled walls."

"Was you playing football, Andy? Is that why you was tacklin' them there walls?"

"Not exactly, but close enough."

"So, how'd you do it, tackling them walls and such?"

"Well, I had to start with the little wall first. Then I gain the courage to tackle larger one. Eventually it got so that if I came to a wall, I would break it down right away. It's a very freeing experience. It's what I call, pushing back walls and expanding your horizons. I'm sure there's a psychological name for it, but I don't know it."

"There he goes talkin' about tackling walls gain."

"This chitchat is going nowheres but down. I reckon it's about time for me to grab my hat an' hit the road."

"I'm with you, Elmer."

"You done it again, Andy. Spoil't a perfec'ly good day with all your queer talk."

"Well, did you get anything out of this, Bruce? Did any of it help?"

"Not especially so, Andy. All that talk about walls and all. My dreams were about doors, not walls. But I thank ya' anyways for trying."

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