My mother parked; the lot was illuminated only by the tall electric lights, whose light shimmered on the moist, snowy ground. I stepped out of the car, into the frigidness, tired and heavily clothed. I bid farewell to my mother and younger brother, still in the vehicle. They waved back.
The building was university-style, wide and formal. It hugged the parking lot on two sides. I walked towards the main entrance, double doors, tall and wooden. My boots struggled to find their footing.
I slipped, flung my arms out, barely missed a car’s bumper. My head was protected, gratitude to my hood and beanie. Carefully I wrestled myself vertical, stepped forward with prudence.
The doors were only one crossing away, when the piercing glare of a car manifested itself. The driver respectfully stopped. I was planning to walk forward, but instead I fell backward—yes, once more. Draped over me was a sweaty blanket of embarrassment. I was out of air. I assumed a kneeling position, began to push off against my legs, ended up pushing my legs into the asphalt, and I fell again.
I was cocooned in self-consciousness. Supine on the wet concrete, bombarded by weighty snowflakes, I laughed. To confess my agony to the driver, to plead to him or her, “Please have empathy with me,” I laughed. And it would remain a mystery for the rest of my life whether they did or not.
So I made it, finally. I opened the door, and was taken by surprise—dozens of men and women in black shirts, their backs towards me. Some held large cameras or boom mics. Lights highlighted the center of the rug-covered lounging room, where, stood in a circle, was a troupe of Japanese actors.
Suddenly, the audio technician whipped around. He said, “Ah, there you are. We are about to shoot the next scene. Get in frame.”
He ushered me to the acting group. I stood awkwardly, for I was not an actor. From behind I heard the director, I guess, yell, “Action!”
The next moment, the group I had been inducted into was being violently shoved into the corner by the antagonists. Once we were properly confined to our spots, one of the kidnappers talked in Japanese. I understood him to be saying, “So! We have brought you here evilly to ask you this very, very important question! Are you ready?”
“Yes, I’m ready. What’s so important about that?” said an actor in the corner.
“No! That’s not the question. It’s this…In your opinion, what are the tenets of human existence? Starting with you,” the man said, pointing to the smooth-skinned actor next to me.
“Well, gee…I think—I think—love, and kindness…” he said, sheepishly.
“Love?! And kindness?! Bwaa-hahaha! Did you hear what he said?” the kidnapper cackled to his accomplices, “He thinks human existence is about love and kindness!” His buddies cackled too.
I felt bad for the young actor, because I agreed. Though I forgot we were acting.
The villain wiped tears from his cheeks and joyfully sighed. He looked at me. “What do you think?”
Thus I woke up.