The place was the Colleges of Dreams; the hour, nightfall. The alley I took to my dormitory, I knew, went through some of the more lurid territories of the unconscious, but the time it saved me was invaluable. That, truth be told, was an excuse. I was drawn to the things I might encounter on that route, Sphinx or sex goddess, reflections of psyches I barely understood at the time.
On this occasion, though, there was only a man chewing gum, so obnoxiously that it was almost a bigger distraction than the gun he produced from out of his trench coat. I wasn’t able to quickly deduce what the firearm was a symbol for, so it was a danger to me. I stopped. When he continued to unbutton his coat I assumed I had been caught in a power fantasy and he would demand I fellate him. Instead, a child, beautifully brown with curly, dark hair, emerged from the folds of his coat. He put the pistol to the back of the child’s head and said, “Take him with you or I kill him here.”
There is still a part of me that lives in that alley.