Ray on Books, Dreams, and Drinkin’

by Ray W.
with John R.

(circa March 2002)

J: It’s about, mm, 4:52, Ray says he’s feeling it. Maryland, Uconn on. No, yeah. Maryland 38, Uconn 37. Ray’s in the kitchen. K in and out. Ray has, aa, vodka drink.

R: Strawberry stoli and tonic. What time is it? Four fifty…

J: Whaddya think? Do you wanna, um, I mean, I’ve got a black pen, we can…

R: Do you?

J: Yeah.

R: Well, no. I don’t wanna, I mean you’re using it.

J: Ok.

R: I should, oh, I have one in my bag.

(John makes some kind of motion)

R: Oh, yeah, totally…. I talked to Adam yesterday.

J: Oh yeah?

R: First time since he left. Had a good conversation.

J: Mm.

R: He’s really enjoyin it. He hasn’t, he says he’s really healthy, umm. He’s actually lookin to get some K.

J: Oh, really.

R: He’s like, basically like, random drug test but it’s like every three or four weeks.

J: Mm-hm.

R: So they’re lookin to get something that’s not pot. And it’s funny, because the people that are gonna do something like AmeriCorps are the people that are gonna do drugs, too, in my opinion.

J: Yeah.

R: You know?

J: Yeah.

R: Anyway, he said he’s gained weight, and he’s healthy, he’s learning how , he’s like, “I didn’t even know how to hammer nails.” He’s like buildin stuff.

J: Mm-hm.

R: He says it’s pretty fun.

J: Mm-hm.

R: So it was good to talk to him. He says he might be going over to Amsterdam. But he’s trying to find some way to get cheap tickets. When we were over there, I spent $300 in a week. I mean, granted, I was stayin somewhere. But hostels are like $15 a night, you know?

J: Mm-hm.

R: I haven’t figured out Motorcycle Maintenance yet. It’s probably because I’m only halfway through it. It seems like he says so much. And then today I noticed I’m only halfway through it, and I’m like, “Oh, yes.” Cause it’s such easy reading. Like the point’s…. I don’t know what’s going on. It’s this guy who’s like, he writes technical manuals.

J: Mm-hm.

R: And he’s on this motorcycle trip with his two friends and his son. And he keeps referring to this guy called, um, Phaedrus. P-h…like Greek thing. And supposedly this guy, like, lived in the fifties. What I think it is is that the narrator was this person. And he got electroshock therapy, but he doesn’t remember it but he kinda does a little bit, ya know?

J: Mm-hm.

R: And he was, like, cause like, the son will reference like, “You used to teach here.” Type stuff. And so like, I don’t know the whole deal yet, but like, it’s basically, like, this guy’s journey. Like, he’s a philosopher and doesn’t know it type of thing. And he feels this presence, and it’s him.

J: Mm. That’s pretty interesting.

R: And they’re taking this trip, and it’s like a feel-type thing. And then he, at one point he’s like, “That’s why I didn’t recognize these mountains.” Cause he used to come through at night, ya know…and didn’t see ‘em?

J: Mm-hm.

R: But then he’s like, in this classroom. And this was his classroom. And then this chick comes in, and he doesn’t know who she is…and it’s weird, it’s two stories going at once, you know?

J: It sounds a little bit like the Fight Club idea.

R: Yeah. Yeah.

J: Or, I mean—

R: I think I’m going to read The Sound and The Fury next, actually.

J: Really.

R: After reading Alexandria Quartet? Well, I’m not done with it. I’m done with three books now, though. I finished Mountolive.

J: Yeah.

R: Yeah, OK, this is what I was telling Adam. I’m so excited, I’m gonna tell you. The first book, ya know, is about Justine. The author’s eye is L.D. (Lawrence Durrell?)

J: Mm-hm.

R: Well, I found out in the third book his name is Darley, D-A-R-L-E-Y. They never give his first name, that’s his last name, they just refer to him as Darley. Cause in the second book it’s Balthazar. They, ah, essentially—it’s cool ‘cause the second book is basically like, um, the first book edited, with Balthazar’s comments, ya know. So it’s like he gave the first book to, to his friend, Balthazar, who’s a character.

J: Mm-hm.

R: And then, and then, the second book is pretty much what Balthazar said and then what he says on top of it, right?

J: Mm-hm.

R: And the third book is through Mountolive. Which is, he’s an ambassador, a British ambassador. And it’s the whole thing through his eyes.

J: Mm-hm.

R: And the fourth one’s Clea and she’s like, a, a local or whatever and it’s through her eyes. But the third, one, man, it’s the same fuckin story, you know, revolvin around.

J: Yeah.

R: God. It’s unbelievable, man. I mean, you just have to read this shit.

J: Yeah.

R: It’s one of those, it’s one of these, when I’m done with the, with The Alexandria Quartet, I won’t know anyone who’s read it.

J: Yeah.

R: You know?

J: Yeah.

R: That’s the kind of book it is.

J: Yeah.

R: I’d definitely say, it’s the best book I’ve ever read. And I just call it a book, you know?

J: Mm-hm.

R: Cause actually, I can’t find, I was on the internet, and it is impossible to find pictures of him.

J: Oh yeah?

R: Like, I found a couple of younger ones, like he died in 1991, and ah, like, there are just no pictures of him, there are like three of him I found, you know? He’s just such an enigma.

J: Yeah.

R: I have The Black Box, it’s a book. And you know what’s funny is he wrote a book called Pope Joan, and I read a story in my drama class, and one of the characters is Pope Joan.

J: (chuckles a little bit but without any energy)

R: So it totally, like, ties together. Like, and she’s a character. So, I think I need to read Pope Joan. It’s a story about, like, this chick who looked like a guy, who became a pope, and then she gave birth to a kid, as pope. That’s the story in the play. Like, I read this play, right? I’d love to see it. Cause it, cause supposedly, it’s one of these plays, where like, four actors play, like, fifteen people. It’s really cool. And it reads cool, but it’d be, if it was well done, it’d be a cool play to see, probably.

J: So, so you’re, you’re making the, um, link between Alexandria and Sound and Fury?

R: Sound and Fury’s one book with, what, three perspectives? I don’t know, I mean, I’ve never read it.

J: Yeah, it, it has four.

R: Ok. I mean, essentially the Quartet is like that, except that the second one is kind of like the first one, but it’s still through the, like, it’s through the eyes of the first guy.

J: Yeah.

R: But, through the eyes of the eyes of Balthazar. Like, it’s hard to, it’s hard to explain.

J: Yeah.

R: There’s, there’s like, it’s subtle but they’re different, you know? But the third one is just something totally different and that’s what really got me into it. I mean, I liked the second one, but the third one. It’s a good story, after being like this, this goddam love thing, love story, you know?

J: Yeah.

R: Like, that’s what Darley thinks it is. And, like, there’s so much more to it.


R: I didn’t want to call you up, but, ah, the 28th—21st—came around, you know, equinox it. Six months of, ah, 12 hours or more. The vernal equinox?

J: It’s passed, huh?

R: Yeah.

J: Yeah.

R: A couple days ago.

J: Yeah, I didn’t think about it.

R: I told Lynn yesterday, I , I woke up and ah, I got drunk Friday night, I got home at about three o’clock in the morning. I was like, I woke up at five thirty and the sun was fucking high in the sky. I told Lynn, I was like, I thought I was late. Cause the sun was so high up.

J: Yeah.

R: But I wasn’t. I checked three clocks, ya know? I just woke, I wasn’t like tired or anything, cause it was like a nap, you know?

J: Yeah.

R: But like, heh, I thought for sure that I fucked my clock up, my alarm clock up, but I didn’t. Took a nap last night, yesterday. I rolled yesterday.

J: Oh really?

R: Yeah. It was called “The Big Room,” it was a chill roll. Like, it’s not a speedy roll, it’s just like, there’s no like, there’s not as much visuals, but it’s more like, just like…

J: Yeah.

R: Cause we were gonna go see “Monster’s Ball.” But then she told me she got these pills and I was like, “Well,” I was like, let’s see Monster’s Ball on Monday and take these pills tonight.

(It’s Pink Floyd “One of these Days” from the CD Meddle in the background. The part where an ogre-esque voice goes, “One of these days, I’m going to cut you into little pieces!” and then the song speeds up. It’s a period of quiet…)

J: Did you guys do that here, or what?

R: No, her place. I gotta go over there later. My laundry’s all over there. (Chuckles) Yeah, she made dinner.

(More down time)

J: I ran into someone at Office Depot, from one of my classes, who I had never really, really talked to before?

R: Yeah.

J: Grad, grad student. He’s, ah, he’s got a lot of like, literary connections, I guess. An MFA grad student.

(Ray goes into his bedroom and comes out with a small, blue, wirebound journal. He sits down and opens it, looking for the page)

R: Last Sunday I had this dream. (Still leafing through it, finds it) Alright, ahhh. “My name is Lieutenant Colonel John O’Neill and I’m the leader of the underground faction in the U.S. Military. We are resistant, we are a resistance to the standing army’s, uhh, misuse of violence in the world. We soldiers who risk our careers and lives everyday are not rogues. We love the Army and we stand for all the values the Army strives to attain. Last night I caught wind of a beggar, last night I caught wind of a breach in our silent code. We had been infiltrated by some unknown intelligence agency that is no doubt backed by the Pentagon. Our location is deep inside one of the many top secret Army locations. From above it looks like a field of corn, but beneath is a labyrinth of offices and command centers. I’m also part of a task force that tracks dissident behavior in the civilian and military populations. This gives me a unique and powerful advantage over Army regulars. It allows me in my own to stay one step ahead of the authorities. No one knows who I am on either side. I guess it could be said that I am a master of disinformation, and innuendo. It’s important to note that everything I’ve been a part of outside of basic training never officially happened dot dot dot…

J: That’s good.

R: I think, that, uh, the whole premise, it’s a novel. This is a novel idea.

J: Yeah.

R: Right? And, ah, and, and, the theme of it would be like, nonexistence.

J: Mm-hm.

(R hands the book to J and J is reading it, flipping a page or two)

R: You know, like this guy who like leads, on the civilian side, he’s like up and up but he’s so high up that no one knows he exists. And on the other side, he’s leading an organization which no one knows exists. Because, you know, he can’t be seen.

J: Mm-hm.

R: And, and, the whole point, I don’t know, the feeling I got from this dream, was that it was, ah, it was like, it was a resistance within the Army, to, to just fight, like for the values that the original United States Army fought for, which is just protection. Like, that was the, I don’t know, that’s what was in my dream, you know?

J: Yeah.

R: It was freaking weird.

J: Yeah, this is good.

(The music, now on “A Pillow of Winds” can be heard to say “And the night winds die…”)

J: Hm. This sounds prett weird. I had lunch with, ah, Nick Adams on Thursday.

R: Yeah.

J: Gave him some calea. So I’m interested to hear what’s become of that. My sleep’s been all messed up lately.

R: Yeah?

J: Had some bad dreams.

R: Hm. That’s weird.

(Now, “Fearless,” “You see you’d like to see me try-y-y)

J: I had a dream where I was nostalgic for something (clears throat) that I don’t have any memory of. So I thought I, I might have gottens somebody else’s nostalgia.

R: Dude, yesterday on “Enterprise,” they were on this planet and, ah, it was a rogue planet, there was no sun? And there was like this jungle in the middle of nowhere, of the universe? And, ah, they came across these hunters, that were from this planet, and like, supposedly they’re only allowed to hunt four days a year on this planet, you know, that’s all the society allows? And, and, they come across this being that can, ah, that basically is telepathic and can morph into anything that, that you think you’d want to see. So Captain Archer sees this woman, and he’s like, I know I’ve seen you, but I don’t know who you are. And so later on in the episode, he figures out, it’s what he envisioned from a Keats poem.

J: Wow.

R: Ah, a poem that his mom used to read to him, and that’s who she was. You know, and I think that’s interesting that you brought that up?

J: Yeah.

R: Because they totally connect.

J: Huh. Yeah.

R: Like you think it’s someone else’s, but it’s not. You know?

J: Ok. I see what you’re saying. Yeah.

R: Like, you just don’t remember it.

J: Yeah. Hm.

(Fearlessly the idiot face the crowd…smiling…Otherwise a period of silence, guitar from the end of “Fearless”)

R: Do you remember Chris S.?

J: Yeah.

R: Saw him on Friday night.

J: Really?

R: They were fuckin drinkin. They bought some, ah, Glenmorangie. And they were fu— I had, I had a glass but I couldn’t dr—, I couldn’t finish it. I was, I was kinda drunk when I got to Pat’s. We went to this Spanish kid’s place, and like, we were drinkin there and, like, it was two in the morning, and it wasn’t so much that it was late, I just didn’t want to drink anymore, I was gonna have to get up.

J: Mm-hm.

(In “Fearless”, the football crowd chant is playing)

R: But they were fuckin just drinkin it, man.

J: This was at Pat’s?

R: Well, we were at Pat’s. And then we went to this Spanish kid’s place. It was kind of weird. There were all these Spanish people.

J: Where is Chris S.?

R: Well, he went, ah, he went to Dartmouth, I think. But he got kicked out, for a year, he’s on a year’s probation. He can’t come for a year. Sexual harassment or something.

J: Oh, really?

R: So, he got a job, and now he’s in New York for six months. That’s where he’s going Saturday. I don’t know if he’s, like, not going back to school.

J: Huh.

R: He’s set up pretty well, with this job. He’s all into the, you know, the stock market. Him and Adam were talkin about it.


R: Last time I saw you was the night I went out with Stookey, last Wednesday? Did I tell you about that night?

J: Unh-uh.

R: I almost got arrested?

J: (laughs by blowing air through his nose)

R: For drunk walking? Yeah, I hadn’t talked to him in forever, man.

J: Drunk walking?

R: That Wednesday I went out with him. It was probably the first time I got drunk with him in more than a month. We went to Harpo’s. It was me, Stuckey, and Mark W.? And Mark drove. I was out at Stuckey’s. And we drove there, it was like five miles away. And, like, Whitney wants to leave, and I’m trying to round up Stucks, and then we end up—like, we’re drunk—we end up taking some shots or something. And Mark leaves? Which is fine, you know? So, the bar closes down and we’re trying to find—I’m tryin to find us a ride home. Cause Stuckey’s fucked up. And Stuckey, like, walks off that way. And I’m like, whatever, you know, I’m talking to these people trying to get a ride home. And none of them are going our way. And I go looking for Stuckey and he’s gone. Right, I don’t have my phone, my jacket, nothin. Cause it’s in Mark’s car. So, I go to Schnuck’s and call four cab companies, and they’re all closed. So, I’m just like, “Fuck!” So I just start walkin. Like, back towards Stuckey, and, you know, I’m a little loose on my toes and shit, and this cop’s coming from the other direction, passes me, turns around, and it’s a chick, and she pulls me over? And, ah, and like, within like two minutes, there were three other cop cars—four cop cars, they like, the chick was cool, but then, like, when the other guys came, like, they put me against the roof of the car?

J: Mm-hm.

R: You know, hands behind the head, pattin me down and everything? And I was like, you know, I’m like, “I’m drunk and I’m walkin to my friend’s house,” you know?

J: Yeah.

R: You know, they were asking me questions. I was like, that’s what I’m doin. And, ah, and they were like, this one dude was a dick, and he’s just like, “Then you can stay the night with us if you want.” You know.

J: Yeah.

R: And I was like, I was like, “No thanks officer.”

J: (laughs)

R: You know? “I don’t wanna go to jail.” So they’re like, “Fine, we’re just gonna leave you here.” And they just take off. And, like, I’m like, so I walk like two more miles. And finally a dude pulls over and gives me a ride home.

J: Uh-huh.

R: I gave him, like, eight bucks. And I get there, and Stookey’s not there. I wake up the next morning, and go home. Stookey calls me the next day, and, ah, he fuckin’ got put in jail. Like not arrested, they just put him in jail ‘cause he was drunk. So, if I woulda gotten thrown in jail I would’ve been in the same cell.

J: (laughs)

R: I was just thinkin that would have been hilarious.

J: Oh, yeah, man, that would’ve been great.

R: You know? To, to get led into the jail and Stookey’s already there, and just be like, “Ohh! I was lookin for you!” You know? I felt like shit on Thursday.

J: Where would this have been at?

R: This was all out at Olive, you know?

J: Ohh.

R: Fuckin West Olive. Way out there.

One thought on “Ray on Books, Dreams, and Drinkin’

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