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Fermius Firefly

A Dream Log, whenever I remember the dreams I've had.

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Location: San Marcos, United States

Fermius is a pen name drawn from a series of short fiction I wrote when I published the small press magazine Stellanova (on paper.) I play RPG games to escape from my daily grind as a technology wage slave for the state of California. I eat out a lot in order to do my part in supporting our increasingly service level economy. I am butler to 2 feline masters. If you ask them they will tell you I'm not very good at it, late with dinner, don't have enough hands with brushes in them, and sometimes I even lock them out of their office.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Theatric Spirits

              I dreamed of trains with split spirit riders, part of them was on one car and another part rode a different car. Talking to a spirit involved moving from one car to another and trying to get the parts connected.
              Later I dreamed I was in a large dark hall with hundreds of metal theater style seats. The metal seats were black and they had the remains of black and red fabric cushions on them. The sound system was similarly old. I had it working for the first part of a presentation, a lecture of some sort, the topic is now long forgotten. My audio engineer had gone home, ill, so I had run the sound board while calling the light and effects cues.
              I took a break, heading out into the dilapidated lobby for some water and a cookie. I talked with a couple of my lighting technicians and we were commiserating on the delicate state of our electric system when all sorts of strange feedback noises arose from the auditorium. I handed one technician my water and the other my cookie.
              I raced back into the auditorium to find that a couple of young theater board members had taken it upon themselves to re-patch the sound system.
              “What have you done?” I asked, working hard to remain polite.
              “We didn't do anything.”
              “I need to find out what was changed, or it's going to take me a considerable amount of time to trace out what needs to be re-wired, repaired or replaced.”
              “Can't you just make some adjustments to make it right.”
              “Only if it wasn't re-patched.” I reached over and turned the main amplifier off, then turned off the mixing board and adjusted all of the channels to reduce their output gain. I quickly noticed that the back of the board where the inputs were had been re-patched.
              “There are different types of input from the items on the stage. I didn't patch this show, and the engineer who did, didn't leave any notes as to what was patched where.”
              “Does it matter?”
              “Yes, there is a mix of line, stereo, and preamp signals coming from the stage. Not to mention different output assignments for each of the monitor channels. There are also a couple of haunted channels that we try not to use for certain types of inputs.”
              “Haunted channels?” the young board members were incredulous.
              “Not literally haunted, just broken in such a way that you don't use them for women's alto or soprano voices or for high pitched instruments. Likewise there are some channels that won't properly process a preamp signal. There's a couple that won't output to certain monitor channels.”
              We stood looking at one another, they realizing that this was more complex than they'd thought. Me waiting for one or the other to admit to changing things around, or contacting the person who'd changed things. It soon became obvious to me that they weren't going to confess, or lend a hand in fixing the mess. I pulled out my cell phone and started to call the sound designer. The board members stopped me.
              “This is going to cost extra, isn't it?”
              “Maybe not, the designer was supposed to leave a patch diagram for us, and it looks like he didn't, or at least not where I can find it.”
              “We really didn't touch anything. It was all flying around when we walked in here.”
              “Kind of like that,” the other pointed over the short wall that separated the booth from the rest of the house.
              Out in the theater, cables for lights and sound had been unplugged and were waving all over the place. Theater patrons were falling over themselves to get out of the way. I saw an old Fresnel flood dragging across the front row of seats by its cord, which was making snakelike strikes against a young woman who was trying to force the large man in front of her to go faster. I reached for the main power and turned off the electric grid to the stage. The theater was plunged into darkness, save for the modern battery powered emergency lights. I could see several glowing shapes hovering over the stage and the front rows of seats.
              “I think you just found a new advertising slogan.” I noted.
              “What's that?”
              “The most haunted theater in the west.”
              I stepped out of the booth to go negotiate with the spirits. I had the feeling they weren't really happy with the content of the previous lecture presentation.
              “Hey guys, do you prefer musicals? Well that would have been up next, if everything hadn't been unplugged.”
              The wires stopped moving and the Fresnel cord relaxed from around the woman. I helped her to her feet. “I've only got half an hour to get everything back in place. Any idea how I might accomplish that?”
              The board members suddenly burst out of the control booth, shouting that “It's happening again!” I realized that things were being fixed, but still wondered what had triggered this never before malevolent display.
              “I'm not coming back there!” I heard a tinny disembodied voice. I was worried for a moment until I realized it was coming from the cell phone in my hand. As I raised my hand to ask about the patch diagram a part of the front of the stage fell away into the orchestra pit to reveal a very old and probably forgotten sub patch panel. The frayed wires and loose patch cords could easily explain the quirky nature of the sound system. There was even a series of old phantom power units along the bottom of the unit, some still churning away, and some long broken down.
              “Thank you,” I said to the spirits on the stage, “We'll get these fixed as soon as this show makes its bills.”
              “But, we're going to close the theater after this show.” One of the board members whispered in my ear.
              “If you don't shut up about that in here, you won't have to wait.” I told her, understanding what had ticked off the spirits.
              “If I had enough money I'd buy this place myself, it's really got tons of potential.” I said out loud. As I walked away from the board member I spotted a spirit flapping open a door I'd never seen before, a door that had been wallpapered over and sealed for who knows how long. The door lead down two flights of steps and into a practice room. There was no safety light in there, so I had to use my flashlight. The dust covered a mirror and bar, the floor was light brown. An old upright piano whose cover had rotted away sat in one corner. There was another door across the room, which I noted was the same size as our stage. The spirits swirled and dust gently wafted into the air behind them. I opened up the room, it was a small office, complete with old typewriter, fan and waste basket. The desk drawer shivered and rattled. I opened it.
              The deep drawer was filled with silver dollars, the top ones were dated from pre-civil war and were older the deeper into the drawer I looked. Another drawer contained stock certificates, dry and cracked, but presumably still valid. There was another door, and that led to another flight of steps. There was a bedroom and small water closet. A tiny slim window looked out over the garden, half of which had been sacrificed for more parking several decades ago. I'd thought this window just one of several decorative windows along the side of the building, and had no idea this room, or the practice room were even here. Now that I knew, I realized this was the mirror image of the music recital room and what we called the music director's office on the other side of the theater. The entrances were just in a slightly different place. (I'd though the old boilers and such were down here, long sealed off and unused.) I looked across the desk at the glowing spirit forms, behind them was a mirror, brown with dust, but still usable. In the mirror I saw myself with a tophat and tails. Three men stood around me, pointing to the coins and the certificates, and finally me.
              I woke up with chills running up and down my spine.

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