Thank you Jinxi.
It is based on a recurring dream I have and the rest is fact. My wife and I are going through a change in life and letting go is part of that. Often anxiety manifests itself in dreams, I thought writing about it might take wind out of its sails. I guess I'll find out the next time I dream. In the mean time I revised the piece with your recommendations.
Chasing Chevy Chase Revised
Word count: 978
There's a passenger train coming. Maybe it's an Amtrak, I don't know. I just know that we gotta catch it and get out of Vegas as soon as possible. We? Yeah I said we. We is Chevy and me. Chevy Chase to be exact, the actor from Saturday Night Live and schlocky 80's comedy fame. Chevy's got a bag of money, a big bag of money with maybe $150,000 inside and it's my mission to get him out of Sin City before he makes the mistake of his life. You see it isn't just the big bag of money Chevy has been carrying around, he's also got a pet monkey and if Chevy gets even close to a card game he'll blow that bag of dough for sure.
"Train will be here in five minutes Chevy," I say.
"Okay Mark," Chevy smiles, but I see that look I've seen so many times before.
I look down that dusty track, see Chevy pacing back and forth, that big bag of money slung over his shoulder and I feel that same helplessness I always seem to feel when I know that Chevy is already making plans. I can see his mind whirling and twirling, formulating excuses to justify what he knows is wrong. It's always the same.
Where is that god damned train anyway?
"I need you to focus Chevy. I need you to tighten your grip on that bag and clear your mind," I coach him.
"Yeah okay," he says, but I'm losing him as he looks toward the casino, the bells and chimes call out to him in their siren song.
I hear the train whistle and I think to myself that maybe this time we'll make it, but I can feel his restless spirit pacing behind me. He has already decided and he sighs . "Mark," he says.
"Chevy no," I almost beg. "Please don't, we need to get on that train."
"Just one game Mark, maybe two, then I'll get on the train." He turns and begins to walk.
I chase after him. I try to grab him, but he is much bigger than me and for some reason I can't get a grip on him. "Chevy please, we need to get on that train!"
He can't hear me, won't look me in the eye. The tables are calling him, the monkey has covered his ears.
I gotta get in that doorway, block his entry and then maybe he'll abandon this mission which is doomed to fail. Maybe then he'll get on that train with me and we will get out of Sin City once and for all. Maybe never happens. I jump in the doorway, the train is arriving and the casino continues its siren song, calling Chevy toward the doom. "Please Chevy, please we have to get on that train!"
He smiles and removes me from the doorway. "I'm sorry Mark, I have to go in there." He pushes past me and I stand there powerless to stop him. He strides into the casino and disappears into the madness of flashing lights, bells and bongs. For a second I see his head bob over the a row of one arm bandits.
And then he's gone.
The train whistle blows and I know that I have to get back to the station. I can't miss that train, I can never miss that damned train to nowhere. I stumble, one foot in front of the other and before I know it I'm on board sitting in my usual seat hoping against hope that Chevy will come to his senses and join me for the ride. The passenger train shudders and we begin moving.
"Goodbye Chevy," I say aloud and as if those words confirm the sheer hopelessness of the situation I put my head in my hands and begin to cry uncontrollably. The tears sting my cheeks, my heart is broken and I feel like I am in complete free-fall. I ball, loosening the hitch in my throat, but it does not give me any type of relief. I close my eyes feeling the click as the steel wheels roll over the rails. We are moving faster now.
I lean over in the seat where Chevy should be sitting and think to myself. Why can't I stop this? Why won't he listen?
I feel like I'm falling now, tumbling end over end like a leaf in a black storm. My heart flutters, the clacking of the train wheels is fading and I feel someone touch my back. I open my eyes and see the glow of moonlight on our bed in its milky wash and I realize that Chevy has once again eluded me. Then I think about my son and wonder how he's doing.
Two years ago he was adrift in a sea of drug and alcohol abuse and it seemed that he would never come back. During those dark days I felt hopeless and afraid. I watched and cried as he fought his way back to sobriety one agonizing day at a time. Three months ago he made his first year anniversary of sobriety and then there was a look in his eye that caught me off guard. He was moving out and I could no longer protect him from the monkey.
He tells me that he's doing okay, he's clean, but I just don't know. There were too many hard days, too much heartache.
In the glow of the evening moon I feel my wife stir and I think about Chevy Chase and that big bag of money.
What did I need that money for anyhow?
"Watch over him Mom," I tell my dead Mother, whom I often speak to after a Chevy Chase dream. "Please keep him safe."
I close my eyes against the indifference of night and pray that my son is safe.