It was worse than I remembered. I mean, the last time this happened was six years ago; still, it came back with a new vengeance. I woke up shaking and dripping in sweat telling myself “It was only a dream, just a dream, not a premonition.” But what if it was?
The circumstances surrounding the night terror were certainly different than they were the last time but the dream itself had all of the same elements. So let me backtrack….
Before I retired and moved out west, I was a middle school principal. And every year on the night before opening day of school in September, I had the same god-awful nightmare. It was the stuff that would make the most resilient warrior cringe.
I would arrive to the school to find that I was the only adult in the building. Close to 900 screaming, out of control teens and pre-teens were running all over the place. There wasn’t a single teacher, secretary, custodian, nurse or librarian in sight. Just me.
The auditorium was over-flowing with kids and the hallways looked like a battleground in some sci-fi movie. I tried using the PA system to direct students to their classes but it wouldn’t work. The last thing I remembered before waking up was yelling, “Can I have your attention, please?” (Yeah, like that was going to work).
There’s a word for it – anxiety. And guess what? It just returned. You see, I’ve got a terrific book launch and signing coming up this next weekend at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Goodyear, AZ. It’s taken me years to get this far. And frankly, I’ve been a wreck worrying that no one will show up. So it’s little wonder that my newest nightmare went like this:
I arrive at the store to find piles and piles of my novel, Light Riders and the Missouri Mud Murder. The manager tells me that unless I sell all of the books, I will never be able to return to that store or any retail establishment for that matter. And then, the pile of books keeps growing until the whole place begins to look like an Amazon fulfillment center!
And that’s not the worst of it. Turns out, no one enters the store. Absolutely no one! I get up, look at the parking lot for the mall and it’s totally empty. Not a single soul is in sight. I check the calendar and the time. Meanwhile, the pile of books keeps growing and I wake up yelling, “Where is everyone?”
Yep, a new variation of “The Nightmare” has returned. This time with a different twist and I think to myself, “Why couldn’t those 900 kids show up here?”
So…if you’re in the Goodyear, AZ area on Saturday, November 23, 2013 between 1- 4:00 p.m., please stop by the Barnes & Noble store in the Palm Valley Pavillions West on Litchfield Road and McDowell. You’ll help me get a good night’s sleep.