Tom Waits in Drag, or, How Passive Resistance Landed Me in a Garbage Dumpster

I’m not sure what combination of pills I took last night to help me sleep (I’d had a dreadful headache all day, darlings, and nothing seemed to be working) but whatever it was, it gave me fantastically strange and wonderfully weird dreams. They say that dreaming is where your subconscious resolves conflicts, but if my dreams are any indication, I’d say that there are some conflicts that are just beyond resolution. Let me piece together what I remember into a narrative for you, darlings.

It all began with my boss — let’s call him Mr. Shankly, because of that one time he invited me to go to a Poetry Slam with him, and my reaction was that of Morrissey in the song Frankly Mr. Shankly — I didn’t know you wrote such bloody awful poetry.

I was at work, writing something wonderfully witty, when Mr. Shankly stuck his head halfway through my door and asked if I’d like to go see Tom Waits.

I hesitated, wondering if I was being asked on a date, when he saved me by calling out down the hall, “C’mon everyone, we’re going to see Tom Waits.”

“What, now?” I asked. It was only two o’clock in the afternoon.

“Yes, now, come on, quickly or we’re going to miss it!”

I found myself in a dark theatre, waiting for Tom Waits to come out on to the stage, and for some reason, I was sitting alone, even though I’d come with at least three other people. I didn’t recognize the theatre at first, but soon enough, it began to become familiar, and I realized I was sitting in my high school auditorium. Tom came out on the stage, only it wasn’t Tom Waits, unless Tom Waits had begun to add a drag show to his act. He sang like Tom Waits, only he was wearing a bright red — like Ronald McDonald red — wig, and matching lipstick, and was wearing a tuxedo jacket and shirt but in stead of pants, he wore fishnet stockings, which made him look kind of like an ape in drag.

“This isn’t Tom Waits!” I complained, and suddenly I was surrounded by other people, where I’d been alone a moment earlier.

“Shhh!” someone said. “It’s not Tom Waits, it’s Tommy Bates. Master Tommy Bates, Burlesque Queen.”

Admittedly, that made a lot more sense, but then I was confused about why I was there, and why my boss had brought us there.

“Excuse me,” someone said, tapping me on the shoulder and pointing across the room, where I could see my boss and two co-workers sitting. “Is that your boss over there?”

I nodded.

“Well, he’s awfully mad at you.”

“What did I do now?” I thought out loud, and made my way over across the room. Master Bates had left the stage, and was signing autographs.

When I reached my boss and two co-workers, they were sitting uncomfortably and making Cross-Stitch banners.

“What’s going on?” I demanded to know, and my boss immediately got in my face and started shouting.

“We’re not here to watch some concert, you know! We’re here to make posters!”

“Out of Cross-Stitch?” I asked, bewildered.

“Yes, out of Cross-Stitch,” he replied. “Did I not copy you on that email?”

He had not, in fact, copied me on that email, but that was sort of Mr. Shankly’s modus operandi, so I was not surprised. I was surprised, however, when he took me by the arm and asked if I wanted to fight about it.

I put my arms up and said there was no way I was fighting him.

“You’re my boss! I’m not losing my job over this!”

“What if I wasn’t your boss, huh?” he goaded me. “What then?”

“Well, then I’d kick your ass. Because you’re an asshole!”

He pounced on me, and I didn’t resist; I just kept my arms up and kept repeating that I was not fighting, I was not fighting. He jabbed me in my ribs and knocked the wind out of me, and I just kept doing my best Gandhi impression and engaged in passive resistance. I was not going to fight back. Then he grabbed me by my hair, and started to drag me outside, and I watched in horror as one of my co-workers, a timid Indian woman who wouldn’t say fuck if she were being double penetrated by a couple of well hung porn stars cheered him on with hoots and hollers and a string of profanity that would make the Countess of Arcadia blush.

He dragged me by my hair across a field of long green grass toward a big yellow garbage bin, and together, they lifted me up and threw me in, and closed the door on me.

I woke up, so angry and so convinced that this actually happened, that I began to prepare what I was going to say to my boss’ boss about his behaviour. It took maybe fifteen minutes for the anger and anxiety of the dream to fade — I wasn’t ready to go to work this morning, for fear of facing my boss and co-workers after what they’d done to me.

A while back, I wrote a lament about not dreaming – how I missed it. Be careful what you wish for, darlings. My dreams, of late, have been far too convincing, and I’m worried my mind is playing tricks on me as payback for messing with my brain chemistry, both with prescriptions and other illicit substances through the years.


23 responses to “Tom Waits in Drag, or, How Passive Resistance Landed Me in a Garbage Dumpster

  1. Tom Waits is into performance art now? Cross stitch is a required job skill?

    Please let me know when you figure out that medication combination. i would rather dream like that than try to remember if I slept or not.

    (really though, if you are having a series of vivid, weird dreams then I hope it calms down for you soon)

  2. I dream vividly even without meds. In color, with sound, and even smells. It’s not always a good thing.
    I hate waking up angry at someone for something they did in a dream. I’ve been known to punch a boyfriend or two because of that.

    Tom Waits. YES. Tommy Bates? I have no clue.

  3. I have the occasionally fucked up dream, but I’m never able to hold on to them after I wake up. I wish I could because they’d make EXCELLENT blog posts, as this one did.

  4. I had to read this twice. My head is spinning. And you didn’t even get to see Tom Waits. That’s some bullshit, right there.

    You want me to rough your boss up for you? I don’t care if it was only a dream..he’s still an ass.

    • RIGHT? Not even in my dreams do I get to see Tom Waits. Though I DO get to see Spoon next weekend, and I just found out I might get to meet Amanda Palmer (yeah, you know I’m going to give her my book)

  5. I dreamed an entire Tuesday once. The most boring Tuesday imaginable. I got up, went to work, came home, ate dinner, went to sleep. I was beyond livid when I woke up for real and discovered it was, in fact, still Tuesday and I’d have to do it all over again. It was like Groundhog Day only without the groundhog, Bill Murray, or, y’know, ANYTHING else of interest.

  6. So were you still pissed when you got to work? Cause even if they don’t know what they did in your dream, they still need to be sorry.

    I occasionally have a dream that my husband cheated on me or fell in love with another woman. It really messes me up for a whole day. I’ll be pissed at him and he totally doesn’t understand why I’d get so worked up over a dream. So I just spend the day making him apologize and do extra nice things for me (in a non-crazy non-psycho bitchy kind of way)

    • ” (in a non-crazy non-psycho bitchy kind of way) ”
      Of course, darling. I believe you.

      I was, actually. I ignored Sari all day (the lovely Indian woman) because every time I looked at her, I remembered her cursing at me in my dream.

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