Potty Dog & Dreams of Spinach

I had a dream about the guy over at Flaming Spinach last night.

Not what you think. I was his landlord and the dream was more about the place I was renting. But, first, let’s talk about Potty Dog, since he’s the reason I can no longer write in the mornings.

It always starts at 6am. I wake up around 5:30, even on weekends, because I clearly have deep-seated psychological problems, then spend half an hour wondering why I woke up at 5:30. After that, on a weekday, I have an hour before I have to start getting ready for work and, on the rare free weekend day, about 90 minutes before I give up and start drinking.

In all cases, I try to use that time for productive shit, like watching the third season of Forever Knight. I…I mean, working on my own creative writing because, I swear to you, I have a great novel in me. About giant talking cocks who colonize Venus.

My neighbor, a few months back, got herself a puppy, and she takes the dog out for a “walk” every day at 6am on the dot. You can set your hourglass by her. The walk lasts about half an hour. No problem, right? Except it’s not a walk. It’s half an hour spent jerking the dog around on its leash and trying to keep it on this pathetic patch of grass beneath my window.

Even that’s fine, because I’m on the fourth floor. You can be as crazy as you want as long as you’re outside and four storeys beneath me. But then it gets even crazier. The lady is dragging that dog all over this tiny square and chanting the word “potty.” In what I can only assume is an act of defiance, the dog never goes potty.

So 6am. I’ve got the apartment opened up to welcome the only tolerable part of these warm days before the dreaded tropical DC summer settles in. I’ve finally coped with the fact that I woke up at motherfucking 5:30am. I sit down and start to write and there it is, that calm, monotonous chant: “Potty. Potty. Potty. Potty.”

She’ll do it for the entire half hour, never taking a breath, never changing her tone, while the dog strains desperately at the leash towards the distant woods that hug the Paint Branch (which I’m amused to discover has a Wikipedia page).

Where are those They Live sunglasses when you need them? Because I’m serious about her never taking a breath. If I were to put on those glasses would I look down and see a crazy faced alien looking back up at me?

“Potty. Potty. Potty.” The light, background murmur of my mornings. Every day, I resist the temptation to start filling a five gallon bucket with piss and shit to eventually dump down on her head. There’s your potty!

The dream, which is currently fading from memory and which I was trying to write down this morning when the Potty Dog ruined my day, was one of those vivid, bizarre affairs. I know the Spinach guy outside of Internetland, so it’s not too crazy for him to be a part of it.

In the dream, I purchased an abandoned office building. A specific one, actually, that was part of downtown Silver Spring’s first phase of ultra-gentrification. It’s a building with about eight floors of office space sitting on top of a sloping, six story parking garage. Wedding cake architecture – a soulless block-style building with very distinct layers. It’s the building on the left in this picture though, there, the parking levels are extremely well lit.

The parking levels form a somewhat ominous gaping maw, in the dream. In real life, the building is an active, thriving part of the new downtown Silver Spring but, in the dream, it’s an apocalyptic horror in a run down section of Grand Theft Auto style urban chaos. I bought it for a song and turned one of the upper levels into a groovy apartment which, then, I was forced to turn over to the Spinach guy because (in the dreamworld) I once drunkenly promised him an entire floor of the first high rise I bought in repayment of an unspecified favor he did for my family.

He was happily installed in the apartment with his girl, and all the mod-cons, and a view of the decaying dream city.

It turns out, though, that the office building was quite severely haunted. I was the first to discover this during my regular patrols of the parking levels. I rented out a small section of parking area for a neighboring office building, but you know how those lawless wage slave commuters are. They’d jump the barrier and find a parking place anywhere they could, and I was fanatical about boundaries. I rented out a very specific space and, if I found cars parked elsewhere in the crumbling complex, I’d smash them to pieces with a baseball bat. That’s actually how I spent my days as landlord.

Only two elevators serviced the building – one for odd numbered floors and one for even floors. You operated them by fiddling with a complicated array of switches and levers. The hauntings started with the elevators dinging open in response to mystery calls on deserted floors whenever you were in them. Of course, except for the rented apartment, every floor was a spooky, dark, freak-out zone. The doors always trundled slowly shut as you stared into the unforgiving darkness of an abandoned floor.

The ghosts had just stepped up their attacks, moving from elevator fuckery to throwing shit around, and Spinach was trying to break the lease – much to my anger and dismay – when I woke up, as I always do, like clockwork at 5:27am.

That kind of ruins the story, doesn’t it? What happened? No idea. But I did wake up with a sense of dread. Not only at losing a tenant, but with a knowledge of the pure malevolence that was growing throughout the building. I also woke up with rage in my heart, because fuck those commuters parking on my personal property. If they needed more space, they could rent more space. Ghosts or not, I had to smash those cars and scream down at the streets from the uppermost levels of Spooky Garage.

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