superstore lumberyard & mountain beach house

december 15, 2020

A superstore with a lumberyard in the back. Beyond the hangar bay doors I meet a calico dog. It is very friendly and I give it lots of pets, but I am constantly afraid it's going to get too rowdy and maul me.

I exit the hangar bay doors, back into the lumberyard, and take advantage of a recurring dream feature: Instead of walking, I skip in large low-gravity bounds, feeling very graceful. I can hear the lumberyard kids making fun of me behind my back.

At checkout I run into T. and B. We try to talk about what we've been up to, but we're distracted by the checkout process. After completing my purchase, I realize that I accidentally got AA batteries when I needed AAA batteries. I tell the clerk and they say it's fine, just take them with me and I can exchange them. I also don't need this many; it's an entire jar-full, and they look like probiotic capsules.

I realize that while I'm getting the right batteries, I can shop for a pine-scented candle as well, for the holidays and winter. My mom is shopping for candles too. We're both shopping in the entire unscented aisle; this is a now-rare dream where COVID restrictions do not apply, but there's still some dude occupying the entire aisle of scented candles, with this arms outstretched in either direction, slowly browsing up and down.


Now I'm in the car and my family is on our way to my grandma's beach house, except it is in the mountains. There is traffic on the steep roads. I suddenly realize that, not only did I not exchange my batteries for the correct ones, but I no longer have my original purchase. I must've left them sitting in the aisle, receipt and bag and everything, while I was selecting and smelling unscented candles.

The mountain beach house has the distinct saltwater-damaged scent of a place that has existed next to the ocean for decades. My dad wonders if it's been renovated, as it's looking very clean and new from the outside. Inside is a different story; same old beach house, heavily soiled carpet.

The layout is perplexing. Upon entering we are facing a double-door closet, in a hallway that feels incredibly cramped and narrow. To the right, it opens up into a staircase that winds around a grand piano at ninety degree angles. At the top of the stairs is a porch and what seems like the proper entrance to the house. The closet and grand piano were the courtyard. On the railing of the porch is a pocket-sized bunny rabbit, just chilling.

Inside the house proper now, immediately to the left is a massive keyboard organ in a sunken tiled pit. It belonged to my great-grandmother. To the right are multiple staircases that lead to individual bedrooms, as if they are separate apartments. Straight ahead is a kitchen that I can barely discern because it is unlit and there are no windows.

Further in to the left the house begins to open up. There is another piano, this time a player piano. I can tell that it's a player piano because it has multiple thin CRTs built into it, at eye-level for the player, like some retro car dashboard.

Deeper in, the house naturally transitions outdoors, where there are winding wooden boardwalks above various bodies of water. Walking along one of the boardwalks I find some sort of animatronic display that you can activate with a big button. I press it and the display comes to life: shaky animatronic Zooey and Emily Deschanel are wearing overalls and red flannel, describing the lives of old-timey prospectors. I skeptically begin to say, "wow, this is…" and my sentence is completed by someone behind me, "totally awesome? I know." It's Zooey Deschanel, wearing the same outfit as the display, except she is pregnant.

This draws my attention to the fact that from all directions, on the various shores that the boardwalks connect to, groups of people are filing in. I recognize other comedians. Rich Fulcher from Drunk History does a pencil dive into one of the lakes, still wearing khakis and a white button-up. Some sort of double-booked celebrity gathering is taking place. We thought we were going to have the mountain beach house to ourselves, and we're admittedly pretty anxious, dismayed, and disappointed.

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