During my Gulf Coast road trip I had the luxury of sleeping in several mornings, which did wonders for dream retention. Two dreams really resonated with me, starting with my journey to the mythical island of Columbiasia. Located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Columbia, Columbiasia was a lawless island of enchantment that the government had pretty much given up on. The small airport had been destroyed, and the only way to reach the island for tourists was to parachute in from a plane flying over island. Naturally, I did this.
Columbiasia was now run by an American ex-financier named Ben Bratton, who had turned the island into his personal drug kingdom. Rather than run afoul of the U.S government through illicit cocaine distribution, he was engineering incredibly potent new strands of marijuana that he shipped all over the Americas (and once as far as Tokyo).
I met him soon upon arrival. He was a dashing 40-something, and while he seemed displeased at my intrusion, ultimately welcomed the company. We drank tea and discussed philosophy. He was a difficult person to have a conversation with, having seemingly thought through everything more thoroughly than I had. Through his conventionally accumulated wealth and drug money he had paid off the church, the local jefe and the Columbian government, and soon most of the island population was involved in his operation to some degree. It came with free weed, of course, and a stoned population was a nonviolent one.
During my time in Columbiasia Bratton had other visitors, mostly assorted leftists from the New York and California, and after some fun evenings I headed back with a few of them by sea. A few weeks after getting home to New York I received an invitation to a dinner party in Brooklyn, hosted by a man named Johnny Pope.
The location was comfortable brownstone, and it became clear as we sat down together that no one knew why he or she had been invited. At the end of dinner, Johnny Pope emerged and gave his presentation. He was about our age, a shorter man who claimed to work for Ben Bratton. Pope announced that we had been invited to partake in the transformation of Columbiasia. Our jobs would be clean, or, to put in a parlance understood by the circa-30 crowd, something we could put on our resumes.
For example, I and another fellow were offered the positions of setting up and running the Columbiasia healthcare system- my exagerated account of my Liberia expereince was no doubt responsible for that assignment. We’d need to learn to speak the local dialect, but otherwise had carte blanche to set operate things as we saw fit. Others would run the bike program, man the generators, serve as dentists, teach at the schools and so on. The salaries for all would be a flat $50,000 a year, a pay cut for most of us, but a fortune in that part of the world. And no, Pope clarified, we would not receive a percentage of profits. This was not Google, and we were in no way business partners. We were valued employees in the creation of a new order, a mix of island living, Latin Americana, and an industrial grade marijuana economy. I told Pope I was in.
Thus ended the dream. I awoke on a king-size bed in a cheap Gretna hotel.