Hands Off Dream


Fig115

In my dream I was engaged in custodial work. My job was to keep a large complex of crumbling municipal buildings clean, which could never be fully accomplished. Everything was brown and cracked and uneven.

Custodial staff was faceless and invisible. We all wore blue paper cover-alls and white face masks, no matter what job we were working. If we finished whatever task we were assigned then we were to report to a low, dingy basement room and mop the floor. When I arrived to do this, there was already somebody there mopping, but that didn’t matter: the point was to keep busy, not to make the floor clean. The floor was raw cement anyway.

I grabbed a mop and got to work. There was a small huddle of young men nearby- not workers, a fact which they were pleased to lord over everybody else in the room with jeering remarks and bad attitude. I ignored them. They didn’t ignore me, though. When the other worker finished his pass of the floor and left the room I was alone with them and one of them became bold.

“Hey, gurl, you got a nice ass.” He told me. Several times. How he could tell this under the blue cover-alls I couldn’t tell and probably wasn’t the point anyway. I ignored this, which just made him bolder: “Hey, I’m tryin’ to pay you a compliment.” He put his hands on me somewhere at hip level. It wasn’t a violation yet, but it was headed that direction.

“Take your hands off of me.” I told him, very calmly.

I grabbed him by his forearms, one in each hand and held his hands away from me. Just held them there. He laughed. His friends laughed.

“Or what?”

“Or you’ll never use them again.”

He gave a jerk, trying to shake me off, not believing that I could do anything about it. With all my strength, I twisted his arms in opposite directions until one arm twisted up his back and the other arm twisted up his front.  His elbows locked and his shoulders bound up. It didn’t take much to hold the pressure on. I had to be very close to do it. I was taller than him. He was very young. Soft. Self important. Helpless. I looked down on his face, his head was arched back, mouth was open in pain.

“Never touch me again.” I told him, to his friends, preparing to give him the jerk that would break bones in both arms. Then I woke up.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on June 1, 2016.

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