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What happens to the people when we wake up?

I had a dream this morning about a man called Alan. He might be a real person, but he’s not anyone I’ve ever met. He owned nothing except the clothes he was wearing, and his motorcycle. A red motorcycle with Triumph written on the side. He didn’t have a crash helmet.

He didn’t live anywhere. He just stopped by the road when he needed to sleep. He was tall and slim with short dark hair and permanent stubble. He wore a white T-shirt beneath black leathers.

When he needed something – to eat, to drink, to repair his bike – he stuck his thumb out, hitch-hiker style, and, sometimes, people stopped to talk with him. Sometimes they helped.

This was a dream, so odd things happened.

I don’t know how, but Alan appeared on Come Dine With Me: a popular TV show where people go to one another’s homes for dinner parties. Alan had no home.  When it was his turn to host, he got hold of a table cloth (a paper table cloth) from somewhere and spread it on the ground by cross-roads.  Two country lanes crossed paths here. Around them were flat, green fields. Here is where Alan held his dinner party.

But he had no food. To feed his party, he had to stop passersby and ask them to contribute. On this occasion no one would. So Alan and his guests sat around the table cloth and talked. I don’t know what they talked about; I wasn’t invited to the party.

A magpie woke me.

I lay a while listening to the rain – watching the kittens running up the curtains – before thinking about getting up.

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