I knew I shouldn’t have gone out that day. I was not so naïve not to know what could happen. It was a presidential visit to Dallas just a few weeks before the election. I knew security would be at the highest level. I knew that; yet I felt an urge to be there and see what would happen.
Lots of people were gathered to see the president. Being election year and all, and because of the ongoing war, I was expecting anti-war demonstrators. I would likely know some of them from the Dallas Peace Center. I met them there during the months prior to the war in Iraq. I wished I would see them, so we could chat and pass the time. I wasn’t there to see the president, that’s for sure.
But there were no demonstrators this time and no one I knew. That seemed odd, considering the unpopularity of this war. Everyone calmly awaited the motorcade. I knew all kinds of security agents would be there in plain clothes. As much as I wanted to stare at people to determine which were secret agents, I couldn’t. It would look suspicious–especially from someone who looks like me.
After September 11th I knew people like me should be careful in public. I had learned my lesson. On several occasions I experienced people being uncomfortable around me or eyeing me. I even wrote several pieces of satire regarding this issue.
Deep inside I could not blame people for thinking this way though. But I was hoping to be discriminated against in a McDonald’s or Wal-Mart so I could sue the hell out of them. My looks could have come to my rescue at least once! But contrary to my expectations, that had not happened.
I always felt I was a guiltless man on the run, waiting to get caught just to prove his innocence.
I was trying to act as normal as possible. But I couldn’t. I felt sorely out of place. Unlike other times I didn’t see anyone looking at me funny or even paying me attention.
Finally, I noticed someone I knew–Bob. He was in the crowd but not in his police uniform today. We lived in the same apartment complex for more than three years.
Could he be one of the undercover agents? Was it possible to be a police officer and an undercover agent at the same time? Whoever he was, his presence comforted me. Finally I had someone to talk to and make my presence in that crowd normal.
He hadn’t seen me yet otherwise he would have waved at me, at least. Bob always approached me and initiated political conversations. We had a routine; he would make a broad comment and then let me do the talking. Maybe he knew I loved to talk. It seemed he respected my views and I had good reason to talk. He sometimes nodded in agreement but mostly just sat listening.
Now he was standing about 20 yards away from me. I walked toward him enthusiastically. As I neared he suddenly pivoted, grabbed my wrist, twisted it behind my back, and handcuffed me. In a matter of seconds, I turned into a captured criminal. I was so shocked I couldn’t utter a word.
I didn’t know what to say to him as three other men approached us. Now I could see how undercover agents look like. I froze frantically thinking up a good explanation as to why I was there. How could I explain myself to them?
But Bob? How could he arrest me? For what? Bob? This I could not comprehend.
They escorted me into a patrol car. They asked me a few simple questions and let me go. As easy as that. The entire ordeal did not last more than a few minutes.
But I could not let it go. I had to find Bob and give him a piece of my mind.
I wanted to go back into the crowd to prove to everyone that I hadn’t done anything. I wanted to feel normal in the crowd and comfortable–even at an event like this. But more than anything else I wanted to see fucking Bob.
As I approached to the same spot that I was arrested a few minutes ago, I saw the devil standing there as if nothing had happened. As I got closer, I almost yelled at him. “What the f… ?”
“I’m sorry man, I really am. Forgive me please.”
“Forgive you? Forgive what? Forgive you for humiliating me in public like that?”
“When I saw you here today, I could not believe it. It suddenly seemed a dream come true. The nightly news, the sleeping cells, and you know you being a Middle Eastern and all… ”
“Just because of my looks? That’s racial profiling!”
“But it would have meant a lot to me and my career if you really were a terrorist? It would have changed my life. I would have been a hero.”
“But you have known me for almost five years you nincompoop.”
“I told you I was hoping you would be one of them. You! Here! What do you want me to think? That you came here to cheer the president? Come on!”
“Are you saying I should not come out because of my political opinions or my looks? Or maybe both?”
“That’s not what I am saying. The truth is that I had a dream about this last night. I saw that something horrible was about to happen today and I was the only one who could prevent it. And then you showed up here.”
“Oh! You dreamed you would be a hero. You would be on TV every night, get promotions, get famous and then probably write a book, too. All at my expense. Damn you Bob!” Tell me this? Did you see me in your dreams? Did you see my face?”
“Not really, it was blurry. But I saw a Middle Eastern man trying to assassinate the president. And you were here today. What do you want me to think?”
“But we have known each other for five years.”
“Exactly, you were the best candidate for the job. Besides I don’t know any other people like you.”
“What kind of logic is that? Is it my fault I am the only Middle Eastern man you know. I should be humiliated in public because you want to be a hero and hoping I am the one to help you become one?”
Bob Said: “But can you imagine where I would be now if you were a terrorist? You could have been my personal Jackpot.”
I sighed in utter disbelief, “I had a dream too last night. I dreamed this whole fiasco. I saw that I would get in trouble today. Most of the things that happened just now I dreamed last night. But I couldn’t stop myself from coming here, I had to see if dreams come true.”
He threw his hands in the air: “Now you see. This whole fiasco is your fault. So I was not the only dreamer here. I bet you are planning to write this shit, too.”
“Yes, It’s my dream. I can do whatever I want to do with it.”
And he responded: “So it’s OK for you to dream and not for me.”
“But my dream didn’t cause you any trouble? Did it? Your dream could have put me in a real bind here. Don’t you see the difference?”
He continued: “You saw in your dream you would come here and I arrest you? Did you really see me in your dream?”
I said: “No it was blurry, I just saw an idiot cop arresting me for no reason. Obviously we both are dreamers. But my dreams are harmless, yours are not.”
“But you are the writer. You wouldn’t let your dream go wasted. I bet you are planning to write this. Aren’t you? You are going to make the most of it. You see we both have same ambitions. We both want to get something out of this. Each in our own way. I don’t think you are in a position to blame me for anything.”
“Wait a minute Bob! Did you arrest me without any reason hoping I would make a good terrorist?”
Bob replied: “The truth is I didn’t think you were here today to do anything wrong. But that was my dream. I just acted upon my dream. You did the same. So we are even.”
“That is not the point. You intentionally caused me trouble to get you what you want. That is wrong.”
And he said: “Well, you are doing the same thing. You will write this however you want. I am sure you willportrait me as an idiot in your story. You won’t ask for my permission or for my opinion, would you? Besides, my dream is over but your is just beginning. You were not who I wanted you to be but I will be who ever you want. Now you tell me, whose dream is coming true?”