Discover more from Lou Reed's Nephew
E15. The Dream of Lou Reed’s Nephew’s Narrator
It’s enough to make you trust the government, like they’ve been telling the truth all along.
In my dreams, Ulugbek and I sit close together, like astronauts.
“Back-to-back,” I say. “Isn’t it funny?”
“What’s funny?” he says. “Like Soyuz.”
“Union,” he says. “U.S./Soviet joint mission.”
Ulugbek knows all about the Soviet space program. Uzbekistan is like Houston, he says, but in Russia.
“I don’t think so,” I say, jabbing him with my elbow. “This might be the first joint mission between you and us since World War II.”
“No,” he says. “Apollo/Soyuz. 1975.”
We get to Lafayette Street and Houston and steer our hovercraft north. Ulugbek keeps a lookout, manning the brushes, making sure we don’t hit anything. That’s bad but it happens. Innocent people—pets and buildings—beamed to nowhere. I tell Ulugbek to hit the anti-matter engines, but I know he won’t. I’m chattering out of habit.
“Put in ticket,” he says. His eyes meet mine in our rearview mirrors, which are positioned to allow us to see each other as we sit back-to-back. Ulugbek won’t do anything unless I put in a ticket, even in my dreams. He loves protocol because he is Russian, I think to myself, and he is as Russian as a jeweled egg. He looks like what we were led to believe KGB agents looked like growing up. It’s enough to make you trust the government, like they’ve been telling the truth all along.
I send him a ticket with my handheld, and he powers up the anti-matter engines, then the brushes—giant coils of thin fiber that never touch (let alone brush) anything. We glide up the canyon of Lafayette Street outside the co-working space, scrubbing the sidewalk clean and zapping piles of garbage through a wormhole—or something. I’m a certified AM tech but I don’t know how any of this works. Ulugbek knows—his father is an accelerator physicist—but he won’t tell me.
“Too complicated,” he says, even though I’m his supervisor.
Students, here it is all students or tourists, dart out of the way of our little levitating pod with wings. We interrupt their photo shoots and film tests as they try to record the last remaining traces of decay in the increasingly spotless city. The streets glitter like chrome, thanks to our brushes. People don’t mind losing a building or two. I wonder how the students will make art now. Will they even bother?
At Astor Place, the police arrive to clear out the square. They do this every morning at eleven so we can AM the place. Once they’re gone, Ulugbek and I float up in our craft and I tell him to fire up the brushes. He ignores me until I send him a ticket with my handheld.
That’s when I wake up, alone in my cube, blinking under the fluorescent lights.