For Alan Tracy, some dreams are better left unmentioned. Based on (disturbing) events in the original Thunderbirds movie, 'Thunderbirds are Go' and
rated M for mature content. TV-verse.
Author's Notes: this story is based on events in the original Thunderbirds movie, 'Thunderbirds are Go!' If you haven't yet seen that movie, then this
story is unlikely to make any sense at all…
Alan furtively surveyed his surroundings as he slid a hand between the thick velvet curtains at the rear of the bookshop, parting them just enough to slip himself unnoticed through the musty opening and pass silently into the dim space beyond. He let the velvet fall into place behind him as he glanced around the small room, eyes lighting on the gold stars stapled to the walls and ceiling, the patchy glitterwork flickering dully in artificial candle-light.
He felt vaguely…well… ridiculous, as he parked his butt on the chair positioned in front of the small round table, the blue velour catching at the fabric of his jeans as he settled into the upholstery.
Alan rested his hands on his thighs as he waited, his sweaty palms leaving faint stains on the denim of his jeans. He wiped his hands absentmindedly against the fabric, stared tensely at the crystal ball that took centre stage on the small table in front him.
Alan's jaw tightened as his resolve flew the proverbial coop.
What the hell am I doing?
His eyes flew once more to the glitter that sparkled along the walls, roved randomly from star to star, fixed themselves on the heavy curtain opposite him as it wavered in an unseen breeze and a waft of smoke-filled air rushed burning into his nostrils. The muscles of his thighs tensed, elevated his buttocks centimetres from the chair.
The voice entered the room a millisecond before Madam Esmeralda did, floating itself along on a carrier-wave of fragrant incense. And then the great seer herself wafted in, the voluminous folds of her robe drifting ethereally around her as though invisible spirits played in the hem of her skirt and were happily nesting in the flowing rivers of her sleeves.
Alan blinked, felt his spine snap itself ramrod straight as he hovered between standing and sitting, unsure of the formal etiquette involved in fortune telling.
'Remain seated,' Madam Esmeralda said, as though reading the delicate interplay of the muscles beneath his clothing, the indecision that must surely have been visible in the clenching of his jaw.
'Thank you,' he said as the Madam settled herself opposite and busied herself arranging her robes and straightening the gemstones that glittered at her throat. He coughed delicately. 'This is my-'
'First time?' Madam Esmeralda lifted her gaze, a knowing smile quirking the corners of her red-painted mouth.
He nodded, eyes watering in the smoke-filled air.
'Then tell me,' she leant forward, splayed her painted fingernails wide across the table top, 'what you would like to know?'
Alan chewed the inside of his lip and studied her blue-painted talons.
'Your hand.' Madam Esmeralda raised a bejewelled arm and waggled a finger impatiently at him.
'Excuse me?' Alan pressed back hard into his chair.
'Give me your hand.'
He raised a hand awkwardly towards her, watched dumbly as she plucked it out of the air and turned it over like a limp piece of fish, ran her thumb across the flat of his palm and stared hard at the whorls and eddies that turned in endless currents there. 'I see water,' she said at last. 'And stone. And… stars.'
'No!' Alan jerked his hand from her grasp, wiped away the unsettling warmth of her body on his shirt. 'Sorry. It's just…' He looked up, found a pair of dark eyes studying him accusingly, as though he had just slapped her across the face. 'I'm sorry,' he repeated, looking away from the all-seeing gaze and staring at the flickering shadows cast by the crystal ball. 'I had a dream.'
He nodded miserably, studied the moving shadows inside the crystal.
'And you'd like me to interpret it.'
Alan lifted his gaze and looked at her hopefully. 'Can you?'
Madam Esmeralda nodded sagely. 'Of course.' A notepad appeared out of thin air and a pen clattered noisily between her lapis lazuli talons. 'Is this a recurring dream?'
'And how many times have you had it?'
'Four.' He licked his lips. 'Four times.'
'And you find it disturbing?'
'Is it disturbing because of what it's about?'
He slouched down into the chair, felt the blue velour bunching his shirt uncomfortably against his back. 'It's disturbing because I keep having it. And because it always ends the same.'
'I see.' Madam poised her pen over the sheet of paper. 'Why don't we start at the beginning.'
'Alright.' Alan licked his lips again. 'It starts...' He paused for a moment, cast about for exactly the right words. 'I'm waiting for somebody. And I'm wearing a ridiculous outfit.
'I see.' Madam Esmeralda nodded and scribbled on her notepad. 'How ridiculous?'
'Well…it's a tuxedo. But it's hideous. It's all glittery and stripy and rainbow coloured. And I'm wearing a top hat. I can't see it, but I can feel it on my head, so I know it's there. But in the dream I don't mind. I'm just impatient, because she's late.'
Esmeralda looked up from her scribbling. 'She.'
'Yes,' he replied. 'This woman I know.'
'So,' Esmeralda ventured. 'Are you in a relationship with this woman?'
'NO!' Alan clamped his mouth around the shout. 'I mean, no. I mean, I know her, but I don't know her, if you know what I mean.'
She stared at him across the crystal ball. 'But you'd like to 'know' her?'
Alan felt like Goldilocks staring down the Big Bad Wolf. 'Um.'
'If you want my help,' Esmeralda fingered the pen, 'you're going to need to be honest with me.'
Alan let out a heavy sigh. 'Yes,' he said resignedly, 'I would like to 'know' her. But who wouldn't,' he added plaintively. 'She's gorgeous. She's smart. She's…'
'She's older.' There. He said it.
'And how do you know this woman?'
'She's a…' How to phrase it? 'A… a friend of my father's.'
Madam Esmeralda leaned back in her chair. 'Can we pause a moment while I ask about your mother?'
'My mother?' Alan blinked at her uncomprehendingly.
'Yes. Your relationship with your mother.'
'Well, I don't have one.'
Esmeralda's manicured eyebrows met in the middle of her powdered face. 'You don't have a relationship with your mother?'
'No.' Alan shook his head. 'What I mean is, I don't have a mother.'
'Oh. I'm sorry.'
'It's okay,' he said. 'She died when I was born. I never knew her.'
'I'm sorry,' Esmeralda repeated, her eyes grown sad.
Alan shook his head and looked at the stars sparkling on the wall above the Madam's head. 'Don't worry about it.'
She studied him for a moment before returning her gaze to her notepad. 'Well, at least we've solved one problem. The woman you're waiting for in the dream is your mother, and it doesn't matter how well you dress or how good you look or how wonderful you are, because she's never going to come.'
'What?' he spluttered, totally taken aback. 'No! I'm not waiting for my mother! I'm waiting for a real woman. A real woman – and she's hot! And she does arrive! But she's thirty seconds late,' he looked at the Madam stupidly, 'and she shows up in a flying pink Rolls Royce.'
Madam Esmeralda scribbled furiously across the page. 'Do you get into the pink Rolls Royce?'
'Yes. Of course.'
'At this woman's invitation?'
'Yes. The door opens up, and I get inside.'
'And what does this pink Rolls Royce remind you of?'
'I don't know. A pink Rolls Royce?'
Madam Esmeralda looked up at him. 'The Rolls Royce represents the female anatomy. The woman is your mother, and in your dream you are attempting to return to the womb, the last place that you felt safe and loved.'
Alan opened his mouth to protest. Closed his mouth again.
The blue talons tapped impatiently against the table. 'Do continue.'
Alan opened his mouth. 'After I get into the car, we go to a nightclub.'
'Can you describe it?'
'It's called the Swinging Star, and it's in space.'
'In Outer Space, you mean?'
'I'd like to point out that it's dark and weightless in space.'
'And it's dark and weightless in the womb.'
'I am not trying to return to the womb!'
'Alright. Describe the inside of the nightclub.'
Alan's fingers clenched in his lap. 'It's glittery. Shiny. Tinselly and stuff.'
'Were there people in the nightclub? Besides you, I mean.'
'Well, yes, but it was kind of weird.'
'Well everybody except me and Pe – er, the woman, and the band, were in black and white.'
'Interesting. Were any of the black and white people familiar to you?'
'No. Not that I could see. I can't really remember. They were all behind us. And they weren't moving. Like they were statues.'
'I see.' She tapped the pen against her teeth. 'I think the black and white people represent your conscious mind.'
'My conscious mind?'
'That's right. It's frozen with indecision, pushed into the background while your subconscious mind takes control.'
'I'm not sure I'm following you.' Alan inhaled the smoky air. 'I'm definitely certain I'm not following you.'
'Can I ask,' Madam Esmeralda inquired, 'if you have a partner. A girlfriend? Boyfriend?' She looked pointedly at his clothing.
'Girlfriend,' Alan said, painfully aware of the pink flowers on his shirt dancing just out of his view. 'What's that got to do with anything?'
'Is she younger than you?'
He sighed as the answer dragged itself unwillingly from his lips. 'Older.'
Madam nodded. 'Your unconscious mind is constantly seeking the older woman, the mother figure. The womb. It's usurping the wants and desires of the conscious mind, pushing it into the background, where it remains frozen with indecision. You don't even know it's happening. You think these older women are exactly what you want, but you're wrong.'
'Okay,' he slouched further into the chair. 'Say you're right.'
'Oh, I'm always right.' Esmeralda wiped delicately at the corner of her mouth with the tip of her little finger.
'Say you are,' he started again. 'What do I do about it?'
'Tell me what happens in the nightclub.'
'Well…there's a band.'
'Cliff Richard Junior.'
Madam Esmeraldas screwed up her nose. 'Never heard of him. What's he doing in the dream?'
'He's playing a guitar, and singing.'
'Singing? Do you remember the words?'
Alan raised his eyes towards the ceiling. 'I'm not sure.' He hummed a few bars to himself.
'Is that all you remember?'
'No.' He stared down at the velvet tablecloth and began to sing in a small voice. 'A shooting star will shoot you, and Mars will go to war…'
Esmeralda lifted the pad and read the words aloud. 'A bit violent for a love song, don't you think?'
'I don't know, I didn't write it.'
She looked hard at him across the table. 'This came directly from your unconscious mind. I don't know who else you think could have written it.'
'Oh, God.' Alan dropped his head into his hands. 'I'm a basket case.'
'No, no, you're not. You're perfectly normal. Continue. What is the singer doing while the shooting stars are shooting?'
Alan's head remained buried in his hands. 'He's sitting on the Moon, singing, only the Moon looks like a big yellow banana.'
'A big yellow banana,' the Madam repeated slowly.
'Don't say it.' The plea was muffled by his hands. Please don't say it.
'Bananas generally represent the male organ.'
There. She went and fucking said it.
'The phallus,' Esmeralda added, to drive the point home.
'It's just a goddamned banana,' he wailed into his fingers.
Madam shrugged philosophically. 'Bananas are never just bananas.'
Alan dropped his hands into his lap.
'So what did the singer do next?'
Alan lifted his head and stared dismally at the wall. 'He climbed a giant guitar.'
'So, when you say 'giant' guitar, just how big are we looking at?'
An image of a giant guitar being mounted by a tiny jiggling singer flashed into Alan's brain. 'Two, maybe three, stories high.'
'And he was climbing it?'
'More like,' the words were coaxed across his tongue reluctantly, 'straddling it.'
'Guitars...' the seer began.
Alan cut her off before she could get her lush red mouth around it. 'Don't tell me. Guitars represent the male organ.'
'Yes.' Madam smiled approvingly at him. 'It's because of the positioning of the instrument.' She leaned conspiratorially towards him and pointed a manicured finger down towards her lap. 'Over the groin, you see. And all the stroking and strumming. It's very sensual, the guitar.' She studied him with a hint of satisfaction before leaning back in her seat. 'And then what happened?'
'The guitar took off.'
'The nightclub is in space, remember? The giant guitar had a giant rocket in it.'
'A giant guitar… with a giant rocket in it?'
'I know. I know.' Alan slouched further down in his seat, rested his head against the back of the chair and stared at the sparkling stars on the ceiling. 'Rockets represent the male organ,' he intoned dully.
Madam Esmeralda laughed. 'Are you beginning to see a pattern?'
'I am.' He closed his eyes as the melodious tinkle of her laugh washed over him. 'I'm a depraved freak.'
If he'd cracked his eyes open for a second, he might have seen the manicured eyebrows jiggling in unison with her laugh. 'Possibly,' she chortled. 'But I prefer to think you're just confused.'
'Oh?' Alan hauled himself upright in the chair. 'How so?'
'It's simple.' Madam Esmeralda looked down the length of her nose as she re-read her notes. 'The nightclub is your unconscious mind, and your unconscious mind is focussed on one thing, which to it is larger than life. The giant banana, the giant guitar, the giant rocketship. These symbols are all very revealing.'
Christ, Alan felt the air around him suddenly grow thick. I'm a fucking basket case.
'And because,' Madam continued, 'you have never had a warm and nurturing relationship with a woman, a maternal relationship, to be precise, you don't know what to do with women. On the one hand, you wish to crawl back into the womb with them and be nurtured, but on the other hand your only desire is to have your wicked way with them.'
Alan loosened the top button of his shirt and swallowed hard.
'The dream is a signal that your unconscious mind is incapable of deciding what you want – do you want a mother or a lover?'
'I believe the woman inside the pink Rolls Royce represents both your father's friend – the mother figure who is a potential lover - and your girlfriend, who is your lover, but also a potential mother figure.'
'The frozen patrons inside the nightclub represent your deepest self – incapable of deciding, incapable of moving your life forward. So you prefer to stay frozen in space, in limbo, so to speak, because it's safe and comforting. Like a womb.'
'And the guitar?' Alan leaned towards Madam Esmeralda. 'The banana?'
'Dear boy,' she fluttered her blue-shadowed eyes at him, 'you may be emotionally frozen, but physically you still have desires. In fact, from the size of the banana and the guitar, I would say your appetites are enormous.'
Alan slumped back against the velour upholstery. 'So what do I do?' Doubt stirred uncomfortably at the edges of his mind. What Madam Esmeralda was saying was true – when it came to women he didn't have a clue!
'Well,' she winked at him over the top of her crystal ball, 'we haven't reached the end of the dream yet, have we?'
'No,' he said. Kill me now.
'Well then.' The ballpoint clattered once more against the painted talons. 'Proceed.'
He shook his head. 'One minute Cliff Richard Junior and his band are playing, the next minute we're leaving the nightclub. I'm standing at a curb in front of the Rolls Royce –'
'The pink Rolls Royce?'
'Uh-huh.' Madam nodded and scribbled hastily on her paper. 'Where is the woman?'
'Well, she's beckoning me into the car.' Alan frowned. 'But also not.'
'What do you mean?' Esmeralda paused in her scribbling.
'It's like… the car…' Alan struggled to find the words. 'The car is drifting away from me. It's getting further and further away, and I can't get to it because there's this huge gulf of space between us, and she's calling out to me as the car gets further and further away.'
'What's she saying?'
'She's saying,' Alan closed his eyes at the vision of Penelope and the FAB1 floating away from him. 'She's saying "Mind the gap, Alan. Mind the gap." '
'"Mind the gap?"'
'Yes!' Alan vented his frustration. 'Mind the gap! Mind the gap, Alan! Over and over and over again! Mind the fucking gap!'
'And how does that make you feel?'
'Frustrated.' His shoulders sagged. 'Helpless. Like I wasn't fast enough. Like I missed my opportunity. Like the world is passing me by.'
Esmeralda nodded. 'This business about the 'gap' is telling.'
'What do you mean?'
'The 'gap' could simply be the age gap between you and your potential mother figures. Or it could be the gap between yourself and your mother – the pink Rolls Royce, the metaphorical womb that you seek, recedes further and further away from you every day.' She looked at him sympathetically. 'The distance from your mother is insurmountable. To use your own words, there's a gulf of space between you. And you can't find her in a pink Rolls Royce, or in the arms of older women. This is what the dream is telling you.'
'What do I do? How do I stop the dream?'
Madam Esmeralda looked at her watch. 'Stop looking for your mother in places you'll never find her. And,' she fished out a business card and proffered it towards him. 'A little psychotherapy wouldn't go astray…'