© 2017 City of Broken Dreams
Every story has got to take place somewhere. After all, shit does actually happen, and when it does, its all got to happen some place, don’t it?
So where does this story take place? It could be anywhere, I guess.
Sure, some stories are kind of dependent upon their setting. I mean, look at a book like Alive—it probably wouldn’t of made a whole lot of sense if it had taken place inside of a fucking McDonald’s, right? Or what if Moby-Dick had taken place aboard a Boeing 737? Or if the guys in High Fidelity had worked at a Bulk Barn?
But with some stories—like this one, for example—it doesn’t really matter where it takes place. It could be anywhere, really.
So where should this one take place?
Hmm, let’s see …
How about an airport?
Yeah, let’s say that this story takes place inside of an airport; it’s as good a place as any, the way I see it.
In fact, come to think of it, an airport is actually a pretty fucking perfect place for this story to take place. Because this story isn’t just one singular story. No, it’s made up of a couple different stories, about a bunch of different people, their individual lives, and their own unique personal experiences. And you know where there’s a whole lot of different people, from all over the world, from all different walks of life, at any given time? Yeah, you guessed it—in an airport.
Take Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, for example. It’s one of the busiest airports in the world. In one year, O’Hare can have upwards of seventy-six million passengers passing through one of its five different terminals and one hundred eighty-two gates. Yeah, that’s a whole lot of fucking people. Which also means a whole lot of fucking stories too.
Now I’m not saying that it’s all Shakespeare or Dostoyevsky or any of that other high end literary shit. I assure you, there’s gonna be a whole lot of other stories about some really lame, mundane, boring shit too.
Like that one story about that chick flying United to visit her best friend in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for example. You know the one; she’s having a bachelorette party to celebrate her impending marriage to some tall, skinny white dude named Jeff.
Or how about the story about the middle-aged German guy who’s been stuck in Flughafen Hamburg for the last three hours because he missed his flight to Cointrin Airport. Which of course means that he’s now going to be really fucking late for his meeting with some middle-aged Swiss guy to discuss some business deal involving an ostensibly sweet piece of real estate in the Rive Droite.
Okay, maybe I’m being a tad bit harsh.
Maybe this bachelorette party is going to be an absolute fucking rager of a soirée [and maybe this Jeff dude is a really interesting, multifaceted kind of guy (although, I really kind of doubt it—I mean, his name is Jeff for Christ’s sake)].
And just maybe this real estate deal is going to be a really lucrative investment for the German guy, and is going to serve as the first domino in a domino effect that will ultimately and monumentally alter his life in the most fundamental of ways.
But here’s the thing: I really don’t give a shit about those stories.
Nah, just not my cup of tea, is all.
And the reason why? Because those stories aren’t Broken Dream stories.
And how do I know this? Because I’m the damn narrator here, that’s why. And if anyone is going to know a Broken Dream story when they hear/see one, it’s going to be, trust me.
So what is a Broken Dream story, some of you might be wondering.
Well, that’s a little bit tricky to answer, I’m afraid. Because to be quite frank, what makes a Broken Dream story a Broken Dream story is kind of ambiguous. Yeah, yeah, I know: a total fucking cop out answer, right? But I’m sorry, I just can’t help it. And it’s not like I’m intentionally trying to be cagey or overtly enigmatic here; but the thing is, the defining characteristic(s) of a Broken Dream story is something that can’t be easily lumped into one convenient or easily identifiable category or classification.
Kind of like the movie Pulp Fiction. Yeah, that really righteous Tarantino flick where Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson are shooting the shit about hash bars, Quarter Pounders with cheese, and foot massages while on their way to bust a few caps in a bunch of guys’ asses.
So, on the surface, Pulp Fiction kind of comes off as a straightforward genre movie, right? It’s got a pair of bad ass hitmen wearing black suits, a restaurant stick-up gone wrong, a boxer on the run for refusing to take a dive, a dark-haired femme fatale with a penchant for nose candy—hell, the movie is even called Pulp Fiction, for fuck’s sake. So Pulp Fiction is obviously just a really good crime flick, that could also be sub-classified within the film noir genre, right?
Anyone who knows anything about film—or art, for that matter—should clearly get the fact that Pulp Fiction is not just a straight up crime movie. Sure, Tarantino was obviously heavily influenced by—and tipping his (Kangol) hat to—some pretty specific film genres and different genre conventions, but trust me, Pulp Fiction is so much more than just a simple crime flick. And as cliche as it might be to say, in the case of Pulp Fiction, the whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts.
Which is kind of like a Broken Dream story. Not that I’m saying I’m about to drop some seriously high caliber shit on you that’s on par with the same level of awesomeness as Pulp Fiction. Not even close—because that would be pretty fucking presumptuous and pretentious (i.e., douchey) of me, wouldn’t it? But what I am trying to say is, not unlike Pulp Fiction, the Broken Dream narrative that you are presently being introduced to kind of defies genre classification, and should ultimately be greater than the sum of its parts—or so I hope, anyhow.
However, if at this juncture you still feel as if you may require further elucidation on the topic of what constitutes a Broken Dream story, then I’m afraid that I’m not going to be of any greater assistance to you—yeah, yeah, what can I say; I’m a dumb, shitty narrator (i.e., not of the third person omniscient variety), and I probably shouldn’t quit my day job. Whatever.
That being said, if at any time you do find yourself becoming lost or disorientated among the potentially vertiginous pastiche of images, thoughts, feelings, and complex human behavior that is interwoven within this Broken Dream story, then please allow me to give you this hopefully helpful last piece of advice: Always remember where you are.
No, stupid; not in your [fill in literal blank here].
Okay, now try again. This time, think less literally and more figuratively.
That’s it, now you’ve got it! You are a visitor to the City of Broken Dreams.
So, whenever in doubt, all you need to do is just remember what Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics said all the way back in 1983 (and yes, try to imagine that rad synth riff as you do):
Who am I to disagree
I travel the world
And the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something
Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to get used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused
Eurythmics. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of this).” Sweet Dreams (Are made of This). RCA Records, 1983.