Dan had a jacket he wore a lot. He was wearing it the first time I met him. I kept it and another one similar to it, and for months, both jackets sat neatly folded on my closet floor. They were way too big for me, the shoulder seams halfway to my elbows, the sleeves half-again too long. I finally decided I'd have them tailored and asked around for a recommendation. Rome Tailor, someone said. That sounded spiffy. I imagined the tailor would look like an older version of this, and that he'd do a meticulous job remodeling the jackets to fit me :
The tailor did do a marvelous job, but he was Korean. According to the Census bureau, this county is only 7.3 percent Asian. I would imagine that the Japanese and Chinese ethnicities far outnumber the Koreans. Of all the gin joints.
The tailor couldn't imagine why I'd want a couple of not very remarkable cotton jackets altered, so I explained. He nodded rather gravely and had me step up onto a platform and then circled around me, marking out his plan with chalk and pins.
When I stepped down and went to his counter to pay, I saw the array of carved turtles/tortoises stretching across it. Big wooden ones, little brass ones, some made of stone, probably one of jade. I thought of a dream Dan had when he was almost recovered from his surgery and thinking about moving out of my house back into his own place.
In the dream he was in an antique store and spies something he likes: a golden tortoise. What follows are Dan's own words as he wrote them to journal the dream:
"...... I ask the cashier the price of the tortoise. She says "it's a designer piece of (gives a woman's name) so the price is $24,000. I smile and dismiss the idea..
Then I'm in a house, guy knocks on my door. I answer,someone I vaguely know is talking about something and then asks if I know who the vigilantes are the yard. No, I say and I look out to see four good old boys who are sitting in an open car with their seats reclined to the same angle, looking at me and smiling. I know that they are from the store and are there to do me harm. I rush inside, grab the tortoise and toss it to them, cognizant as I go inside that I still have a beating coming. I awaken, eyes wide open scared."
The dream left a very vivid impression on him. He couldn't stop talking about it. He even posted it on Facebook.
We exchanged a lot of texts and talked on the phone a bit as he rode the train back to L.A. that morning. We exchanged some links that might explain the tortoise as a symbol. I scrambled and unscrambled the letters in the words golden tortoise to present a variety of messages. As I recall, the one that got the biggest laugh from Dan was "Lo! Go rt. to Denise. I was, at the time, trying to talk him into continuing to live at my house while he got his chemo and radiation treatments.
So. The Korean tailor. The tortoises.
The same night he had a second vivid dream. Also Dan's own words:
"Dream 2: last night, I'm made aware that I have somehow received a gift of great material wealth. I'm seeing it as a cloak or a curtain, perhaps with valuable coins sewn into it. I accept it with quiet pleasure but go on with another activity, as though wealth was given me every day. Later, on closer examination the cloth seem to be wrapped around me. In fact the wealth beneath the cloth seems to actually be my own body. I awaken."
Now the cloth, the jacket, that Dan wore will be next to my skin. Having it on feels like a sort of wealth.