Hookey, Parking Fees & Star Trek: TNG

February 1994

I was driving and it was either night, or very early morning. Cork and I were in the car, but when we entered Belmar, John R was in the backseat. I never drove to Belmar so I didn’t know where I was going. Cork said to slow down and when I did, the two of them jumped out of the car and pointed to a beer sign on the third floor of a nearby building. That’s where we’ll be and they both ran off.

Still in my car, I was parked in a cafeteria. Some people were mulling about and they laughed and said that I must park my car outside. I drove around tables and chairs, asking a lot of people to make room, and was finally outside.

Outside there was a flea market or something going on. It was still dark and there was not a parking spot to be found. I drove around for awhile, passing several lots where I could pay $10, but I wanted to find something cheaper or free.

After a few laps, I realized I would have to pay so I pulled into one of the lots. I got out of my car, and the guy, a black guy I did not recognize, said it would be $13 to park. I said no way and asked where else I could park my car. Through the fence of the lot, I saw lots of empty parking spaces, and seeing the direction of my gaze, he said if I park there, the car will be gone in minutes. A passerby overheard this and said it was true. So I reached for my money. In one pocket I had thirteen 50 dollar bills, in the other pocket I had thirteen ones. I gave the guy the wrong pile. He took the money and then locked himself in a small room. I yelled and screamed and demanded my money back but no one listened. Another lot attendant, an older woman, came by and asked me what was going on. I told her and asked her to get the police, and at this request, a crowd had gathered. I didn’t know what to do. I thought about Cork and John in the bar, but I was not leaving without my money.

Suddenly, there was a mob of people gathered around. I still demanded my money and tried to break in but it was no use. I turned around and saw Carl D and Rod G. I guess they were the authorities. I went up to them and they were both surprise that I was not at work, but they laughed it off.

We left there, I did not get my money back. We started walking back towards the center of town where Amuneal was located. I was afraid of being caught playing hookey, but on the other hand, I knew it was a dream so I had no fear. The next thing I know, I’m at the bar with Cork, John and Scott D. A group of girls is also there, I think Liz, Cathy and Caren G, and a few others. It was morning and the bar was packed. I was sitting there at the bar alone and another group of younger girls came up to me and asked if we were going to spend the night here. I said I did not know, and told her we would let them know before we made a decision.

I looked over and saw pool tables and asked if john wanted to play. We entered the game room and saw that both table were being used, but the the right was a fuzzball table. I put my beer on the ledge of the table and went with john to get change.

At the bar, John was waiting for the bartender, when the guy in front of him said, I’m waiting for change as well, would you like to go before me? John said no, its cool, so we waited.

After getting change, we went back to the game room and saw that the guy in front of us was playing fuzzball. After seeing us walk over, he said that he gave us a fair chance. showed him my beer, but he said, yeah, you put your beer right on top of mine. I looked down and saw that he was right, my beer was sitting on top of his.

So john and I split up our change and started the game room. There were no games I recognized at all, but I came across a Star Trek game-the next generation.

It was amazing. It looked like a hologram on film. You saw the circuits and wires and relays and lights, the whole inner workings of it, but the final display was a sight to be seen. I wanted to play but figured it would be 50 cents just for a minute, but I was wrong. On quarter gave you a full one hour episode.

You were Data and had to control every aspect of him throughout the different circumstances of the episode. The control board was very complicated. At the top right were four levers that slid up and down. Each position of the levers, and there were at least 6 positions of each, was a setting for Data’s phaser. The top left section of the panel contained a small joystick and a track ball which I did not know their function. Below that, was a joystick which worked like a normal joystick, except that you could shift it over into another slot for a whole series of new movements. There were four slots to do this with. It looked the shift pattern on a 6 speed race car, there were four ‘H’s laying sideways. This controlled Data’s positronic net. You were to give his brain the right direction upon which to formulate thoughts, give him a train of thought to run with so to speak.

Below all of this, along the bottom of the panel, were two regular joysticks, and a whole slew of buttons. These controlled his physical body-run, walk, kick, shoot,whatever. So I put a quarter in and began to play. As I did so, one of the young girls came over and sat next to me, she was a huge Star Trek fan. By the way, I was sitting on the floor playing because the whole control panel came unattached from the game and feel to the floor. Looking inside the machine was how you could see all its workings.

I put the coin in and it started. I stared at the internal working and all I saw was lights and circuits and the like, until at one point, it all just clicked into focus and it was like watching a movie.

The scene showed a desolate planet with a murky pond in the surface. The camera angle was right at pond level, water occasionally lapping up at the lens.

Suddenly, a huge shadow came into the picture and an object lowered itself into the water to the left of the camera. Most of it was still off screen so I had no idea what it was. The object stopped just above the surface of the pond and suddenly expelled small living things into the the water. It was a huge frog laying its tadpoles.

The girl next to me asked what I was going to do, and I said I did not know. I grabbed the joystick and moved it and saw that it was affecting one of the tadpoles. I swam it away from the bunch and hid it behind a rock near the camera. I then saw, in the distance, the away team of Warf, Ricker and Data. The were dressed in futuristic scuba suits. They were dwarfed by the huge frog

Warf spoke: “I believe this is some sort of amphibious life form giving birth to its young. Apparently, one swam away, and it is this one, we are here to unite with its mother.”

As he was saying this, I was trying tot keep thee tadpole hidden. The away team approached the camera, and there was no way to keep the tadpole out of sight.

I woke up.

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