Bob Dylan’s 126th Dream
Buckets of rain were falling over the MacTweedledeedum links. There was silence apart from the distant drilling in the wall of the clubhouse. Big Jim McTweedle was building another extension to the bar. Bob’s heart was in the highlands but his mind was on the next hole. It was the awkward 15th, where only a lot of backspin could keep you out of the bunker.
He creaked out of his buggy. He’d been riding in that buggy with Miss Mary Jane only last week – where was it she had a house? Kind of gentle she was – kind of like a – fawn, yeah, that was it. A fawn. Innocence of a fucking lamb. Then yesterday. What happened yesterday? She just acted like they’d never met. On her 22nd birthday too, acting like an old maid. Just cos he’d asked her if she could, like, cook and sew and make flowers grow and stuff.
Bob smiled wryly. It always happened, sooner or later. Usually it was when the rain was blowing in your face. You make them feel your love and then, what, they leave you standing by the highway crying. But his love for her had taken such a long time to die. Tomorrow night it would just be a memory. Every nerve in his body was so vacant and numb he couldn’t even remember what it was he’d come here to get away from.
Those long hard years of self-pity were catching up with him now. When he’d been stuck inside of Mobile with only the Memphis blues for company, that had been a life: lost in the rain in Juarez – and that was hard rain, man, not like this Scottish shit. There was Johanna dancing on her leopard-skin pillbox hat. Eastertime too. Or was that Sara? Time passes slowly when you’re looking for love.
Just then a man in a long black coat came up to the tee with a pencil in his hand. Something was happening but Bob wasn’t sure what it was. ‘Mr, er, Frost? Might I have your autograph? I’m a friend of...’
‘You got a lot of nerve to say you are my friend.’
Big Jim’s boys had finally made it through the wall. So they came running in their high viz, shouting: ‘Look out kid, you gonna get hit.’ Then they’d gone with the man in the long black coat, who didn’t look too happy about it. The pangs of his sadness would pass. But he was shouting ‘I’m gonna sue your ass.’
‘Tell me where it hurts you honey and I’ll tell you who to call.’
What good am I, thought Bob. He’d done a lot of bad things. He’d dined with kings – where was that? – and some crazy cat had offered him wings. He’d been to London and he’d been to gay Paris. He’d always been looking to do just one good deed before he died.
Then a man in a trench-coat – that’s a trench-coat, and he had a bad cough and a coonskin cap, so it definitely wasn’t the man in the long black coat coming back again – was running up the fairway.
It was Big Jim with a phone. ‘We got some Swedish cat on the line.’
Sometimes my burden is more than I can bear, thought Bob. They’ll ask me for some collateral and I’ll just have to pull down my pants, and then the cops will arrive on the scene with their red lights flashing, and I’ve been through this movie before.
The line was crackly. ‘Mr Zimmerman we take the greatest pleasure in saying that in the opinion of the Nobel committee you have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction. May I congratulate you on your success?’
Bob reflected. ‘The most outstanding work in an ideal direction’? The words were a meaningless ring. Guess it sounds better in Swedish. Where was he going to keep another damn certificate? He said: ‘There’s no success like failure and failure’s no success at all. I ain’t looking for nothing.’ The Swedish cat sounded kinda put out.
He was never gonna be the same again. Nothin’ for it but to build me a cabin in Utah. Or maybe just play the 15th hole and have a drink with Big Jim.
Then the clubhouse kitchen exploded in burning fat.