There’s a scene in American Gangster that I really like. Denzel Washington’s character, Frank Lucas has breakfast in the same diner every morning, without fail.
I like this scene because Frank Lucas has all the money in the world and continues to have the same eggs and toast breakfast he’s had since he was a peon hustler. There are no fancy brunches or continental breakfasts with Frank Lucas, just eggs and toast.
The consistency of the routine appeals to me. There’s a comfort in starting your day off the exact same way…that Harlem diner is like a sanctuary for Frank Lucas.
Recently, I moved to Astoria and with all the excitement of a new place, new furniture, new burrough…the thing that excites me most is the Lite Bites diner down the street. For $5, I can get eggs, toast, potatoes, and a choice of sausage, ham and bacon. The American Gangster dream is suddenly a reality.
The other morning, I gave it a try. I went to the diner, ordered the breakfast, and had a cup of coffee. $5. I can do this everyday!, and the thought made me inexplicably happy. I can learn the names of all the waitresses, they can know me by name. I won’t even have to order. They’ll be like, Hi Chris, the usual today? And I’ll say, yes Louise, the same. But let’s go with bacon, just for a change. Then she’ll smile and wink at me and say, Sure honey. Whatever you want.
Such an emotion has an impact on my subconscious. And I imagine that it had something to do with the dream I had last night.
In the dream, my family and I were trapped in my parent’s place of business. Outside, Denzel Washington amassed an army of mercenaries to attack our store. His goal was to usurp the business by force.
My family and I did everything we could to blockade the entrance, but Denzel proved too strong. When the door was breached, however, I was shocked and bitterly disappointed to find that my closest friends were complicit in the campaign. Immediately, I realized that they had supplied insider information to Denzel which he then used to defeat our defenses. They had betrayed me and they had come in to convince me to lay down my arms.
They said, Chris…Denzel doesn’t want to hurt you. He wants your business and he promised to let you and your family live.
My response was legendary. In a William Wallace-esque tirade, I tearfully confronted my closest friends exclaiming that Denzel may take our lives, but he will never take our IHOP.
It was an emotional moment that moved my friends to tears. Their shame was complete and my glory was manifest.
And then I woke up.
Are you the type to not only remember your dreams but to know, more or less, where certain images and emotions emanate from? For me, it’s easy.
- My American Gangster fantasy conjured up Frank Lucas who for some reason was hell-bent on stealing my parent’s business.
- Defending the business was a manifestation of my concern for my parent’s financial situation.
- Moving to an empty apartment has me reflecting on loneliness a lot these days. The feeling that my friends had betrayed me and the feeling that I’m suddenly alone for the first time in my life…are one in the same.
- My Braveheart tirade is a reflection of my newfound aggressiveness in situations where I have the moral high ground. California taught me to be non-confrontational. New York has taught me to kick ass and take no prisoners.
I don’t know what compelled me to share this with you. Except to say that I’m alone and have no one to talk to at the moment.