opal diamond (dream sequence – part 67)

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To my knowledge, there is no such thing as an “opal diamond”. This is what my waking mind tells me, and I suspected as much in my dream as well.

For reasons that were never explained, we found ourselves in the mythical Florida town of Opal Diamond. It was in the central part of the state, far from the flash of Miami or the sprawl of Orlando. The town was two blocks long and one block wide, with a single traffic light in the middle and a pair of gas stations on either end. In between, virtually every restaurant, hotel and souvenir shop paid homage to the town’s namesake.

I asked the hotel receptionist if the gem was real, resulting in a disdainful “of course it’s real!” When I asked if I could see it, I was told about a museum in the center of town, which I had somehow overlooked.

The museum was an old post office converted into a gallery of images and exhibits. There were several photos celebrating the history of the town as early as the mid-19th century. My sense was that strawberry farming had once been the town’s chief industry, but that it had been in decline for decades. Conspicuously absent were any photos of the opal diamond, or indeed the diamond itself. When a guide approached me asking if I had any questions, I whispered “I can’t be the only one to ask, but where is the diamond?”

She explained that the precious stone was far too rare and valuable to be openly displayed. It was locked in a safe in the basement of the museum. When I asked if I could go down there, I was told that the area was “restricted”.

After waiting for other misguided tourists to arrive, I quietly walked down the stairs to a windowless, brightly lit hallway with a single open storefront at the end of it. It resembled a bank without tellers and without customers. A man and a woman were seated at a round table in front of the room. I deduced that one was a bank executive and that the other was a security guard. He was armed — and not amused. I tried to disarm him with a clueless tourist ruse.

“I’m sorry — I was looking for a restroom but I’m clearly lost.”

“They’re clearly marked upstairs,” replied the guard. “As were the signs saying that this floor was closed to visitors.”

I knew I was walking on thin ice. “That must be because of — you know — the diamond.”

“That’s right,” the woman interjected.

“So you’ve seen it,” I pressed.

“Of course.”

The guard interrupted. “We’re going to need you to leave.”

“Yes — and again, my apologies,” I said, obediently backing away. “Thank you for your hospitality.”

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