"ONLY, USUALLY WE DON'T remember the dream, so all we get is this kind of vague sense that..."
But this time he did remember.
He'd had the dream only two nights ago.
He had come into the liquor store, just like this, only he hadn't stopped.
This guy—this guy he'd never seen before, in the stupid yellow headband, with the metal in his nose and the same torn shirt—this guy had looked up as he came to the counter and asked what he wanted.
And, for some reason, in the dream, he had changed his mind. It wasn't clear, in the dream, just why he had come in, in the first place, but instead of doing whatever he had planned, he had just bought a pack of gum.
Morris shook his head, trying to clear his brain. The dream was back, now, in his mind, almost as strong as the present moment.
The clerk looked up at him, and Morris couldn't tell which clerk it was—the clerk in front of him or the clerk in the dream.
And then he remembered his conversation with Barry again, only this time it was different.
The dishes were still dirty, but Barry was smoking one of his detestable French cigarettes, even though he knew full well that Mildred hated them. He'd grinned his sarcastic grin and leaned forward in his chair.
"Okay, Morris. Let's hear it—no! Wait a minute. Maybe we should get someone down here from the Times."
"Yeah, Barry. Hilarious. But I still think I'm right. You know that experience you sometimes have, when you think you've already seen something before, when you're just seeing it for the first time?"
Barry tapped his ashes onto a plate.
"It's called déjà vu, Putz. It means 'already seen', right?"
"Well, I think that sometimes we have dreams about things that are going to happen to us..."
Barry shook his head.
"That's not it."
"...and then, when the thing actually happens, that's when you get that feeling."
"Nope. I'll tell you what it is. I saw this physicist on TV. He was talkin' about this quantum mechanics stuff—you know, all this weird crap about electrons and that—and he said that every time an electron has a choice to go here or there, it doesn't make it."
"I'm not talking about that, Barry. I'm talking about déjà vu. I think we just don't usually remember the dream, so all we get is this feeling ..."
"Listen and learn, hair brain. This electron doesn't make the choice, because, at that moment, the universe splits into two universes, see? In one universe, the electron turns right, and in the other it turns left. This scientist guy said that the whole world's like that. Every time you or I make a decision, the universe splits into two whole different worlds..."
"This has nothing to do with my theory, Barry."
"That's 'cause your theory's crap, kid. So there's these two worlds, see? And I'm in both of them. And they're right next to each other, and so much alike, especially at first, that I can still resonate with this other world, like two guitar strings."
He took another puff on his cigarette.
"And that, Putz, is your explanation. You think you've seen it before because there's this resonance between these two worlds in your brain."
Morris shook his head again, and tried to focus on the clerk's face. A French cigarette? Where did that memory come from? Had it been part of the dream?
He stepped forward to the counter, and suddenly knew why he had come in.
Another memory—Al, in the alley, thrusting the gun into his hand.