JIM AND THE LINT DREAM

Jim woke up today after a dream that Sonny Barger, who was the president of the Hell’s Angels in the sixties, had stuffed his mouth full of lint, the kind you see in dryers.  He was about to make sense of this when the phone rang.  It was his friend Tony, talking about a film he had just seen. Jim, Tony said, it was about this guy in Italy after the war. With no money and a wife and two kids, he is desperate for work. He is delighted to at last get a job hanging up posters, but on the condition that he has use a bike for work. No bicycle, no job, his boss says. His wife pawns their bedsheets in order to get money to get his bike out of hock. Then his bike’s stolen by a kid who steals it when he is hanging up a poster. The guy thinks that the cops will take the theft seriously, but they’re not really interested in the petty theft of a bike. The only option is for he and his friends to walk the streets of Rome themselves, looking for the bike. After trying for hours with no luck, they finally give up and leave. He admits to his son that if he isn’t able to work, they will simply starve. Desperate for leads and with his judgment clouded he even visits a fortune teller in the hope that she may be able to shed some light upon the bike’s whereabouts. However, she merely doles out to him one of the truisms that form her stock in trade: You’ll find the bike quickly, or not at all. Feeling cheated, he hands over to her some of the last money that they have. As he walks out of the house of the prophet, he encounters the thief and chases and corners him but he has already sold the bicycle and then the guy’s set upon by the thief’s neighbors while his son slips off to get the cops. Meanwhile, the guy angrily accuses the thief of stealing his bike but the kid denies all knowledge of the crime. When the cops get there, they see the kid lying on the floor faking a seizure and surrounded by neighbors who blame the guy’s accusations for causing the kid’s fit. The cops tell the guy that although he may have seen the kid stealing the bike, he did’nt catch the kid red-handed, doesn’t have any witnesses and that making an accusation is not good enough. With no proof and with the kid’s neighbors willing to give him an alibi, he abandons his cause. He walks away from the house in despair, as the kid’s neighbors follow, jeering at him and reminding him never to come back. The film ends with the guy and his son, sad and let down from what has just happened, walking along in a crowd, leaving us with a dim outlook for the two. Holding hands, they are both reduced to tears. By this time. Jim has forgotten about his dream.