I was walking down a dusty small town street in some North African setting… everybody was Arab and dressed like they do in Morocco. I had some strong concern about money, though I can’t remember what it was exactly – I think I had to change some traveller’s cheques or get some sort of bank paper stamped, and it was worrying me because I thought they would be closed. Eventually I went into a small store that I thought was the bank or financial services place, but it was very chaotic inside and I wasn’t sure what line to get in. I came to realize it was actually a betting parlor, and people were all trying to place their bets on these obscure races or competitions, I didn’t know what. Somehow I was lead down a narrow wooden staircase into a dimly lit room with a low ceiling, and everybody was gathered around watching two young American kids playing pool. They looked like kids that I went to school with, the “cool” kids that I was never friends with and that tended to sneer at me. I came to realize that everybody had a great deal riding on the outcome of this game, including myself – if the game didn’t turn out correctly, my papers or cheques would be worthless. I was extremely anxious and angry because I hadn’t intended to risk my wellbeing on a stupid game of pool played by children, and couldn’t understand why I was in this situation, why I couldn’t just get my papers stamped as usual. But the atmosphere in the room was very tense and silent as each teenager took their turn, and I saw that there was nothing I could do but wait.
(Paul included the text above with the object. It describes the dream he had, which the scrimshaw illustrates. For more details about Paul, these objects, and how they ended up with me, click here!)