Memory works in mysterious ways. Time moves forward relentlessly, with no regard for anyone’s well-being. I can’t really tell you how long I’ve been here. On some days, it’s hard to say where "here" even is. My story used to be simple: an American living in the heart of old Europe, sipping lattes and attending preposterous cabarets. But that all changed one day, and now I’m in a world that feels both strange and familiar. My routines remain the same, yet what I see and feel does not.
My vision is plagued by a singular speck of dirt — a black, humanoid shape that moves and breathes with me. This man appears in different places, always wearing his signature black suit. He conceals his identity, but his outline remains distinctly human. After all these years, it’s as if I’m still following him, as if he’s guiding me somewhere. There’s no structure to the madness; he appears and disappears at will. I see him in others and, sometimes, even in myself.
One afternoon, I visited the state opera house, as one does in places like these. I saw him mingling in the background; he sat just a few rows behind me. The performance was odd, out of place. The actors portrayed an illusion of perfect governance, a uniform world where everyone moves according to their assigned roles. A play within a play. Their eyes were expressionless; the orchestra lacked emotion. Everything here lacked emotion.
As I try to capture these events with accuracy, my memory fails me. It all blurs into one dream of floating transport pipes and the man sitting behind me. I could hear his breath howling in my neck. A pressure weighed on my shoulders. He was a constant reminder that I wasn’t home and probably would never return.
You are currently traveling through the 1990s nightmare of Pipedreams. Each narrative fragment in this collection unravels a peculiar memory of a man drawn into an alternate reality by a looming figure in a suit. In this world, the mundane is flipped on its head as giant pipes carry more than just water. These tales offer a glimpse into this bizarre dimension, both infinitely monotonous and threatening at once. Based on a true story.