Between the sky and the deep black water, Vincent Chase has a dream.
Which is confusing, because he was already dreaming, somewhere east of the city, tucked into bed in some never-lived-in ghost of a suburb that is slowly but surely being retaken by the desert. But still, Vince has a dream as he falls, and this is what happens:
In his dream, Vince is in his thirties, not in his prime anymore- his looks are starting to go a little bit, especially on mornings after he drinks. But still, he feels good. When the dream starts, Vince is walking through a forest. The first thing he notices are the gnomes- little men in green pointy hats, surrounding him, walking with him through the forest. It’s a little alarming, but Vince keeps his cool. There are beams of sunlight slicing down through the huge trees, warm on his face, but not too warm- and the whole thing is actually kind of nice.
Now another party of gnomes approaches and they’re bringing some kind of big animal- a horse, Vince sees as they come closer, huge and as white as something in a dream, which this is. Which it has to be, because now Vince is almost blinded by a flare of the sun off the huge beast’s horn- it’s not a horse, it’s a Unicorn! and the gnome leading it bows and curtsys before Vince.
“Your steed, your majesty,” he says, and Vince knows the great Unicorn is his and he can ride it. And the gnomes boost him up onto the back of the beast and Vince feels the power beneath him and he feels he should say something, that everyone is waiting for some kind of speech, but it doesn’t matter he just wants to ride he’s never felt so free in his life and then the director calls “Cut!”
Of course it’s a movie. Of course they were waiting for him to say his line while he just sat there on the horse with the prop horn glued to its forehead. It all comes back now- the fragile levee of Vincent Chase’s mind is instantly overwhelmed by memories, and guilt, and shame, and the voices in his head are joined now by those of three assistant directors yelling at him, shaming him, psyching him up, all in a proxy for the director who is too remote and fearsome to be spoken to directly, like the father Vince never really knew.
“I have to go to my trailer,” Vince manages to stammer out, even though he has no idea where his trailer is- he only knows he’s going to go insane if he stays on this set one more second with the six hundred eyes probing him, judging him. Because he is completely sure, as sure as he has even been of anything in his life, that everyone on the set, down to the lowest P.A., can see directly into his soul. And he knows what they’ll find there: What he himself knew was there all along, in a hundred stoned-sleepless 3ams in Hollywood mansions and foreign hotel suites, which is nothing at all.