The Saturday afternoon gang was sitting around quaffing beer when the subject of fear came up. Colfax spoke first.

"I'm afraid of making love with a married woman, and then when it's over she asks me to kill her husband."Delmonte said, "My fear is that I will disappear into a Washington, D.C., pothole and no one will know where I am."

It was Wendel's turn. He took a sip of beer and then confided, "My nightmare is getting a speeding ticket in Los Angeles."

"What's wrong with that?" I asked him.

"Suppose there is nobody around with a video camera?"

"You're fearful for no reason. There is always someone around with a camera."

"Suppose the cop who stops me forces me to lie down on my stomach with my hands behind my back and my legs spread out."

"He wouldn't dare," I assured him.

"Why not?"

"Because Police Chief Gates wouldn't stand for it."

"In my dream he does."

"Wendel," Delmonte said, "people have speeding ticket nightmares in every large city in this country, but nothing ever happens. My guess is that if you were stopped by a policeman in Los Angeles for speeding, he would salute smartly and let you off with a stern warning."

"Is this your nightmare or mine?" Wendel wanted to know.

"It's mine."

"Well, in my dream I'm surrounded by 10 cops and they're playing hockey puck with me."

We all laughed.

I said, "Maybe in Soweto, but never in America. You should watch what you eat before you go to sleep."

Wendel didn't speak for a few minutes and then he added, "I wasn't speeding."

"Everyone tells the cops the same thing," I told him. "That's why they make you stretch out on the pavement and put a stun gun around your neck. The police hate liars."

"In my nightmare they whack the hell out of me for no reason at all. "

"The Los Angeles police don't whack people without a reason. Maybe they didn't like your haircut."

Wendel continued, "In my nightmare I needed 20 stitches in my head. "

Colfax said, "Come on. You look as if they hardly laid a glove on you."