The Dream House

It took Jerry months to find his warm air vent. He was lucky. A lot of homeless never find a home so good. Jerry's vent was hidden by some bushes, under an overhanging eave of the Music Building, and only fifty feet from his real home, the University Architecture Building.

Jerry spent much of his days in the Architecture Building, looking over the designs and models done by the students. Jerry made friends with many of the real students by pretending to be a graduate student in an inter-disciplinary program, one blending art, architecture and psychology.

"I'm studying the actual architecture of buildings, especially domiciles, which human beings construct with their dream imaginations," he would say, as if quoting from the preface of his dissertation. "I intend to demonstrate my findings with a palpable working dream edifice."

If any of his student friends thought that intention was strange, they kept it to themselves. There were plenty of other points to argue. Jerry and his friends argued constantly about the fine details of his "studies." The architecture students all rejected what one called his "hopelessly naive" and "culturally biased" notion that the human dream dwelling would always be built realizing the Golden Ratio, as in classical Greek architecture. "If you were born in Mongolia, you'd be dreaming of circular houses," was the objection.

None knew how far along Jerry was in creating his working model. Every night he added new beams, new ceiling, and new flooring. He built throughout the summer months and the fall, even through rainy, dark, cloudy nights. He even kept at it in winter, when other builders take vacations in the south or look for alternate employment.

Finally he was done. It was, to his eyes, the most beautiful home any man could have. It had to be, of course. He himself had dreamed it, night after night, on his treasured heating vent.

Later, as reporters and detectives interviewed the architecture students about their long time friend, the students were astonished to find out that Jerry had been "transient."

One graduate student said, "He told me just last week that his model dream house would be finished any day. I expected him to get his degree soon. I can't believe he's dead."

Wes Browning