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Story Archives

Coincidence Story

Ben Greenman

By Ben Greenman

I dreamed there was a painting called James Brown’s Prison Shoes, and it showed just a bunk and then six pairs beneath it, each pair squared off so perfectly that they were like one thing, and the six things parked like cars in a rich man’s garage, green leather, red leather, brown leather, black leather, black leather, black leather. It was a strange thing to dream about: a painting. In the dream I was just standing in front of it, wondering whether I would be shown other paintings as well. I was not.

A few weeks later I read a poem by Terrance Hayes that also mentioned those same shoes. Were I more rational or less interested in invisible wires making invisible networks, I would have assumed that he had run across a mention of the shoes in a news article, or biography, or television special at roughly the same time that I had, and that the seed had produced two sprouts in two different minds. But I was not particularly rational that day, and so I wondered if he had dreamed the same dream.

Do you think two people can have the same thought at the same time?

Ben Greenman is a New York Times-bestselling author who has written both fiction and nonfiction.