A Centralia toy-collecting bartender writes a bizarre dream book and introspective poems

By Daniel Warn / [email protected]

Centralia resident Zane Verley, 43, has overcome decades of drug abuse to give voice to his dreams and pave the way for his future, when he once thought that future would be nothing but nightmares.

Verley, the bartender manager of McFiler’s Bar & Restaurant in Chehalis, spent 20 months in jail from 2012 for dealing drugs, and while in the minimum-security facility he began writing down the dreams that he had every night.

Late last year he compiled all of his writings – a year of dreams, poems and even the start of a screenplay – and published a book called ‘One Dream at a Time’ with Gorham Printing.

And like the name of the book, Verley lives day by day, dream after dream, metaphorically speaking.

A dream he had for himself was his possible rejection of a life spent selling and using drugs.

“It was 2012, that was the last time I did drugs,” Verley told The Chronicle. “It was pretty bad and the SWAT team raided my house in Chehalis on fourth street, and I went to jail. And coming off the drugs, your dreams get pretty lucid and pretty twisted too. For me – a comedian – I was like, ‘That was a pretty funny dream. I feel like I should write this just to capture it. So I did, and then the next day I did other crazy dreams, so I said… ‘I’m going to stay here for a while, so I’m going to make it a routine.’ After six months I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to do this for a year and see what happens.’ »

He said writing down the events of his dreams while he was rehabbing drugs and learning to live a new way of life was therapeutic.

Ultimately, the task gave him something to do while he was locked up, he said, but in doing so he was able to resolve in his conscious mind the questions of his present and his future on which his subconscious worked every night.

The contents of his book suggest that his dream state was preoccupied with what his future would look like upon his release from prison.

In a recorded dream, which he had on the night of November 21, 2012, he followed a stranger into a sinkhole and asked the stranger if people often fall there. The stranger in the dream told him of people falling into the chasm, before the scene abruptly changed to that of a graveyard, with the stranger digging a grave.

“How are you supposed to read my future when it’s true that I have no future?” the dream-Verley asked Abroad, according to the book.

This is because the man had returned from the grave with a bucket full of bones and said he needed silence to read them in order to understand Verley’s fate. By then, the scene had once again changed to that of an empty warehouse, which was apparently where the bones would be read.

In reality, Verley didn’t need the talents of a gothic fortune-teller to help him choose the right path for his future or to start realizing his dreams. The proof is in the life Verley has led since his time behind bars.

He managed to leave his life as a drug addict in prison. Now 10 years drug-free since April 26, he told The Chronicle he had achieved that very real first dream.

This is where a second dream appeared. Verley wanted to use the dedication and focus he put into his bad habits to build a successful life, he said.

“I’m just a workaholic,” he said. “All the energy I used to put into my drug use, I now put to work. It has allowed me to go much further and achieve better results.

The book also contains dozens of poems that Verley wrote while in prison and for a short time afterwards.

A poem recounts how his life was fragmented and shattered by his own hands.

“Would you mind if I broke my soul in two,” the poem begins, before later saying, “Look into my eyes and bury your hopes there; The door of promise has been closed in the face so many times.

Still later, the poem states, “So yes, as I said, I will break my soul in two; I will exhibit half of it in a museum that no one visits.

With a paid job and his turn as a published author, Verley told The Chronicle he has put his life back together.

However, intentionally or not, it has a kind of museum that the public does not visit.

And this museum contains a third dream: one day to open a vintage toy store.

When The Chronicle entered Verley’s Centralia residence, the first thing one saw was the set of two front rooms overflowing with all manner of 1980s toys stacked on makeshift shelves and pedestals that towered over the ‘space.

“If you’re not from here and you google Centralia or Chehalis, the first thing you’ll see are antiques. We are known for our antique stores. One thing that we don’t have and all big cities have is vintage toy stores,” Verley said.

He said that whenever he traveled to other cities, he looked for the resident vintage toy stores.

“More than anything, they’re packed too – it’s crazy,” Verley said. “People don’t think vintage toy stores bring in a lot of business. (But) they do. And that’s something we don’t have here.

Verley said he had over 600 individual pieces. They range from hundreds of “Masters of the Universe” action figures, figurines, and playsets, to “Garbage Pail Kids,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” and “Star Wars” toys, among others.

“In the ’80s, when I was a kid, my dad and I would take a trip to Yard Birds,” Verley said. “I would go to my dad on the weekends and he would take me to Yard Birds and he would always buy me He-Man action figures. And so that was the main toy I had. … I destroyed them, I took them for granted.

Many of the dreams detailed in Verley’s book reference these stalwarts of 1980s marketing, with one referring to a video game that had a set of playable physical toys attached to it in the form of “Castle Grayskull.” from “Masters of the Universe”.

One of Verley’s poems details his desire to capture times in his childhood when things were simpler – a pursuit Verley told The Chronicle he achieves in part through his toy collection.

A section of the poem reads, “If I could take it all back for you, believe me, I would; Maybe I’ll go on the offensive, yeah I think maybe I should; And bring back the days that fade with all our memories; Just for fun, climb way up, way up in the deciduous trees; Play in the dirt and go feed the duck and watch the stars in the night sky.

Now a published author – yet another dream Verley has fulfilled – he spends his nights tending the bar at McFiler’s. Through the relationships he cultivates there, he said he strives to give those trapped in the nightmare of drug use and the desolation of dead-end roads an example of what can happen. when you live “One Dream at a Time”.

Copies of Verley’s book can be found at McFilers Bar & Restaurant, or by calling Verley at 360-523-4804.

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