Elephants with Four-Fingered Limbs

I saw the Plieades in a dream. How long has it been since I have seen them in waking? I had forgotten it, and only remembered upon perusing the numerology primer given me by Purpura some months ago. They were alone in a twilit sky — dawn or dusk I know not. Only for a moment could I perceive them, out over the still waters of some Pawtuckaway-like Lake, then they were obscured by shifting clouds.

Elephants with four-fingered limbs, settling down to sleep among the trees in the driveway of the lake house, which of course was not quite the lake house.

A small, white sailing yacht. Erin and I were going to go out in it with dad, and sit and read while he sailed.

I Get Kicked Out of a Matrix Clique

I walked out of a brownstone apartment building onto a street corner in a city like Boston. Across the street was an italian bistro/deli type place. I was wearing all black — black jeans, black leather motorcycle jacket, black boots. In each hand I had an M5 submachine gun, a la quake, and I had some extra clips taped together a la the stupid drug runners from Clear and Present Danger. I turned, and watched four other people emerge from the building: three guys and a girl, all clad in Matrix-style monochrome garb and heavily armed. One of them, skinny and all in white, had two long, thin, curved swords in plastic sheaths, and I said to him, you ought to get a belt to hang those on. He agreed somewhat indifferently.

The girl was the leader. She had red hair and was hot. They were planning to raid the bistro across the street, but for some reason I only thought they wanted to go there for lunch, and then go elsewhere to do their violence.

One of the guys, thinking about the getaway, asked if any of us could fly. Perfectly normal Matrix question. Everyone shook their heads. I said, I can. Sometimes. I thought, but didn’t say, When I’m dreaming. The kid said, That’s not good enough. We need someone who can fly all the time, and pick people up.

Oddly, It didn’t occur to me at all that I might be dreaming. I fly, yet I don’t know I’m dreaming.

We stood there on the corner for a minute in broad daylight all trying to fly. I got a good six inches off the ground and stayed there for a minute. Not great, but better than anyone else. Look, look, I said, I’m levitating! They looked grumpy. I think this is because I wasn’t really a part of their group, and they didn’t want my help. I landed, and tried again. This time I shot up like a pro, whipped like a gale around their heads, then took off down the street. I was watching them to see if they were impressed, but they just went into the bistro like they were glad to be rid of me. But again, i only thought they were going to lunch. I flew once around the block, bouncing off gutters and balconies and roofs of other brownstones (the city started to remind me of the North End, which wouldn’t be entirely discrepant with the storyline). I saw a bagel place, wanted to go there instead, but figured I should stick with the others. So I landed, and went into the bistro.

They weren’t there.

For an instant, I was the red-headed girl, or was with her at least. She was with a huge, ominous, Dark Lord-type villain who had some sort of mind control over her, a la Paul Melko’s story ‘Skin’. He was forcing her to kiss him and talking about how big his dick was. Then I pulled back and was myself again, in the bistro, watching as the red-haired girl repeatedly and brethlessly kissed this man-shaped lump of dough or marshmallow, as the bistro’s owner stood by yelling at her that she was going to have to pay for that.

A Clumsy Clandestine Society

In a tent in Daniel Boone NF. Incoherent action/mystery farce.

I was exploring a small museum/zoo, very odd thing, that had some kind of artist or musician living in it. People came in, on a select basis, and got to explore his studio. It was quite odd, because the three public rooms looked spotlessly quaint, while the room he actually lived in was a disaster–I.E somebody was making tourist money off of this, and was doctoring reality in a quite reality-tv-like manner. They had not charged me admission, but I think I had special priveleges of some kind. Whoever I was with knew the guy, or something like that. I can’t remember who I was with. A girl? Or maybe Tris? Sorry, Tris.

Right. So, leaving this house, I wandered semi-aimlessly in an urban night, looking for someone. Whoever I was with took me to Deb, who told me she could get me in contact with a certain secret society who would be able to help me find… whoever it was. No indication of the nature of this secret society, but I think by virtue of their connection with Deb, the mysterious setting, and the badass clothes everyone was wearing, including myself (sleek black stuff, not quite matrix), I judged this society was some sort of ultracool countercultural terrorist group. Had I thought about it, I probably would have decided to find some other way of finding her. But maybe they controlled the city. Who was I to know?

So Deb took me to this lovely dark-haired girl in even sleeker black stuff, including what I think were some quite expensive leather pants. And this girl promptly pulled me into a dark stairwell and pulled a crossbow on me. A black and chrome crossbow, with steel barbs on the bolts. She said, “You can either join the society, or die right now.” I said, “Well, that’s not much of a choice, is it.” I was trying to appear as cool as my dark clothes and the setting and the implications of a clandestine society demanded. I didn’t think I was doing half bad.

She pointed the crossbow a couple inches to the right of my ear, and fired it. I jumped a foot in the air. Then I thought to myself, I’m not scared. I was somewhere between truth and bluff. So I tried to recover by coolly regarding the bolt protruding from the wall.

Now, this stairwell happened to be made of thick, one-way glass, and was located in a fairly public area–a mall parking lot, or something like that. Not very professional of this clandestine society, whoever they were. But they weren’t exactly clever in general. Case in point: The badass woman’s crossbow-bolt had pierced right through the plexiglass, and knocked out a chunk on the other side that fell and hit the shoulder of a security guard who happened to be standing right there. He was pudgy, non-threatening, like the maytag salesman. But he shouted and rushed into the stairwell and grabbed the supid representative of the clandestine society by the arm, and tried to arrest her or something. I had to drag her out of his grasp and up the stairwell to get away. This was after she had threatened to and nearly killed me. Clearly, they needed me in their society a lot more than I needed them.

Waiting for me several floors up in the parking garage was another society member. He was bald, Bullseye/Colin Ferrel-esque, but dumber looking, if that is possible, and less interesting. No target on his forehead. He had a crossbow too, and he started bullying me the same way as the girl had. But this time I was having none of it. “This is ridiculous,” I said. “What kind of clandestine society are you running here?” And I disbelieved the whole plot, and woke up.

The House Was a Clockwork Automaton

I came out of General Dynamics into a dark, overcast summer’s night, much like the one that was passing rapidly in the waking world. I was wearing the same clothes I had worn that day, purple shirt, dark shorts. I had forgotten something, left it behind at my desk–a pen perhaps, or a book–something I wanted, but did not necessarily need. I was about to start back in after it, when I realized I didn’t have an ID badge, and thus couldn’t get back in anyway. Then I realized I did not work at GD. A dream!

I started to run. I ran a long time through the night, without getting tired or putting any effort into running, in suburban surroundings I had never seen before. I passed a few other joggers, a surprising number considering the lateness of the hour, especially since I hadn’t seen a single car. I wondered about them as I passed: figments of my dream.

Finally, I reached my house. I came up to it from the left, on a road that is not really there. And my house was not my house. It was built on a little hill, with a stone wall in front, and the driveway cut into the hill. I think it was white with black shutters. My dad was standing out in the street in front of the house, stretching, wearing his running clothes. I thought we would start running together, but he had just come back from his run, so I stopped, and went inside with him.

There were all kinds of luggage and things packed up in the dining room that was not my dining room. My uncle David was there, and his hair was thick and black and curly, not greying and balding on top like it is now, and he had these killer diamond-shaped sideburns. I think my dad was younger too. They were both in a very happy, jocular mood, smiling a lot, and were talking about something in which I quickly lost interest – something they were packing. Apparently, it was the day before I was going off to college, and this stuff was going with me. So I was younger too. I was 1997 me.

The feeling of half-dream, like I was about to wake up, had been with me in greater or lesser intensity since I came out of GD. Now I said to myself, “I am dreaming. What should I do? Look at my hands!” So I did. I looked down–but instead of my hands, I found a grey inattention, a little ball of it, like a tiredness that came over me. And a moment later, I looked up at my dad and his brother. “Okay,” I said groggily, out loud, and started to turn away. Dad and David both said goodnight, though I hadn’t really been talking to them, but to myself. But I turned and went back through the kitchen towards the stairs.

Rapidly, I now went through a series of other false flashbacks–settings that were like things from my memory, but had actually never happened. You might also look at it that I was just dreaming in a setting that was the past. Though each scene was short, I remember them only foggily. In one I was having a conversation with Erin, and as this was happening, I thought to myself, “Wait til I tell Erin about this.” In another, I was standing on a brown ladder, trying to fix a gutter or something similar.

Then the dream shifted completely, and I was no longer in any control. I was in the mansion of a ridiculously rich, evil, mad, old man. The whole house was a clockwork automaton that played through the same, thoroughly disturbing opera/melodrama over and over. Apparently it gave this old man kicks to invite unwitting young people to his house, offer them anything they desired, and then draw them in to his own inescapable cycle of carnal sin and crushing remorse. I believe it had been Purpura who initially drew me in to the house with promises of things of great coolness and quality. But he could easily have been part of the old man’s automaton, or part of my own fucked-up failsafe mechanism for perpetuating my dreaming reality.

The house was all in warm colors: yellows, browns, reds, oranges. There were female servants in kimonos who would bring you orange towels or drinks or food. There were huge, steamy bathrooms with big hot tubs. There were wide grounds; the house was on a hill with a nice view. Purpura and I walked the grounds; we studied the huge old grandfather clock in the foyer, we played with the toys he kept in his screening room, which was a kind of holographic projector that played scenes from the star wars that hadn’t come out yet. There were lightsabers, real ones, that worked.

And there were people moving through the house all the time. It seemed people came through in groups, like tours, and with each group’s entry, the process started over again. At first, they didn’t even know of the old man’s existence. They just stumbled onto the house, as Hansel and Gretel on the witch’s cottage, Pinnochio on the island of lost children, Sen’s parents on the feast of the spirits. They would gorge themselves for a time on the house’s pleasures, grow almost addicted to them, and only then begin to perceive the house’s more disturbing aspects, of which the old man himself was foremost.

He would summon you at breakfast time after a night of debauchery, to sit there and eat, or queasily try to eat, while he sat in his decaying majesty, surrounded by his superhumanly sanguine, sickeningly sexual servants, and grilled you with questions. What had you done last night? Did you feel good about it? Were you through exploiting his generosity, or were you going to do it again? He treated everyone like a prodigal son he had treated with too much leniency. He had already killed the fatted calf for you; and you had betrayed him again. Of course he wouldn’t say these things, he would only insinuate them. And he would kill the fatted calf for you again the next night. It was the guilt, the personal horror of those he tormented, that was his meat and drink. He was like the father from The Beautiful and Damned. Perhaps he was the devil. Perhaps he was god.

The climax of the melodrama came at the end of the meal. It was this horrible vampiric dance, with the old man, the servants, and the house all taking part, and you forced to watch as a disembodied presence. It was reminiscent of Rocky Horror Picture Show in many ways–that was the first comparison I made when I awoke. I witnessed it twice in the course of the dream. There were two coffins in the main hallway of the mansion. They had always been there, but you had never seen them until now. They were of this rich orangey wood, magnificently lacquered, and carved with yellow flowers and designs like stained glass. They opened of their own accord; and in one you saw the old man lay down to sleep, helped in by his voluptuous young maid. Then, suspended in the air over the other, there came into view one of his sculpted, hairless male servants, completely naked, glistening with oils. You watched from above, as, framed by the coffin, another naked servant appeared, and the two performed a kind of synchronized swimming-type dance, tumbling and rolling and caressing. Then the original servant would float away, and another would appear. It began with a white man; then a black man appeared, they danced, and the white man went away, then a white woman appeared, and the process repeated cyclically for as long as it seemed you could stand to watch this with that waxen, dead figure staring up at you from the next coffin. You knew somehow that their sexual dance was rejuvenating him. He was a parasite; the house kept him alive, perhaps forever. There was nothing you could do but watch.

And at the end, when you were left alone again, you’d swear to yourself you were leaving. You’d say “it was fun while it lasted, but nothing in this house makes it worth encountering that old man ever again.” and you’d get up to go. I did this. I thought I was leaving, but as soon as I did, suddenly the house was empty again. The old man and all memory of him was gone, and it began all over again. Once you had passed through the cycle once, I think it was possible for you to escape. But if you didn’t, as I didn’t, you became a part of the clockwork.

Individually Wrapped Green Mushrooms

Very late night work in a snazzy red velvet upholstered movie theater. Ren and Stimpy clips. “I got to go home and get some sleep,” I tell the girls whose discussion of popular animation has kept me after hours. I flee despite their protests.

I am trying to unlock my bike and get home before I fall unconcscious when a latino guy I have met somewhere before appears from the shadow and offers to sell me individually-wrapped green-capped hallucinogenic mushrooms out of his apartment, which is in one of those truck-unloading stops at the back of the theater. I buy them, mostly to be rid of him. I ride my bike home, and who should I meet along the way but Damian, who is of course not going to allow me to get any sleep. Shrug. Well, it’s already five or six in the morning.

By the time we get home the dark is looking green around the gills, the lights are on inside, and my dad is standing in the kitchen getting ready for work. I stand in the breezeway, which is still the breezeway, and knock on the window. Dad jumps a foot in the air, stares out at us for a while with that critical disapproval disguised as innocent confusion that he does so well, and then finally opens the door and lets us in. We make excuses. He is unconvinced, but does not say so. We go upstairs to my room, which is still my room, and discuss green mushrooms and video games until 9 AM. No point in going to sleep now.

And then suddenly I am very paranoiacally boarding an airplane, carrying a sealed green plastic bag within my coat which contains something that I suspect is an assortment of individually-wrapped green fungus which will get me in an immense amount of trouble. Naturally I make it through security without a problem and take my seat believing myself in the clear, only to be asked by a flight attendant to stand up and remove my coat. He takes the plastic bag, unknots it, and withdraws a demented-looking slice of grapefruit the size of a watermelon quarter, splits it open, and removes from the hollowed-out inside several bags of contraband: not narcotics, but rather expensive snacks. Cherries. Porcini mushrooms. Crabmeat.

“I hope you brought enough for everybody,” says the attendant mockingly. My family, with whom I am flying, look happy and dig in.