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A Bunny and a Monkey Vie for My Soul

April 19th, 2006

I am writing/reading/experiencing a story/film/dream written by Neil Gaiman/myself/a mysterious third party, in which the main character, a college student played by myself/Tom Cruise, is haunted by by a series of increasingly intense and insidious specters, including a befuddled, gray-bearded homeless man, a guy in a white bunny suit and a guy in a black gorilla suit.

Part of the action of the dream was contained in a nondescript black hardcover book/manuscript whose text veered wildly with the turning of the pages between a pleasingly large, semibold serif font, neat, almost feminine handwriting, and a dense, ash-black, angular block-print that looked as though it had been carved into the page by a fiery claw.

As I pinballed about campus between classes and dorms, library and bed (I was taking five classes all loosely related to science fiction, writing and literature, one of which was taught by John Fyler of Tufts), I would in any spare moment I could find take up this book to read or write.

Nate Gurevich was my roommate. We shared a room with twelve other guys, who slept all crammed in a row in one long bed. Because there was so little space in the room, I kept my walking-sticks (both the dragon-engraved Purpura staff and the Blackthorn cane) leaning in the hallway outside my door. They seemed always to be there when I wanted them, but it became apparent others were borrowing the sticks for their own purposes. Every morning I found the purpura staff in worse and worse shape, until one day it appeared that someone had snapped it into quarters over his knee, then pathetically attempted to reassemble it using rubber bands and splints. It resembled one of the Roman fasces, the rod-wrapped ax symbolic of enforced peace and grand authority.

The alarm clock which awoke me for classes every morning was a magical pint glass with a radio somehow embedded in the glass. At the appropriate, and often other, inappropriate times, it would begin to emit the strains of anthemic rock songs, which could only be silenced by pressing the red ink decorations on the glass, causing them to dilate or contract. It angered my fellow-roommates to no end.

At one point I passed a mirror and realized my hair had grown long again.

The book was about transformation. It conspired with the specters of the bunny and gorilla to goad its reader/protagonist towards some monumental change. At its climactic moment I was lifted up out of my university setting and deposited on a rutted road of worn, cracked asphalt that led across a windswept highland field. I was chasing the gorilla, which had itself been transformed into a massive, faintly iridescent black geological being reminiscent of the Thing and the Spirit of the Forest from Princess Mononoke. It could fly, or rather it could jump as though it weighed nothing, as though the Earth’s gravity was to it as that of the Moon was to men. Its sheer power taunted me; in my present form there was no way I could catch it, yet everything about this place, about the ashen text that had preceded it, told me I could take another form if I only had the strength of will. The man in the bunny suit appeared beside me, trying to explain this, trying to prod me onward and upward. I shrugged him off. I didn’t want his help. Yet when I did so he seemed to fall right out of existence. His body, or what was left of it, crumpled to the fallow ground by the roadside among the stumps of last year’s corn. And I realized he had left his bunny suit behind. I picked it up, put it on and resumed the chase. Still, I couldn’t close the gap. But I was motivated now. I engaged the full focus of my consciousness on the task. I envisioned myself changing, my body growing large and dense and yet weightless, ascending into the upper air. But with the bunny now my ally, I realized a direct transformation wasn’t the way. My path must be unique.

An infinitely long chain of hobo circus clowns (evoking the homeless graybeard of the university) descended towards me out of the clouds, each gripping the ankles of the next.

The nearest one gripped me by the hands and drew me upwards into waking.

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