The Ever-Devious and Unfathomable Damian Harris

I was the patsy assassin for a rather cleverly and smoothly operated, Sopranos-esque crime organization, of whom my immediate contact was the ever-devious and unfathomable Damian Harris. He placed in my hands an m4 automatic assault rifle with wooden stock finish (which thus resembled both my least-favorite quake weapon and the euphemistic ‘rifle’ kept in Tony Soprano’s entryway liquor cabinet for the purpose of fending off bears and burglars). He made it clear to me without revealing a single detail of his motive or reasoning that the mark was someone they desperately needed removed, and that I was the only person they could trust to do the deed. It only occurred to me much later, when the manhunt had begun, the specific qualities of mine they required–trust, and a weakness for praise.

It was dusk, and I stalked the general, my unwitting prey, in an uncannily spotless suburban backyard setting, orange-lit by abundant streetlamps and warm indoor lighting issuing from open screen doors and bay windows. The houses were predominantly small, uniform, one-story ranch houses, as in the strange faux-homey suburbs found surrounding military installations. The general sat on his porch, taking in the pleasant spring night with subordinates and friends. I shot him from the street, then fled, pursued by many of the aforementioned subordinates. I knocked one down ruthlessly with the butt of the gun, and put a shot into his head, wincing at the noise of the report, though in fact the echoless snap it produced was more like the sound of a mousetrap than that of a gunshot.

As I weaved through the narrow streets and tiny yards, leaping fences and ducking behind feeble shrubberies, it occurred to me how stupidly I was going about my escape. No one alive had seen my face, yet I persisted inexplicably in toting the murder weapon everywhere I went, waving it about like an idiot. Immediately after that intelligent realization, I saw that Damian had in fact fucked me with the very m4 I was still clinging to. I wiped it clean on my shirt, dropped it under a bush at the first opportunity, put my hands in my pockets, and strode away causally down the street.

Imagine my surprise when I arrived at the military installation to find a police-state style trial by angry mob of officers already taking place. Imagine my utter and retrospectively almost comical devastation at discovering that their chosen scapegoat was Erin, lovely and tragical in red and black. There followed a painful mockery of a courtroom drama in which I attempted to defend her. They ignored me, and prepared to execute her firing-squad style. I was holding her, steeling myself to shield her with my body and try for a suidical escape, when I started mercifully awake.

Las Dias y Los Noches de Monsignor Martinez

An old couple in Westwood was running a scam where they let on to certain parties that they were interested in funding the production of independent films. They continued to encourage and demand results from those involved, promising again and again to provide funds and help. But really they were offering no help at all, and only doing it to see how far they could string people along, a la the various obnoxious patrons of the arts encountered by Old Benvenuto in his autobiography.

It so happened that I was taken in by this for a while, as were a pair of foreign students from Spain (the same that Michael and I had met in the MIT Linguistics department a few days before). But though I rapidly figured out their scheme and warned the Spaniards, it turned out that this deception was only the most superficial layer of a deep and devious conspiracy to blackmail and eventually enslave every person of grace, intelligence, and creative and artistic merit in the world, numbing them by nothing more than fear and torment into tools for world domination.

Soon the dream deteriorated into a matrix-like urban chase scene through bare, unfinished corridors and paint-spattered scaffolds high above city streets. Their first line was composed all of women–one of them southeast-asian and naked, another blonde and clad in white–but all so beautiful and fascinating that the sight of them was hypnotizing, like that of siren mermaids diving among deadly shoals, or fair specters beckoning from the grave. Whenever I saw them approach I was overcome with sympathy, with the desire to help them from their plight–yet I saw the weapons in their hands, and the helpless coldness in their eyes, and so I forced myself to flee.

They were something above a dozen in all, and so swift and agile and deadly that soon I realized I could not hope to escape them no matter how I ran or leapt or dove. So I took refuge in a little empty room all painted white, with a single door and a single window, and prepared to make my stand.

I had picked up a little brown-tinted automatic from one of them, possibly the blonde. With this in hand, I crouched by the window and watched the building across the street, from which my pursuers emerged one at a time onto the scaffold.

Walking among the women and behind them, goading them on, were two others of a different sort: tall, shifty-looking, craggy-faced latino men in bad suits and dark sunglasses, who resembled your generic drug-running goons a la El Mariachi or Las Dias y Los Noches de Monsignor Martinez. Clearly, these were the people behind the conspiracy, or at least its enforcers. They were flesh and blood, yet bullets alone did not seem to harm them, but only slowed them down. It took them some time to heal, but there were so many others to back them up that I could never get a chance to finish them off.

As I peered at them through the little bathroom window, however, I saw something in their attitudes, their postures, that suggested all the beautiful artists and geniuses they had enslaved were not yet truly mindless servants, but resisted them, and only did what they did because of whatever threat to their art the conspiracy held over them. Could they see, perhaps, that their enemies had no such power over me? Why else had they simply stopped there on the scaffold, and not tried to come after me?

I looked at their faces, and once again overwhelmed by pity, I decided to risk it. Running out of the little room, I leapt, grabbed the rail of the scaffold, and swung myself with incredible gravity-defying matrix skills across the open space between the buildings, to land squarely before the two sunglassioed villains. “Dodge this,” I did not say, and planted a bullet in each of their skulls.

It seemed I was right, or at least that I had gained a degree of control over the dream, for the women around me all turned and echoed my shots with each of their own. I placed a foot over each of the ugly men’s throats, and stood watching until they breathed their last.

Then I awoke.

Clearly this dream was intended as a moralistic fable warning against the perils of submitting one’s art to the judgement and design of those willing and capable to exchange a livelihood for it. This drawback is true of every form of art. Old Benvenuto’s lamentations at having been forced to abandon the one truly great patron he ever had really struck me, and the gaps in comprehension and appreciation between those with power and those with talent have only swollen in the centuries since his death.

The Werebear

I was at the Maine house on a hunting trip with Dad, Grampa, Matty, and the sisters. The girls weren’t going hunting, they were just there. It was very cold, and for some reason Dad thought it was a good idea to start a fire with gunpowder. I was leery, but he and Matty ignored me, and set the thing off. It made a lot of smoke, but it worked.

There were strange things going on in Brownfield. There was tons of construction. They had built a road going right past our house, and on the other side were building some huge, ugly electrical transformer. Dad and Grampa talked about making an addition to the house, and taking out the windows on that side so we wouldn’t have to look at it. Someone (possibly Matty) was in the process of building another house in front of ours. It was almost done, closed in and had windows and insulation and everything, just didn’t have siding yet. And strangest of all, along the road behind our house there was now an enormous dilapidated warehouse that contained aviation machinery. Apparently some guy kept his little fixed-wing prop plane there. So the whole area had this ugly, ominous industrial feel to it, though the pines still loomed everywhere around it.

It was very late at night, we had just gotten in and settled, and Dad and Grampa wanted to be up at seven to go hunting. They would have liked to wake up at four, but we had arrived too late for that now, and nobody wanted to do that. At that point it was about one, and we were getting ready for bed.

Well, just then several cars pulled up into the driveway, and there piled out of them some rauckus inconsiderate people who apparently were renting or staying the night in the half-built house belonging to Matty, just generally rowdy and unusual folk who didn’t seem to understand we wanted to go to sleep. They barged in on us, and I stared at them bleary-eyed as they hauled into the house this very strange wooden rack on wheels that had a bear carcass all cut up and rather carelessly screwed onto it. They were going back and forth from their car, bringing gear inside, so I took hold of the thing, seeing that it was about to fall apart, and tried to screw it tighter so it would hold. But to my consternation I discovered that the screws were not screws at all, but just cheap metal plugs without threads. I stared at the bear in confusion, wondering why they had it cut up this way. It was very gory, and not quite bear-proportioned. It looked more like a hacked-up guy in a bear suit than a hacked-up real bear–though the head and claws did look real. I noticed, with oddly muted feelings of disturbance, that some of the parts were twitching like they were still alive.

Then the whole rack started to fall apart in my hands. The head tumbled to the floor, followed by a hind paw, and a long, armlike limb. They lay on the floor, panting and bending and wiggling. “That’s enough of this,” I thought. “This is ridiculous.” I let go of the offensive thing and went outside to yell at these people. I told them angrily about the bear, how it had come loose from the wierd rack, and how it was not dead–like it was a werebear or something, that they had forgotten to stake or shoot with silver.

They looked at me uneasily, like I was insane, but not entirely. I led them back inside to show them, and the bear was completely gone. No blood or anything. I knew it had regenerated and disappeared into the woods.

The Dubious Gift of Indiscriminate Capping

A thoroughly gory and violent dream with matrix/superhero elements, and a very clear moral message, obviously due to the fact that I had been writing the Morrigan’s origin story for the Elusory Edge the day before, and that I had been reading Jekyll & Hyde before I went to bed.

It began with going back to work at GD, riding in the car with my dad. I was a little muddled, and had forgotten some things and had to rush to get out the door. But as usual with dream GDs, when we got there it was a wierd pseudo-GD where I had nothing to do, which promptly fell apart into a towering semi-futuristic city crowded with people, a large proportion of whom seemed to have guns.

Some disembodied superior being bestowed upon me and my fellow resistance fighters a nebulous and soon-to-be obviously allegorical ‘gift’. He didn’t say what it was at first, but it seemed clear enough that it was some kind of time-slowing, physics-bending, ass-kicking power, with a little bit of zombie voodoo magic brewed in. We resistance fighters now had the dubious advantage of being able to cap as many people as we damn well pleased without actually killing anyone or reducing the numbers of our foes, because despite the bullets in their skulls they would only perpetuate as the living dead. We soon caught on to this, and started capping our own people so that they could not be killed. A clever idea, sure, but that of course got out of hand and soon it seemed everyone in the whole city had a beretta with a sticky trigger (mine sure did) with which they were trying vainly to lay out everybody else. Add to this the complication that many of the original resistance fighters had acquired through practise the standard dream power of clumsy flight, and at the same time a deep-seated resentment of their fellow resistance fighters who had tried to cap them early on to give them the gift of living death.

It was at about this point that the moral lesson of the disembodied superior being finally dawned on me. His gift was not a gift at all, but a punishment. In a manner of minutes, in our idiotic knee-jerk reaction to violence with violence, we had turned a perfectly pleasant distopian future into a living hell. Well, I wasn’t about to let this lesson go un-learned. So I voiced aloud my realization, threw down my gun, and made as if to flee by flight. Those around me, however, shouted aloud to me that I couldn’t fly; it was all just a part of the superior being’s trick. Apparently I had convinced them, but only partially, not having managed to impress upon them the main point of my realization, which was non-violence. They grabbed onto my legs and started dragging me down, and bam! The dream shifted lickety split.

Now I was in another part of the city, a deserted part, heavily damaged by the fighting, with two girls clad in red and black leather superhero outfits. There was a big group of people just around the bend from us (it seemed like a highway off-ramp, but completely deserted of cars), also clad in superhero outfits, but still deluded and following their murderous ultra-violent tendencies. Our goal was to negotiate peacefully with these people, and show them the error of their ways. Of course, our selflessness backfired, as they just took us for their enemies, and capped one of the girls, starting another mini-riot. The other girl and I flew off into the apocalyptic sunset, just as if we had been sucessful in our superheroing and were getting our romantical fade-out, instead of having been utter failures.

The Dumbek

Last night I returned in dream to a place I had not gone in years, that of a very strange non-existent DeLuca relative. She was big and round and didn’t care what anybody thought. She was somehow estranged from her husband, but had two or three adult sons about my age apparently still living with her. The house was big and broad and cluttered with strange objects, much like you would expect the house of a DeLuca to be, with sort of orangish cream-colored walls with pastel trim. And the thing which made me realize I had been there before in dream was a section of wall in the hallway between the kitchen and the bedrooms that was actually some kind of enormous, amazingly clear projection tv, that at times pretended to be just a colorful section of wallpaper, but other times came alive. It was across from an arched doorway that led into the living/dining area. In the last dream I had I recall being afraid to mention it, I think because I was much younger and did not know this woman who apparently was my relative. This time I asked about it right away. “Does it stay on while you sleep?” I asked. “I could never stand that. I would be listening to it all night long.”

I was there with the family, and we were bored, so one of the kids offered to play a board game in which none of us were really interested. So instead I suggested Diana play chess with me, and she accepted readily. I went off to explore or possibly to visit the bathroom while she was setting up, and by the time I came back she had played out the game so that it was down to king, queen, pawn, bishop on both sides, and I was in checkmate. I was only slightly annoyed, because I was interested in the house.

One of the woman’s sons had the peculiar ailment of growing up every day from a little boy to an adult, and then going back again. At first this struck me as kind of fun, but then it was revealed that the kid had to kill himself ritualistically in a particular way at the end of every day in order to come back. He was tired of it, and wanted to go on living, just once. But his younger brother yelled at him, saying he would die for good if he did that. A scene most tragical.

It was clear from all the oddball stuff she had around that this woman was a collector of exotic but useless knicknacks, and as a matter of fact she had just recieved that day a wooden crate full of mayan or other tribal artifacts: little stone figurines, tall pieces of polished mahogany with sun gods or little people painted on their faces in black, and a lot of straw, for packing. She was in the midst of taking these items out and setting them up around her house. When I went to the bathroom, I found some of the stuff and was looking at it. Mistakenly I dribbled pee on one of the boards. Then suddenly as I turned to leave, I saw a tiny being standing on the floor behind me. He must have been only three or four inches high. He was brown, wore a large shapeless black hat, and bore an eerie resemblance to the things depicted on the boards. I shivered, but spoke to him courteously. I called him by his name (“Dumbek” or something–it was the name of the type of thing he was, like a gnome or fairy), introduced myself, and asked him if he understood me. He said something back in another language, a very small, froggy voice, then said my name back to me. Apparently he was there to ensure the safe treatment of his artifacts. Like a house spirit. He reminded me somewhat of the little stone-headed spirits of the forest from Princess Mononoke. Anyway, we parted courteously, and I went back to relate this encounter to the lady of the house. She explained that he wasn’t in fact a Dumbek, but a close relation of theirs. I exclaimed in no undue amazement that this was the coolest thing I had ever heard. I had met a magical creature! The world would never be the same.