Radical Psycho Machine Racing

I am sitting beside Matt Lucas in a large green SUV. We pass through a gate with a banner overhead that reads “Bouncing Mountain Racetrack” or something like that, where Matt gives a ticket to a man at a window. Ahead of us, I see three other enormous SUVs clearing an incredible gaping hole in the road, plummeting a great distance to the ground on the other side, and careening around a corner. How the hell did they do that? I am thinking, as Matt guns the engine and we approach the same chasm. I am astounded to find us hurtling through the air and plunging to the ground with seemingly no destruction of shocks or our fragile flesh. Apparently these are magic roads that sponge down like balloons when hit with an SUV-sized projectile.

We careen around the corner, and clear another jump. As we land, I lean out the window and put my hand out to see what the ground feels like. It is indeed fake ground. Astounding! What incredible expense this strange amusement park must have gone to! Another jump. I do it again. I fall out the window onto the fake asphalt, and Matt tears on away up the raceway without seeming to notice. Guess I should have figured that would happen.

I plunge into the mountain jungle beside the track, where I find a fake trail layered in fake snow with fake vines hanging down on which to swing over fake mud pits and the like. I come upon one such vine clearly labeled in white paint: “Suicide Swing”. The ‘mud pit’ beneath it looks suspiciously deep, as though it is composed not of mud but of some kind of breakaway foam. I suspect that it conceals a passage to another part of the park. I stop, considering.

A pair of older women come along in fanny packs and sunglasses and matching white and purple running suits. I say hello. I do not mention the words on the vine. They pass me, and disappear into the mud pit with a wail.

What the hell, I say. I jump in.

I land with a plop in a large, colorful movie theater lobby. In one of the nearby theaters an educational seminar of some kind is being held, which Erin and many other Columbus ladies are attending, as well as, inexplicably, Mark Massaro. Whatever the subject of the seminar, Mark and I are eminently uninterested. Discovering a debris-filled crawlspace beneath the back row of seats, we squeeze down inside and occupy ourselves collecting up the change that people have dropped. There are some interesting things hidden down there. I find not less than five hash pipes and one healthy stash, buried out of sight among bits of trash. I leave them be, having no need for such objects and imagining their owners’ unhappiness at coming back to find them gone. Massaro, however, has no such qualms.

The seminar ended, everybody files out except for me and Mark, who go on digging for nickels. When finally we get up to go, I discover someone has inadvertently cleaned up the documentation handed out to me prior to the seminar. I am somewhat distraught, but having found at least the book I was reading (The Stand), I give up the search and decide to retire to my hotel room.

In trying to find my way to the elevators, I cross paths with a park employee whose job it is to stand in a window display and come out to sell things to people. I steal his seat, and he shouts at me. I apologize. He goes back to selling things to people. Spitefully, I pick up the chair from the window display and hide it in a backroom. He comes after me.

I am hurrying through the maze of colorful storage room corridors, which seem once to have been used as seminar rooms, starting to get a little crazy since they seem to have no end and there is no stairway or elevator in sight, when suddenly my glasses fall apart into three pieces. The enraged employee and two of his co-workers catch up to find me sitting on the floor trying to put them back together. He yells at me, but when I tell them my sad story, they take pity and try to help me put my glasses back together. I shrug them off and burst into tears.

Witch Nemesis in Lover's Form

Thoroughly interesting post-vegas two hour nightmare.

Everyone in my neighborhood, including the purpuras, yosh, andy lucas, several of udi’s friends and others, were all involved in the production of a massive and complex rpg/performance art piece in a horror vein, involving eerie magic powers, ridiculously cool costumes and recurring serial plotlines that we developed as we went along.

It took place on various stages: the purpura house, the dark streets and yards, a giant vegas-like subway station with white tile and escalators, the rundown stage and auditorium of westwood high school.

At times there were spectators: sisters, parents, Erin, sitting in the creaking wooden chairs, or following us at a distance through the grass. Sometimes they applauded.

There were costumes and special effects: dark cloaks and purple top-hats, thin staves and curses. A blurry soundtrack by rasputina, shifting in and out of our attention, in the hands of Holly somewhere behind the curtain. Flight and magic spells and monsters. Puppet strings. Ravenous things stumbling in the shadows.

One of them, tiny and dark and vindictive, was hopelessly in love with me. She tried to undermine my control, to betray the threads of our own story, to twist it to her design and by the story make me love her–but it only made the story more complex, more spontaneous and more beautiful. I could see in her eyes that it was real. She loved me. I thought of her as author, my equal, a balance for my own vampiric presence in the tale I spun–a witch nemesis in lover’s form. I shunned her–but I let it go on. I let myself believe her intrigues were part of the structure of the story’s creation, but I knew they were really a part of the story. It was an evil thing of me, a selfish thing. She was my creature.

When I woke, it seemed I had been asleep for days.

To Wander the Orange Night as a Naked, Madman Vigilante

I traveled back in time to a hallucinatory and romanticized version of my first few weeks at Tufts, with the specific purpose, a la Back to the Future or the odd flashback jaunt in Final Fantasy VII (which I had been playing the night before), of averting some historical disaster.

Tufts was orange and twilit, its streets packed full of visiting parents, roaming bands of debaucherous freshmen, and greek organization talent scouts. The shrubberies were perfectly groomed, the imported flowers were blooming merrily in the dark, and there were a lot of glass-walled lounges strewn about everywhere that do not actually exist. Also, it later became apparent that an entire section of the Medford side of campus (and part of Medford) had been demolished by a widespread and disastrous fire. As you drove past you could see the old people whose houses they had been picking through the wreckage salvaging what they could. On the other side of the street, the Tufts Side, the dwellers in Tilton and Bush Halls were partying in the ruins in mad post-apocalyptic style.

Diana and I wandered about, taking in the sights, and performing whatever mundane tasks for which our presence was necessary but minimally important(again, as in Final Fantasy). We visited her dark and purple-lit dorm room to collect her fencing equipment, during which jaunt I gushed to her about how amazing it was to find Tufts so vibrant and new–how it made me feel vibrant and new as well–a return to innocence, maybe. This wasn’t how it had really been; I knew that. But I thought it was simply the exuberation of hindsight that brought about the change. Which I suppose in one sense it was.

We stopped in at one of the glass-walled lounges, sat in couches upholstered in dark blue and discussed our ‘future’ with those we happened to meet: Erin, and Paul from Omaha of all people, who I knew just as well as he did hadn’t gone to Tufts. But that didn’t seem to bother him. He asked me if I was excited for the Phish new years’ show, which suggested to me that this must be 1999. I wanted to tell him about it–that it would be the best show I had ever seen and would ever see. But that was incongruous with the timeline, and I didn’t want to fuck with the continuum.

With plastic fencing foils, Erin and I dueled our way around the lounge, dodging the bewildered and annoyed parents. We kept pretty even–the score was four hits to five when we quit.

In the demolished area around Tilton, there had been some kind of tear in the fabric of space-time that allowed the young, vibrant tufts to interact with the doomed, bleak-future version, and which had as a side effect created a bubble of reduced gravity. The drunken freshmen were taking full advantage of this, led by Ara Yarian. Out of curiosity, I joined them for a time, bouncing moon-gravity-style through the torn out walls, sitting perched atop shattered furniture, drinking shitty beer. Ara did not recognize me, as if he were just some kid I had not yet met at Tufts (a la Aidan, for example).

I spent the last part of the dream rummaging through my cluttered garage (which somehow had been transported into the post-apocalyptic micro-g zone) in search of the props I would need to wander the orange night as a naked, madman vigilante. My dad would occasionally come out and yell at me to go to bed. I ignored him. I had collected a tiny, nipple-slung flashlight and a leather satchel which I can only assume had my camera in it, and was in the act of selecting a suitable wooden cudgel from among my arsenal when the alarm awoke me.

Thwarting the Hillbilly Torturer

Me and about a dozen other people were being held prisoner by a grizzly ex-military hillbilly in a big old southern farmhouse on a hill in the middle of nowhere. This hillbilly enjoyed the occasional bit of amaeturish torture, but mostly he just liked mocking us and holding us in annoyed and frightened suspense. He had lots of guns and knives, an apparently endless supply of tiny dead-end rooms, and the uncanny ability to be looming outside your door at all times.

We the imprisoned conspired endlessly against him. He actually made this quite easy for us; it seemed to bring him great pleasure to keep us perpetually on the verge of escape. Early on he actually gave me free roam of the grounds, having deprived me of anything I could use as a weapon, because he knew I wouldn’t try to run away without rescuing the others. As I walked around the house, I was continually astonished at his audacity, at how loosely guarded everything was. All the windows were wide open, with only flimsy screens to keep us in. The screams of his victims filtered out into the air, and probably carried for miles.

I couldn’t really blame him for his laxity, however–as I myself was having a surprisingly good time trying to thwart him. At one point, I actually awoke from what could easily be considered a nightmare–but was enjoying myself so thoroughly that I had to go back to find out how it would end.

On two occasions, I fought our captor hand to hand. In the first, I wrested an assault rifle from his hands and stabbed him in the back with the bayonet. It had almost no effect, and before I could get to the trigger he grabbed the muzzle and forced it away. Then both he and I reached with our free hands for the little silver-plated pistols he carried on his belt, and ended up pointing them at each other’s heads. He taunted me, daring me to pull the trigger. I hesitated, then jerked my head away and fired. Nothing happened. The bastard had carried them in unloaded, just so he could trick me into going for them!

“I just don’t understand it,” I said. “I’m bigger than you, and younger! I should be able to beat you!” Of course by this time I had figured out that he was combat-trained, but this was the usual bent of our conversations–like Bilbo in the dragon’s lair, I fanned his ego every chance I got, trying to make him get careless. I scarcely needed to. At one point he deliberately left a three-inch folding knife on the windowsill in my room, just to taunt me. What could I do with it, when a five-inch bayonet rammed between his shoulder-blades didn’t even slow him down?

My cell was a narrow third story cul-de-sac with only half a door that opened onto a five-foot wide hole in the floor, through which poured an impossibly slow indoor waterfall. I rapidly discovered that by leaping into the stream, I could transport myself down into a bedroom two floors below where three women and one man were being held. With these I held many a hasty conversation on the possibility of our escape. We determined it would be too dangerous to break a window, as some of us might get out, but we would certainly attract the bastard’s attention and in all likelyhood get gunned down. We couldn’t get through the screens without a tool of some kind, and these were all in the bastard’s possession. So all we could do was bide our time and look for an opening.

Opportunity arose one day when the old bastard, having finally decided we were too much to handle by himself, left the house to gather reinforcements, in the form of another ferrety little ex-military man and a ravenous black attack pig with rubber bunny ears tied to its snout. He was not without a sense of greusome humor, our jailor.

As soon as he left, I got out of my room, leapt across the chasm, and went looking for my brown satchel, which I had had with me when we were captured (though I couldn’t for the life of me recall when that had been, or what the circumstances). I found it just as his old pickup was pulling up the long, dirt drive, and before fleeing back to my room had the time to reach blindly inside and grab the first two round, hard objects that came to my hand: an ancient pineapple grenade and a Cadbury Creme Egg.

In my room, I regrouped, and considered my options. He certainly knew I had these things, and given his habitual clairvoyance, chances are he would realize I had gotten out. But what was I going to do? Blow up the house with me in it?

I heard him coming up the stairs, with his crony at his heels and the pig snuffling ravenously on its leash. I stood behind the door and braced myself, with the same flippant abandon with which I had earlier pulled the trigger of a pistol while he pointed another at my head.

The door opened. Crack! went the sharp seam of the grenade against his temple. He went down. I hit him again, as hard as I could. He was out cold. I shouted to the others on my floor: “He’s down! Come on, we’ve got to go!” They appeared from their rooms just as I did: two men, wild-eyed and desperate. The crony and the pig were nowhere in sight, but at the bottom of the stairs, I glimpsed a foreign object: a small white box full of wires and tubing. A tiny red light winked on and off. Then there was a pop, and white vapor began to hiss out into the hallway. A bomb! Not only had he anticipated his own defeat, he had prepared for it with a fucking chemical weapon!

“Poison gas!” I screamed. “Get out! Get out!” It was too late now. There was no way we could save anybody but ourselves.

I took a breath and hammered down the stairs, past the bomb and out into the atrium at the back of the house. I was trying not to breathe, but still I could smell the smoke–acrid and burning in my nostrils. I smashed headlong through a window, splintering the wooden slats and getting who knows how much shattered glass stuck in my arms and face. I sucked in a breath. The other two were right behind me–and behind them, the crony and the pig stood in the ruins of the atrium, grunting and calmly loading a shotgun.

I looked at the grenade still clutched in my hand, and the Cadbury Egg in the other. “Now or never,” I thought, then: “Mmm, Cadbury Egg!” I was saving that for my reward.

I depressed the lever, pulled the pin, and counted to three. A tiny spurt of flame burst from the grenade. Was that supposed to happen? Too late now. I reared back and tossed it. My stomach wrenched as I realized the armed grenade was still in my hand.

The crony lowered his shotgun, and we all ducked. Boom!

I threw it again. Swish! went my arm through the air. There was another little spurt of flame. No good. We all ought to be dead, I thought. I dropped the Cadbury Egg, peeled the grenade free from my palm with two fingers, noticing some white sticky stuff left behind as I did so, and fumbled it onto the atrium floor. The bastard had sabotaged my grenade!

“Run!”

We ran, stumbling down the hill into the brush. We threw ourselves to the ground, and turned to look back. Smoke billowed placidly from the open windows, swallowing the shapes of the pig and the crony. There was no explosion. Like I had figured: the grenade was a dud. Stupid Army/Navy store!

The three of us looked at each other. “Gentlemen,” I said, “I think we should consider the possibility that he is still alive.”

Hours late, it had dawned on me. This was all part of the game.

The pig and the crony emerged from the haze, snout to the ground and shotgun held at the ready, advancing steadily down the hill.

I woke to daylight.