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    1. Dreams are like a box of chocolates

      by , 03-07-2016 at 10:33 PM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      The plan for my next lucid was to invite The Goddess on to a late-night talk show that I would host. I would ask her a few things, including "Where did you come from?" I scripted a joke for her to deliver: she would point to the stage curtain from which she entered the scene and say "from over there." The audience would laugh. Then I'd ask again and she'd give me a real answer. None of that happened as planned, but I did get my question answered.

      I fall awake into a field. This is not My Field, though. My Field is an infinite, featureless expanse of grass. This field looks more like a real place, like a city park. The grassy area is dotted with trees. In the distance I make out a road, cars, and townhouses. Immediately in front of me is a lone young boy sitting on the grass. I've seen a boy like this many times in my dreams. He has a mop of blond hair, a blue shirt, blue shorts, and little blue shoes. He's always quiet, sitting, and playing with a toy firetruck. He seems engrossed with his toy and his imagination. He doesn't interact with anyone or seem to acknowledge anything around him. Sometimes he is in imminent danger but still isn't aware. I think of him as a young innocent version of myself. I don't bother him. I just watch as he plays.

      I try to get a better look at his toy truck. It's bright red and shiny. Of course, red reminds me of The Goddess and also my plan that involved her. I look to my right and there she is. Tonight, she wears a simple, casual, sleeveless red dress. Her hair is chestnut and straight.

      Most of the scene around us has dissolved into pure whiteness. It seems like The Goddess and I are in a dreamlike art museum. The boy on the grass is still there, but that part of the scene now seems like an animated picture hanging on the white walls of the museum.

      She walks up to me, balances an arm on my shoulder and leans her hip into mine. I feel the weight of her body and I know its her way of communicating trust and closeness. She joins me in looking at the boy like we're looking at a piece of art. I look at her and remark that she is work of art. I look at her smile and think about Mona Lisa. But today, The Goddess doesn't have that kind of smile. Now thinking about her whole demeanor, there is something different about her today. No seduction. No tease. No mind games. No femme fatale. She's just casual and happily content. She's not hiding anything. But she must be hiding something, she always is. What do you have up your sleeve? I remark again that her dress has no sleeves.

      I am puzzled by the fact that there seems to be no puzzle. I follow her eyes to the boy. Then back to her. Then her eyes move from the boy to me. And something clicks. Is this her son? Is this OUR son?

      I don't have to ask, she can read my thoughts. Without word, she nods yes. But there's something else in her expression. As if to say: Oops.

      This makes me panic. I don't want to play this role. Fatherhood is a very tender wound in my psyche. She trusts me, but she really shouldn't. Especially, of all things, not about this.

      My reflex is to reject the idea. I stagger backward and think to run. But because she was leaning her body on me, she now suddenly falls and lands hard on her knees and elbows. She emits a low whimper. She really seems hurt. Her hair is now tussled and hides her face. I see drops of dark red blood drop on the white floor under her. Maybe she broke her nose or cut her lip.

      Now I immediately feel remorse and shame along with my panic. I'm torn between the instinct to run away and the instinct to help. That traps me and I do neither. In trying to protect myself, someone else got hurt. And not just anyone, but the one person I would never try to hurt. That is textbook tragic irony.

      I look to the boy and he remains oblivious. In a way, I was trying to protect him too. In my twisted logic, the biggest danger to him is me, so I protect him by avoiding him. More irony.

      Paralyzed in this cognitive dissonance, I wake up. Well, that was intense. I try to work through the puzzle.

      I rehash, but don't dwell on the obvious Freudian stuff. Mother. Father. Child. Betrayal. Irony. Guilt. Blah, blah, blah. I don't entirely dismiss it, I just prefer to engage the fiction in a more personal way.

      I think about the motifs of falling and catching. I "fall" asleep and become lucid by "catching" myself. As for the Goddess, I've "fallen" for her and I "fall" for her tricks and traps. We also "catch" each others' jokes and I try to "catch" the meaning behind her riddles. I think how I spend so much time trying to "catch" The Goddess. I'm always chasing after her, like the coyote and the roadrunner. It is tragically ironic that this time, when I really should have caught her, I didn't.

      I also ponder a parallel motif, which is of falling, gravity, and trust. We demonstrate trust by "leaning" on people and looking for their "support."

      Yes, interesting stuff, but it doesn't yet gel into anything. I start my epilogue.

      Thank you, Goddess. I'm sorry. I will try to catch you next time. I didn't "catch" the meaning of the dream though.

      Since the dream ended abruptly, I play the meta-game a bit, which is to try to guess the final outcome and then work backward to how events ought to transpire. I wonder what she might have said next if I didn't wake up. That might have revealed the intent. Maybe she would have said "I forgive you." Or "I still trust you." Nah, too trite. Maybe the son isn't mine and it was all a misunderstanding. That's another kind of irony. Maybe the boy is me, as I speculate, and the meaning of this cycle of birth and identity is more symbolic than literal. Maybe. Too Freudian for my taste though.

      What would she say? I start to see that, I'm questioning what she would answer to my question, which was my original plan for the dream with the talk show. This coincidence gives me a glimmer of hope that I'm on the right track. She would say something unexpected. Hence the futility of the meta-game. So what would really break the game?

      And then, from the depths of my psyche, a surprising possibility enters my thoughts, as if delivered from The Goddess herself. She would have said: "Run." That's the one thing I wouldn't expect her to say because running was the cowardly thing for me to do. But if she tells me to run and I run, then there's actually no irony. How brilliant. She would take a scenario steeped in irony, only to find the un-ironic outcome. That's very meta.

      I think more on "Run" and I recall Jenny from the movie Forrest Gump who tells Forrest on several occasions to run. The relationship between The Goddess and I is a lot like Jenny and Forrest. I flash on the scene in Vietnam when Forrest is in a similar situation to my dream. Given the choice between running to save himself and going back to help others, Forrest chooses the braver path. The "smart" choice is cowardly and the "dumb" choice is heroic (irony). I flash to the scene near the end of the movie when an even more obviously similar situation happen. Jenny reveals to Forrest that her son is his. Forrest's initial reaction is concern because he is afraid this boy will suffer all the same things that Forrest endured, but the opposite is true because the boy is "the smartest in his class" (irony).

      Then Jenny dies of AIDS, which is an auto-immune disease. An auto-immune disease in one in which the body's system to protect itself -- the immune system -- turns and starts attacking the body (irony). I wonder, What if The Goddess died? This is ironic because gods are immortal. My recall of the movie flashes on two scenes where Forrest stands over the grave of his mother and then later at Jenny's grave. In these scenes, he considers the metaphysical question of destiny versus randomness and comes to the conclusion that "maybe it's both." He also recalls moments in his life when he witnessed beauty and the divine even in the midst of fear and conflict.

      Beauty and the divine. That is surely The Goddess.

      I think even more because this word "divine" summons another related memory. Before Forrest Gump was a film, it was a book that I read. There's many scenes in the book absent from the movie. In one such scene, Forrest is a teenager when he is seduced by an older woman, who gives him a type of candy called divinity. This is Forrest's first sexual experience and he doesn't really comprehend it. He just remembers: "I sure did like her divinity." I read this when I was about 12 or 13 and it was one of my first encounters with sexuality. I amuse myself that maybe, this was the moment when The Goddess was "born" in my head. Not a real character, but as the archetype of the femme fatale: the seductive and savvy woman with ulterior motives. And just like Forrest, maybe I fetishized the memory with a connected object (divinity) rather that truly comprehending the sexuality.

      And so, I arrive back of the beginning. I wanted to know where The Goddess came from and she revealed it to me, just not as I planned. She sent me an adventure through my emotions, memories, philosophy, and fiction.

      Thank you, Goddess. I will try to catch you next time.

    2. Signs

      by , 03-07-2016 at 03:54 PM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      A sidewalk

      I find myself on a city street in a quaint little shopping district. It almost looks fake, like a movie lot. I am on the sidewalk and the streets are lined with little shops. There are parked cars and some moving cars, but I don't see any people.

      I look in the window of the shop I am standing in front of. In the window, there are two large hand-painted signs. They read:

      'Happy' is what makes you smile.

      'Funny' is what makes you laugh.

      Hmm. Quite interesting. I start to look closer and ponder what deeper wisdom these statements might hold. But just as I do so, a woman jogs past me from left to right, briefly interrupting my view. My gaze follows her as she continues to jog, unaware of me. She is stunningly beautiful. She wears bright red leggings and a black jogging bra that leaves her midriff bare in between. It's The Goddess, of course. From the side glimpse I got as she passed, and even looking at her from behind, I can tell her breasts are huge. She also wears neon green running shoes. Her hair is dark brown and gathered up in a simple pony tail. She wears headphones. I am filled with desire for her, but she is aloof. Just out on her daily run. She jogs to the end of the block and stops, waiting for the light.

      I start to run after her, but just as I do, the light changes and she resumes her jog away from me. As I give chase, I am entranced by how her body moves from behind. I could chase her forever, I think. But I immediately notice the irony of this statement. I'm not getting any closer at this speed, so I likely will be chasing forever.

      I stop running. She stops too at the end of the next block. I know if I start running again, so will she. She will always be one block away. I turn to look back and maybe find another solution.

      As I turn, I now see two other girls just a couple paces from me. They are pretty too, but in a different way. They look like identical twins and models. Platinum blonde hair, pale skin, and white clothes. Not jogging attire, but white halter tops and white mini-skirts. They are attractive but not in the best way, they look like bimbos. This is a recurring motif in my dreams, girls dressed in white who act as a foil to the more colorful Goddess. There arms are folded, which I take to mean they are impatient and closed-off. They glare at me with an annoyed bratty expression that says: "Umm, get out of our way, loser."

      I'm still horny though, so I quickly approach them and start grabbing at their bodies. It feels good and I focus on the feeling. They barely react; they just uncomfortably shift and grunt as they try to avoid my fondling. So, while it is pleasing to me in a purely physical way, I stop because they aren't enjoying it. And if they don't enjoy it then I can't enjoy it.

      I step away from them. They express some relief but still vain little brats. I look off in the distance, wondering if I can still catch the jogger in red. I spot her but she's really far away now. She's crossing another street and my sight of her gets lost among the cars.

      Oh well. I messed that up. I look to my left, into the window of another shop. Here, there is just one sign, hand-painted like the others from before. It simply reads:


      I remember the other two signs about 'Happy' and 'Funny.' What does it all mean? I transition to hypnopompia as I ponder what lesson The Dreaming was trying to deliver to me.

      Some cliché sayings come first, and it seems the numbers one and two are most prominent. I think of A bird in hand is better than two in the bush. Though in my dream it seemed the opposite: A girl in the bush is better than two in hand. Ha. That's a nice twist. That makes me think of killing two birds with one stone. And also, of the Buddha's parable of the two arrows.

      It's all interesting stuff and I'm amused. But I think, Yes, yes, Dreaming, but we've been down those roads. Duality. Irony. Choice. Desire. Vanity. Ecclesiastes. What was different about this one?

      Then I remember a children's story by Shel Silverstein. In the poem, a young boy receive a dollar from his parents. He trades the one dollar for two quarters "because two is more than one." In turn, he trades the quarters for three dimes, and then four nickles, and is finally left with five pennies. He started with $1 and ends with $0.05. Amused at this distant memory and how it might be connected, I recall that this poem is from a collection called Where The Sidewalk Ends and I was on a sidewalk in the dream.

    3. A Farewell To Arms

      by , 03-04-2016 at 11:09 AM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      I am observing a scene, as if watching a television news broadcast. Two notorious leaders of a Norwegian para-military group have traveled to Indonesia for a negotiation. The situation is tense. In the news interview, one of the leaders promises there won't be any conflict or violence as long as no governments get involved. But also in view is the other leader, the quiet menacing-looking one. The verbal placation contrasted with the silent threat seems ominous.

      The news cuts to some B-roll of a dirt field behind a modest hotel. The journalist narrates the recent events: "The para-military group has been peaceful so far as they move in and take residence in their hotel. At least one neighbor, however, has been angered..."

      The camera zooms in on a bull out on that dirt field. He has a light brown coat with spots. He has very long and thick horns. He toes the ground, looking ready to charge.

      And now, I am in the scene in first-person. Along with me is my mother. We are also checking in to this hotel, perhaps unaware of the strife surrounding us. I see the bull. Now his coat is very dark brown. He snorts and toes at the ground again.

      "Be careful Mom. Let's hurry."

      The bull starts to charge in our direction. "Mom! Move out of the way!" I move quickly forward but she continues at a walking pace. "Mom!?"

      The bull veers off and stops his charge. Phew. Maybe he wasn't targeting us. Maybe the animal just does that to release its emotion.

      Now, a beat too late, my mother hears me and starts to panic. "I -- I don't move very fast!" She winces and wraps her arms around her, as if to brace for impact. As she does this with her upper body, her legs shuffle her forward a bit faster but awkwardly.

      This sudden movement catches the attention of the bull, who is now re-enraged. He tilts at my mother and charges again. I only watch as the bull gores her with his horns and rams her into a nearby wall. The bull pulls back and wanders off. It's missing a horn now.

      I run to my mother. Her left arm is completely severed just below the shoulder, drenched in dark red blood. The bull's horn is still stuck in her and I can also see her exposed bone. I'm horrified. She wails in pain and fear. "I don't think I'm going to make it!"

      I wake, but linger in the hypnopompic state for a while. Hypnopompia is like a little lucid epilogue to every dream. I am awake and aware, but my mind is still working with absurd dream logic. It is here where I get some of my best thinking done.

      I notice my emotions and let them fade.

      Thank you, Anger. Thank you, Guilt. You played your parts to perfection. You can go now.

      And is that you, Condescension? And Hypocrisy? You mischievous little scamps, I keep telling you to stay off my lawn. Run along now, and go apologize to your mother.

      Thank you, recurring theme of hestitating-to-act-leading-to-tragic-irony. I saw your work in Hamlet, that was brilliant. You can go too.

      A bull, huh?
      Bulls remind me of Spain. Spain... Spain... I think of Ernest Hemingway and then I think of A Farewell to Arms. That makes me laugh and so now I am fully awake. (Turns out Farewell doesn't take place in Spain. I was confusing it with For Whom The Bell Tolls.)
    4. Game Over

      by , 03-02-2016 at 05:56 PM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      The Tutorial

      I'm playing a game again. It works like this. I am the leader of Canada but my title is "Warden." It's a resource management game where Canada is one big ski resort and the challenge is to make a profit. The resort is divided into provinces, each with a governor.

      My actions take place in a realistic three-dimensional world, but I am very much aware that it is a game. This is a common theme in my dreams. I guess the most significant aspect of games is that they have a designer. And much like the author of a story, it is the designer who decides, beforehand, what the outcome of the game will be (cf. The Stanley Parable). The players of the game do not determine the outcome, just like the characters in a story do not choose their fate. That's the crucial irony. The players' choices have been carefully framed and scripted to appear like meaningful actions but there's no actual freedom of choice. They are rats on a wheel, or in a cage, or in a maze, or whichever idiom you prefer. The outcome is predetermined.

      Back to Canada. The first scenario of this game is a tutorial wherein I learn how things work. We attract skiers who pay fees to use the slopes and also spend money on food, drinks, and après-ski entertainment. As the Warden, I tour the provinces to supervise everything. I wear a big blue watch. When I return to my office, I insert the watch into a console and it turns green. This activates a control screen from which I can administer the resort and view its finances. The most expensive thing (for the business, not the customers) is food. Food is cooked in a centralized location and then distributed to a network of nodes and finally the customers, but each node adds cost and waste. The nodes are connected by carrier pigeons who fly from one to the next, while carrying a plate of food. Other resources work similarly along this network of nodes.

      The tutorial ends. It was easy, of course. Now the second scenario begins and things have changed. Several of the provinces have gained independence, so the Canada I am left with has smaller revenues and barely makes a profit. Thinking this is a game, I see that I just need to optimize the operations to earn a larger profit. With enough earnings, I will be able to buy back the other provinces and return to status quo ante. Okay, fine. It's a bit too simple though for my taste.

      The Twist

      But the game introduces a twist. I receive a threatening phone call from someone we call "the attacker." He claims to have planted an explosive in one of the provinces and wants a ransom of $500 before midnight on the last day of the month. Okay. Again, seeing this all as a game, I'm not alarmed by the threat. It's just a twist that the designer inserted to make the game more interesting. So, in my jaded logic, instead of looking at my choices, I consider the possible scripted outcomes and try to work backward from there.

      The most obvious outcome is "game over" and we always want to avoid that, because we are well-trained mice. The bait outcome is to earn at least $500 and pay off the ransom, but we don't really like that either. While it "wins" the scenario, there's no cosmic justice if the attacker succeeds in his ransom plot. Again, I'm looking at it from the point of view of the design. The designer intentionally framed a win condition with undesirable ethical consequences in order to provoke the player to think of a less obvious solution. The player thinks he's "breaking" the game by finding a more clever solution, but without cheating. But the designer knows that players like this idea of "breaking" the game, so he specifically frames the game to allow it. The joke is on you.

      And thus, the meta-game begins. I can't lose. Winning the easy way is no fun. While I'm tempted to break the game, I know I can't because the designer has already scripted that. So, I just engage with the creativity of the designer and explore the other possible outcomes.

      I could find the attacker and arrest or kill him. Or I could find the explosive and disarm it. Those are viable ideas, but a bit facile. If there was one twist, there will likely be another, so the solution can't be so straightforward. Maybe the attacker has a dead-man's detonator. Or a second backup explosive. With physical danger, the stakes are high. And besides, the core of the game (the ski resort) is about making money, so it seems more likely that the outcome will involve money instead of action.

      I think, maybe paying the ransom could be a clever outcome if there's some irony to it. Maybe I could just borrow the money. Or counterfeit it. Or ransom someone else for the money. Rob Peter to pay Paul. Ha, that's kinda clever. Still though, that's the cynical outcome. I'm still hoping to win the game, and out-think the designer, and have my cosmic justice. Besides, there's probably another twist coming. Maybe the attacker will learn of my plot and double the ransom. Or ask for something else besides money, like a vehicle to escape in. Or a bride. Ha, that would be amusing too.

      I consider some more "breaking" outcomes. Like, what if I ignore the threat and just let the explosion happen? If the cost to repair the damage is less than the price of the ransom, then doing nothing is the economically "rational" outcome. It's just a resource management game, after all. No one really gets hurt. That's really cynical, but there's something appealing about it. Not cosmic justice, but cosmic irony. Going down the economics path, there's a chance the attacker is bluffing or a hoax. If you can compute the probability of those, you can arrive a more accurate fair value of the ransom, which will be less than $500. So I could build a computer to do that complex logic and let the computer decide if the price is worth paying (cf. War Games; Skynet from Terminator). The outcome may be disaster if it's not a bluff, but there's a self-righteous pleasure in proving that your logic was nonetheless "correct." But no, the designer knows me and he knows I like that cynical game theory stuff. So, that's got be a trap ending.

      By now, I've arrived at the conclusion that I probably can't guess the outcome. I can win the game, but the designer has defeated me in the meta-game. Maybe I can redefine winning so that my win will trump his win. What if I win the game multiple times over with a combination of outcomes? Arrest the attacker AND disarm the explosive AND don't pay the ransom even though I still earned enough money to pay it twice over AND prove that my solution was economically "rational" AND restore status quo ante AND have my cosmic justice AND my cosmic irony AND get the girl AND have my cake AND eat it too AND the last laugh AND the kitchen sink. And all without cheating.

      The Grind

      That was the fun part of the game. Now it is time to let it play out. I analyze the finances of the ski resort and quickly determine that there's no way I can earn $500 with just cashflow. Even if I optimize expenses down to zero, pure revenue wouldn't even be enough. I have to find another way to earn cash. I give up on the "pay the ransom twice over" goal because it's just not viable within the rules of the game. And if I break the rules, then the designer has successfully baited me into cheating and he wins the meta-game. So I do something that is allowed by the game, which is to sell provinces. Looking at my green control panel, they value in range from $100 to $250, so I would have to sell two just to get close and three to be sure. I decide to sell just one and then earn the difference with cashflow.

      Next, I set about optimizing the operations for cashflow. This mainly involves re-organizing the food and resource nodes to have less waste and redundancy. I also fire employees and slash salaries to increase profits. I become particularly aware that the most profitable part of the business is not skiing but all the après-ski activities. That hardens my cynicism a bit more, but doesn't stop me from exploiting it.

      The Climax

      The end of the month and the deadline for the ransom is approaching. I only tell one other character about the ransom. He is one of my provincial governors and I call him "the lieutenant." I enter my office with the lieutenant as midnight nears. Looking at the finances again, I calculate that I will reach $500 very soon but there's an element of randomness so it might happen just before or just after midnight. I know the attacker will call to demand his ransom at the deadline. The fact that we almost-but-dont-quite have the money and we seem willing to pay will get the attacker to negotiate or maybe lure him into a trap. I don't know what the outcome will be, but I played by the rules to get the $500 and now I think I can get the attacker or his explosive for a dramatic finish.

      The attacker calls and both I and the lieutenant answer. The attacker taunts me: "Your time is almost up Warden. Where's my money?"

      I explain that we don't have it yet but will soon. We just need a little more time.

      "C'mon Warden, I've see you with that flashing green watch. You've got the money."

      Wait, what? He knows about the watch turning green while I'm in the office? No one but me and the lieutenant should know that! He must be able to see into the office. He might know my whole plan and call my bluff. I get the lieutenant to keep him talking on the line while I duck out of sight. I look under the desk, nothing. I crawl along the ground, searching for hiding spots. I still hear the phone conversation on speaker phone. But now, I hear the attacker's actual voice, slightly out of sync with the speaker. He's in the room!

      I pull out my pistol and follow his voice to a nearby bed. I look under and I see him. He has eerie glowing green eyes. He points a gun at me but keeps talking to the lieutenant. In his other hand, he shows me the detonator, a dead-man's switch. I knew it. I can't just kill him. We have to negotiate or get him out into the open.

      Now, he gestures with the gun in the direction of the door, like he wants me to cooperate. Is he trying to include me in his plot? I hadn't considered that outcome, joining the enemy for a share of the ransom. Clever, but no cosmic justice. Or maybe he's just afraid and doesn't know what to say. Maybe he's a coward, in way in over his head, looking for a way out. That could work. I decide to follow in the direction of his gesture, which leads me out of the room. Maybe if he sees me willing to cooperate, he'll just give himself up. I'll save the day and then take pity and clemency on him. I hadn't considered that outcome either, by hey now, that's a ton of cosmic justice.

      I walk out the door. As I do, the attacker springs up and grabs the lieutenant. He has a hostage now! Good twist, but well in line with some kind of action outcome. The attacker walks out of the office, brandishing his hostage, his gun, and his detonator. I keep my pistol aimed at him, but I can only stare as he backs down a hallway.

      At least I have him in the open. I have my watch and use it to call for backup. The other provincial governors rush in, pistols drawn. There's about 10 of them, all dressed in black suits. We now have a standoff. The governors are yelling at the attacker and he yells back. Two of them start to sneak around the attacker. One yells, "Get down Warden!" I dive out of view, so I don't see what happens but I hear a struggle. No gunshots or explosions.

      I crawl back into view and see the lieutenant has wrestled away from the attacker and he took the detonator too. That means the attacker is an open target. I see him and in a flash he returns my gaze with those glowing green eyes. It creeps me out, recalling when I first saw him hidden under the bed in the office. Without thinking, I fire one shot at his chest, but it actually hits him in the head, instantly fatal. As his body slumps forward, I now see the rest of him. He was on his knees with his hands up. His gun was on the ground. He had been subdued and was surrendering but I shot him. Horrified, I look as two more bodies behind the attacker fall over too. They are wearing black suits. My shot went through the attacker and hit two of the provincial governors, also fatally.

      I look at the lieutenant and the other remaining governors. They don't speak or emote. Just a tense stare for a beat as everyone tries to comprehend what just happened. Then they start to move. Collecting the bodies and beginning the investigation.

      The End?

      After firing my pistol, it separated into three parts and scattered across the room. I collect the three parts and start to reassemble it. But this is just something to keep my hands busy while I cope with the emotions I am feeling.

      I am beset by guilt and uncertainty. I'm not sure if I won the game or not. Maybe this was a technicality. Regardless, now I'm starting to think all that game stuff was all in my head. This wasn't a game. It was a story. And stories have an element that you usually don't find in games: a tragic ending.

      No explosion. The attacker dead. I guess that's one brand of justice, thought not the cosmic kind. Two loyal public servants dead. They'll be treated as heroes, but that's little solace for the dead. I saved the $500, but that seems trivial now. The lieutenant seemed the real hero. I don't know what happens to my character. I'm left with the knowledge that the only living people who witnessed what happened are me and the governors. They could defend my actions. Even lie and blame the attacker for taking the shot that killed the other two. Or they could tell the truth and say I shot a man who had surrendered. Only the lieutenant knows about the ransom and the $500. Will he be loyal to me? Maybe we could use the money to bribe any of the witnesses who don't cooperate. To protect myself, I might continue on lying and scheming, but I'll always be stuck with the guilt.

      And how did the attacker know about the office and the watch? Only the lieutenant knew that. Maybe its really him behind all this. Et tu, lieutenant? I didn't actually see the struggle when he get himself free. Could it have been staged? To my other complex emotions, I must now add betrayal and paranoia.

      I ponder all this as I exit that scene and walk outside. It's a striking mountain landscape. The sun is just rising over the ridge. In a movie, that means the story is just beginning. Another movie trope enters: I hear a voiceover from a local news broadcast, but it's not about the conflict. I found it to be a fittingly ironic tag on the end.

      "With the ski season in Canada coming to an end, the snow will soon recede and leave the ski slopes covered in grass. But with some mowing the slopes will be groomed for summer use as..."

      Updated 03-02-2016 at 06:00 PM by 35793

    5. Metafiction

      by , 03-01-2016 at 07:53 PM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      A very long dream. It surely must have been multiple connected dreams, but I never explicitly chained. Nonethless, even while morphing, the narrative was strong and connected throughout. There are just a few spots of lucidity but some very rich thematic content. I don't have DILDs so often anymore, but when I do they become these sprawling bizarre sagas.


      We begin in a large army tent. I am attending a reunion of the cast of the TV show M*A*S*H and I recognize several of the actors. They perform a skit, satirizing the show (which, itself, was also a satire). Alan Alda is playing the role of Hunnicut and the actor who played Hunnicut is playing Hawkeye. This is evident because they have swapped hair styles. Or maybe it's Trapper instead of Hunnicut. We all think it's hilarious. Soon it's time for bed and everyone finds a makeshift spot on the furniture or the ground to sleep on. As the lights go dark, I hear Colonel Potter shout something. I think to hush him, but first I wait a beat in the hopes that no one else was disturbed. It's quiet for a moment. But after another beat, everyone starts shushing the Colonel at the same time. It's as if everyone was thinking the same thing as I was: to wait and see if anyone else will act before taking action for oneself.

      I get up and slip out of the room. Perhaps I was thinking to go to the kitchen to get some water for the Colonel. As I exit that room, I am now in the Daisetta house. In the dining room ajoining the kitchen, I find more characters on the floor, trying to sleep. But one of them is listening to a radio and that is preventing them all from sleeping. The man with the radio turns out to be J, who is technically my Godfather even though we have long since lost contact. I help him up and quietly get him to turn off the radio.

      "What are you doing on the floor?" I'm not fully lucid, but I am aware that I am visiting a place from my past. "We had a futon in this house, you could have slept there." I turn to lead him to the office/guest room, but in our path enters my sister. Uh-oh. Not this. (Dreams with my sister tend to be boring, so I have developed the reflex to avoid her.) I turn back around. You're on your own Godfather, lotsa luck. Walking away leads me into the kitchen, which is a dead-end. Trapped! Survival instinct kicks in: I had better eat. I scan the fridge and pantry, looking for something to eat. Anything to lead the narrative somewhere else. Not finding anything, I turn to the counter and my sister is still there. Grrr.

      A Strange Orange (but not clockwork)

      On the counter are some oranges, so I grab one and start peeling it. Looking more closely, it's a strange orange. It's not full and round, but rather shrunken and withered. It doesn't seem spoiled though. Opening it, I find the center is hollow and surrounded by a dryish pith with stringy fibers and seeds. Quite like a pumpkin. I intuit that my Godfather brought these along with him with his visit. They are some rare variety and he gives them as gifts as a novelty. It's quaint, but pretentious, so thinks I. And I would be an expert on pretentiousness.

      My sister is still there, watching me struggle with this orange. She imposes: "You have to remove the seeds like this." She demonstrates scraping her fingernails along the string fibers to free the seeds, which are also rather pumpkin-like. My indignation boils. Oh yes, please, Your Highness. Won't you educate me in the fine art of orange peeling? Liberate me from my ignorance. Sarcasm notwithstanding, I copy her anyway. It's tedious removing the seeds and I'm almost done but really just want to taste the thing once.

      Before I can taste the orange, my labor is interrupted by the voice of my mother from some other room. "Bring your sister!" It's not a bad idea. Ditch the sister with the mother and let them annihilate each other like matter and anti-matter.

      I wander through a few rooms, following the sound of her voice. But now it seems that I'm in an airport, as if I have just picked up my sister from travel and now we are to find the parking lot. We exit through a side door and are briefly in a courtyard with tables for eating. There sits my father. My sister and I walk past. I say, "Oh by the way, there's your father." We glance, but just walk on by and through another door.

      More doors and now we're back in the dining room of the Daisetta house. Sigh, I'm always going in circles. Still pushing that rock, eh Sisyphus? Can Penance with no end be fairly called Penance? I think the right word is Damnation.

      The DCs from before are gone. Just me and sister. I sit at the dining table. She sits too and pulls out my laptop. She starts typing something and, as I peek at the screen, I see she's writing a journal entry using the same software that I use. I become rather nervous that she might have read one of my journal entries. On the other hand, at this moment, it is me who is snooping on her journal. Tu quoque?

      I stare at the screen. I notice that she uses a font different from the default, like I do, both in my dream journal and personal journal. Her font choice is much stranger though, almost wingdings. I continue to stare, trying to read the words but distracted by the font and how each letter shows an animation as it is added, simulating a typewriter effect (or affect). The periphery of the scene fades to black around the glowing screen.

      "Can" and "Should"

      The software on the screen changes into what looks like an image-editing program. This change seems to have disrupted the entire scene. Maybe we're through to the other side of this modern looking-glass? We are still in the dining room but it's no longer my sister using the computer, it's a teen-aged girl. As best I can tell in the dim light, she has dark brown, almost black, hair cut to shoulder length and very pale skin. She might have a stud piercing in her lip or nose, I forget which. She is aware of me but pays me no mind. She is as entranced by the glowing screen as I was.

      Without a word or a glance, she hands me the device, which is now a tablet instead of a laptop. She pulls out another one for herself and resumes her revery. Now in control of my own device, I try to determine exactly what this software does. I see that it is called "Tiny Perfect" but that doesn't give much hint to its function yet. I am first given the option of a range of numbers. I choose 18-19. Now, a grid of pixels appears with some more guide lines overlayed on the grid. I intuit that 18-19 is the number of pixels in length of the side of a square area. With this square now defined, I can choose an area of the image to clip. The image on the screen is of the dark-haired girl (no doubt a selfie she took when she was holding it). I clip the area around her face. The software makes a scissor-snip sound and clips the face. It then transforms that realistic face into a cartoonish avatar, and shrinks it to the size of an icon. I guess that's what "Tiny Perfect" means. This little image now slides into a collection of many similar images of girls faces, all practically the same, only differing in the shade of color for skin and hair. I am not impressed by this modern tool of vanity. (He wrote. "He" being the author of a public dream journal.) Yet another feat of software that is all about coulda, not shoulda.

      A second girl enters, perhaps the friend of the other one and about the same age. This new girl has long straight blonde hair and just a bit more complexion in her face. Freckles, maybe? Besides the slightly different features, these two girls belong to the same "type," if I may so judge. Without a word or acknowledgement, this girl sits in my lap and takes the tablet from me. And just like the brunette, this blonde assumes an empty gaze at the screen.

      I am confused and annoyed. My attention turns to my body, with this strange girl taking residence in my lap like it was nothing. I put my hand on her leg, but she doesn't react. She wears black skinny jeans. I move my hand up her inner thigh, but still no reaction. Conflicting urges and cognitive dissonance fill my mind, which ironically causes my lucidity to peak. Very literally, lucidity means "clear thinking" but that would be the opposite of my mental state. I simultaneously feel desire and aversion to this little jailbait. Knowing that this is a dream only complicates things. The wiser part of me steers my inner thoughts from What CAN I do? to What SHOULD I do?

      Yes, what should I do? Always with the questions, I am. I should... I should fuck this chick silly. Why not? No, I should slap this little brat from jumping into my lap. Respect another person's space. That'll teach her. No, I should take her tablet away. That will really make her mad. An eye for an eye, a tablet for a tablet. But I catch myself and reflect. Is Vengence what I really want here? Sadly, the word "should" only invites my self-righteous side. However, I know enough about myself to steer away from that course too.

      Okay, forget CAN and SHOULD. What was I SUPPOSED to do? The right question makes for an easier answer. Rather than make a choice right now, let me instead trust in a choice that I had previously made, when I was in a more reasonable state of mind (that is, when I was non-lucid; the irony continues). I was supposed to bring something to my mother. Okay, yes, let's do that.


      Having chosen a new plan but not a very interesting one, my lucidity is fading now as I return to some more rote territory. I leave the dining room. Of course, the two girls take no notice -- still and forever staring at their screens. I enter the door for the master bedroom, but now it seems I'm back in the parking lot next to the airport. I walk out into the clear day. Nice to be outdoors. Though a bit glum. It's a smoggy airport, all concrete and the noxious smell of fuel. I walk to a nearby administration building, wherein I will find the office my mother works in.

      I navigate office hallways. It's busy and crowded. Over-crowded, I'd say. Some offices, some cubicles, characters having conversations in hallways on benches and standing. Dull, flickering florescent lights reveal the aging white walls and plain, cheap furnishings. I notice that everyone is dressed casually. I get the help of someone, a tall black man who seems to know where everything is and keeps a positive and friendly disposition. I find that surprising, considering that I imagine working in a crowded and busy place like this would burn me out very quickly. In my mind, I walk a mile in his shoes and it doesn't seem very pleasant. Some people are just different though, and they thrive on sociability. My mother is like that, and that's probably why she's here. And why we have so little in common.

      I finally find her office, but our encounter is brief. I deliver her some paperwork. I think it was a questionnaire I had completed for her. She tells me to talk to someone with a G-name who will lead me back to the parking lot. But she warns me strongly not to listen to another woman with an L-name, even though this person works in the parking lot.

      I leave her office. I'm not sure I understood her directions. How will I recognize who these Mr. G and Ms. L persons are? Besides, I just came from the parking lot -- can't I find my way back on my own? How do you get lost in a public building like this? I mean, it might be a bit confusing but there are always signs and maps to guide visitors. But just as I'm entering a hallway that leads to a clearly marked exit, a man stops me and introduces himself as Mr. G and starts to turn me around back toward the office cubicles. Just as I turn, in the distance of the hallway that leads to the exit, I hear a woman shout at me while she is restrained by guards. "Wait! I'm L! I can show you the way!" That's weird. But she gets lost in the sea of people crowding the hallway.

      Mr. G leads me through the building to a meeting room where many other people -- employees, as I take them -- are waiting for a meeting to start. Mr. G says he will be back soon with the directions I need and I should wait here. He leaves and the tall man from before enters, still friendly and sociable, but I start to suspect he's meant to guard the door so I don't leave. I take in the room. There's about 30 people, mostly in a ring around the edge of the room, leaning on desks and chairs. They are waiting that kind of impatient waiting that happens when people are in public and becoming bored and frustrated, but know well enough to remain civil. As before, they are all dressed casually and, as I look a bit longer, I notice about half of them are wearing Denver Broncos gear. Hmm. Fair-weather fans... Of the remaining half, there's still a lot of football teams represented on their clothes. And most of them are chewing gum, which peeves me.

      Gauche... I snark, and smile a cruel grin of self-amusement. But again, I scold myself for my recurring misanthropy, this time in the form of elitism. Lest ye be judged, I remind myself. Once again, the dissonance rekindles my lucidity. If I'm dreaming then these aren't real people, so what does it matter if I judge them? Point. But if I'm dreaming, then these characters are me, so isn't the judgement directed at yourself? Counter-point. They's probably looking at me, so what cruel judgements might they be making of me? Point. But if we're all doing the same thing against each other, don't we all share some universal commonality? Counter-point. Caught once again in my own paradoxes, I again resolve to just accept the experience and continue.

      What was I supposed to be doing? Right, the directions from Mr. G. C'mon, man. Let's giddyup, I don't want to be stuck here. On cue, the tall man gets my attention and leads me back out to the central cubicle area where we find Mr. G, who hands me a slip of white paper taped to a folded piece of red paper. They bid me a hasty goodbye. I find a relatively quiet corner of the room and examine the papers, first the white. In pencil, there are some neatly written instructions: "Take the 474 to the 929, but you must arrive before 5."

      Wait, what? I look around for Mr. G or the tall man, but they are gone. Are these numbers of freeways or bus lines? Was 474 supposed to be 747? Is that an airplane? My dismay grows into frustration. I was just going to the parking lot! I drove here! Why would I need a bus or a flight?! I look back at what I'm holding, in particular the red paper to which the note was taped. If it were a bus schedule, that might make things clear. But no, it's a pamphlet that describes how to submit a formal complaint with the office administration. That really pisses me off. Yes, I have a complaint. No, I do not delight in this irony (not at the time anyway, later maybe). I draw a short but powerful breath, like I'm going to start throwing punches.

      My lucidity is now overflowing. Fuck. This. Place. I turn to the hallway, which is conveniently once again that straight path with the clearly marked exit at the end. I storm through the crowd full of resolve but not much purpose, if that makes sense. Without a plan I walk through the exit. I suppose my intent was: Anywhere but here!

      Can you tame a crocodile?

      I exit and once again I am outdoors. No office buildings. No parking lot. No airport. Not even the house. I'm in a bright and vivid park. The sky is clear. There's grass and trees and curving stone pathways. I see circus-like tents and stages. I hear splashing water and barking seals. I must be in an animal-themed amusement park. There are people strolling. A blond-haired man in front of me laughs a hearty laugh as he speaks into a cellphone with an English accent.

      I draw another breath, this time long and calming. I feel almost dizzy with relief and my lucidity eases to a lower but still acceptable level. I was supposed to get back to the parking lot. But I can do that later. I'm here, and apparently, I got in for free. So why not take advantage and spend the day here? Then I'll find the parking lot.

      I walk toward one of the attractions, which is partly obscured by trees but it seems to be a giant pool in the middle of an amphitheater shaded by awnings. I hear more splashes and that giggling sound that dolphins make. It must be a water show. Drawn to it, I start walking along the paths through grass. I'm startled though, as I see a rustle in the grass to my left. It's a green crocodile, facing away from me but clear as day. It pauses, then scutters a few steps and eats a smaller crocodile in one huge bite. The croc now become larger and its skin turns from green to yellow. It moves forward again and eats yet another croc in one bite and becomes yet larger. It's skin turns to brown.

      I am a bit frightened. At least the thing is moving away from me. But in so moving, it's getting closer to a young boy who is playing on the grass. He has blond hair with a light blue shirt and shorts in a darker shade of blue. I don't act or even speak, but I feel a sense of panic for him: Kid, get away from the crocodile! I look back at the animal. They really shouldn't have these roaming free in the park! As I watch, I analyze. And a semblance of logic progresses. But they wouldn't do that if they were dangerous... So they must not be dangerous. Maybe they are tame crocodiles... Can you tame a crocodile?

      My panic has been replaced with curiosity. I take a closer look at the croc and realize that it is actually a series of animatronic puppets. They move and light up in particular sequence to give the illusion of eating and growing bigger. The series repeats over and over, merely for amusement.

      Relieved, I turn my vision elsewhere. But just to my right, I'm startled again. This time, there's a growling brown bear starting at me. Its fur trembles as it growls. Again, I feel fear but begin to recover. Ah, got me with that one... Another convincing puppet, right? Like the crocodile, right? I stare at the bear for a moment, looking for some evidence that it is indeed a fake. It doesn't move. And enough time passes that it seems it won't move. And no one else around me is afraid, so it must be just another amusement. As if on cue to confirm my belief, another young boy runs, jumps, and plants his foot on the bear, he balances and poses briefly, and then pushes off. A sort of parkour stunt perhaps. This confirms that the bear is just a fake piece of the scenery. Yet privately, I am thankful to this kid for helping to ease my concern.

      That was enough thrill for one day. Now, where's that parking lot?
    6. DiDi's Gone; The Goddess, The Clay, and The Potter

      by , 02-28-2016 at 07:30 AM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      I fall awake and I'm on The Moon. I came here to make a sandcastle for DiDi. As a way of saying goodbye, I suppose.

      The sky is pitch black but The Moon's surface emits a magical gray moonlight. I kneel down. The Moon usually has a fine dusty sand on it, but tonight it's just a craggy rock. No sandcastles tonight. The rough rock scrapes my hands and my knees start to hurt.

      Dismayed, I look around. I see The Goddess to my right. She's still, facing away from me so I can't see her face. She appears in black-and-white. I suppose the whole dream is black-and-white, though that wasn't obvious before as there was no color cue.

      She wears black thigh-high stockings and a short plaid skirt. She wears a half-shirt that reveals a bare midriff. The shirt in a more detailed black-and-white pattern, maybe houndstooth. In retrospect it's a pretty sexy outfit, but that's not the impression I had in the moment. Her arms are folded and, even though I don't see her face, her image just seems sad and frigid.

      I stand up and walk to her. "DiDi's gone." She doesn't react. I impulsively reach my hands around her bare waist. It feels real, but cold and stiff. She still doesn't react. I reach up under her half-shirt to feel her breasts and they too just feel stiff. A wave of emotion hits me, mostly shame.

      Rather upset now, my mind flashes on the clay and the potter, which has been on my mind for some days now, but why it would come to me now only made sense later. But anyways, thinking of the clay makes a potter's wheel appear next to me, this time to my left. On top is a lump of clay and it's in full color, which seems promising. It's that reddish brown that only clay is. My hands reach for it, hoping to mould something. But the clay, too, is stiff and cold and barely budges even as I lean my whole weight into it.

      I look at my hands. They aren't distorted but they tremble, as if weak. Unfocused, The Dreaming shudders and I wake, left alone in bed.

      I reflect. Shall the clay ask the potter: What makest thou? It's a theological question and, though I'm not religious, it still interests me, especially in the context of dreaming. It's been on my mind for a couple weeks now, since it appeared in a previous dream. I think about the clay and The Moon. My hands. Another phrase dawns on me: What hath God wrought? Yes, it's all kind of interesting and it amuses my curiosity, but it's also a bit facile and trite. I mean, I'm just dabbling in this theological stuff in an intellectual way.

      But then, for the first time, I make the connection of "God" and "The Goddess." It's right there under my nose, but it hadn't occurred to me before. So my mind lingers on that. I associate "God" with creation and omnipotence. But "The Goddess" is something else. She is perfection. I suppose that's sexist. But I'm hoping there's more meaning in it than that.

      Could she be The Potter? No. I mean, I'm obviously The Clay and not The Potter, no matter how grandiose my delusions are. I'm clay, She's clay, The Dreaming is clay. It's all clay.

      I don't see where this is going, besides an ego-check. Maybe that's enough. Goodbye DiDi.

      Updated 02-28-2016 at 07:43 AM by 35793

    7. Party Game

      by , 02-19-2016 at 03:51 PM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      This was a fun non-lucid dream.

      My recall begins as I am hosting a party in Las Vegas for some old friends. We've set up a private game of blackjack. After a while, someone gets upset and accuses the blackjack dealer of cheating. They look to me to resolve the issue. I say it shouldn't matter because no one was gambling with real money. But it turns out my friends were.

      I restart the party. But now, it seems to be like a computer game, controlled through a screen interface. The object of the game is to host a successful party, which mostly means giving away free drinks from a beer keg. The first few game levels are short and each adds a new element. I finish the first few. Now, in addition to drinks, I can offer appetizers and set up attractions like a blackjack table.

      But after a few levels, I get stuck. I realize that an important wrinkle to the game is to arrange the attractions around the venue so that people can move freely. If too many partygoers get stuck tying to get through a door or waiting for a drink, they lose interest and leave. Now learning this, I decide to start over from the beginning and plan the layout of each party better.

      Everything restarts once again. But now, it seems I am hosting each party in person, not via a computer screen. It's still a game though, and I play through a few levels as before, but with better planning that leads to higher satisfaction for the guests. The levels jump around from Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. For each level, I marvel at the outdoor views of the city. I appreciate the amount of detail that went into simulating each city. But after a few levels, I learn that this "game" is played in the real world. It's not a simulation. The cities are real; that's why the views look so accurate. The guests are real people and they choose to participate in the game mostly for the free drinks, but also to meet celebrities. That's a new element introduced in the later levels. You can invite celebrities, but they have more demanding needs to accommodate. And so, the game builds on its complexity.

      The game is getting harder, but not more fun. It's increasingly about pleasing the celebrities. And since they are real, they have ulterior motives for participating in my game. They want women and drugs and easy money by cheating at the gambling games. And they'll ruin the party for others at the slightest slight. I start to regret getting involved in the first place.
    8. Basketball, The Beach, Vignettes with The Players

      by , 02-18-2016 at 01:09 PM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      This was a very long dream chain. Maybe my longest ever.

      It all starts with a hallucination. Or am I dreaming? I can never be too sure. I'm in bed, waiting for the transition. To my right, a female figure appears, but transparent. This is not an unusual for a hallucination. I check my body. No, I get the feeling that it's not safe to move yet. She moves closer and becomes more solid. My thoughts race. It's The Goddess, but I'm not dreaming yet, so I should be patient. She smiles at me. She's very pretty, as always. Tonight, she has straight auburn hair and pale skin. But mostly I notice her seductive red lips.

      She is reading my thoughts. I don't know which thought triggers her reaction but her smile spreads wider and she whispers "For free." Puzzled and paralyzed, I don't know what to say. "What?" She smiles again and makes a clever gesture with her eyebrows. "Find me later?" My thoughts are still cloudy. I figure I'm probably dreaming now, but my dreambody doesn't feel ready yet. She disappears and I fall through. Typical.

      I fall awake into The Field. It's a bright clear day. In the middle of the grass, already waiting for me, is an asphalt basketball court. Just a half court with no floor markings and a modest hoop with a wooden backboard and chain metal net. This was part of the plan I incubated. I want to dunk. Something I could never do in real life. A ball appears in my hands, and, as I get a feel for it, I can't help but remark that this is all a bit silly. I can do anything here in The Dreaming. I could go to The Moon or summon a beautiful woman. But what I really want to do is dunk a basketball. Simple pleasures, eh?

      I do it once. It's... satisfactory. I try it a few different ways like backwards, and accepting a high bounce pass, and then an alley-oop. Yeah, it's kinda cool but maybe I was hoping for more. I suppose I'm still bothered by the idea that, even though I can do this in a dream, I could still never do it in real life, so I can't really know what it should feel like.

      Oh well. It was something to do and by incubating the scene, it's quite vivid and stable, so that's good. I feel confident that I have a lot of time to work with. The basketball court disappears into the grass as I contemplate a new scene. Hmm, how about The Beach?

      The Beach is another one of the stock scenes in my repertoire. Though, more so than the others, it's different every time so it's always a refreshing destination. Much like a real beach. I usually teleport to new scenes but tonight I figure I'll try terraforming the scene. I have to think for a moment how I will do it. I'm not actually that practiced at this kind of overt control. But let's give it a try.

      I look down at the grass and imagine it turning into water. My experience with overt control is just to be a bit patient and allow it to happen slowly it if needs to. In other words, don't be discouraged if it doesn't happen instantly. Slowly, the water starts to come in puddles. It's like all my footprints from the basketball court have filled with water, making the ground a swampy swiss cheese. Hey, that's kinda interesting. Emboldened by this initial success, I look up to the horizon and see the puddles spread as far as I can see. And then, starting at the horizon and working back toward me, the water seeps between and fills in. It's as if the edge of the world just sunk into the ocean.

      Aha, now we're cookin'. I'm still standing on grass but a vast body of water now extends before me. But this is supposed to be The Beach, so we need some sand, n'est pas? With a hand gesture, I sprinkle sand in front of me. And so a stretch of sandy ground extends in front of me a good 50 paces. That looks right. Now the still water has become a proper ocean with foaming crests and crashing waves.

      Proud of my work so far, I start tinkering perhaps too much. I'm prone to that. I turn to the grassy field that remains behind me and start pulling up the ground to create hills. It just doesn't seem right to have grassland right next to the beach. That's not how it is in California anyway. But as I pull up the ground, it forms squarish blocks of dirt, still topped with flat grass. Like boxels. Hmm. I continue tinkering but it just won't look right. Eventually I realize I'm doing too much and stop myself. I turn back to The Beach. At least that part looks good, so let's enjoy it.

      The Beach is now populated with some DCs. It looks like a real beach on a typical summer day. People in their swimsuits under their umbrellas. Swimmers and surfers out on the waves. Children delighting in the wet sand that appears as each tide recedes. Couples strolling together. And per usual, I ponder. They all look happy. I created them. I created all this. But I leave them alone. It's a pleasant scene to look at, but I'd rather not get involved. Is this what it's like to be God? To be so powerful, but always the outsider? Eternally suffering from ennui?

      And then I remember that old passage: Shall the clay ask the potter: What makest thou? A good thought-ending cliché, to be sure. But it takes on a more subtle meaning when you've experienced being both the clay and the potter. Regardless, it rouses me from my introspection. It's a nice scene, but let's not dwell on it. Let's move on.

      I fall into The Void and wonder where to go next. Not yet sure, I emerge at altitude above a mountainous landscape. I'm actually diving quite fast and I seem to be in the midst of a sandstorm. The air feels very sharp, if that makes sense. "Where are The Players?!" I yell, as if calling an SOS into a radio. Then the scene below become like a screen showing a tactical map. A computer-ish dot appears and flashes their location. I aim my descent toward it and soon land in a city scene.

      It's a rough-looking city. Sort of retro-futuristic, like Logan's Run but with more edge. Blade Runner? Actually I've never seen it. I think I have, but what I am actually remembering is The Running Man. But whatever.

      My memory of this section is hazy because there were so many vignettes, some too sexy to record. I'll just detail a few. I walk through the city, and as I encounter each group of DCs, I recognize one of them as one of The Players and they draw me into a short scene. And then on into the next one. All while in motion. Very Aaron Sorkin-like.

      I recognize Arlo and he guides me into a bar and hands me a drink. "Where is everyone else?" Before I can take a sip, gunshots force everyone to the floor. I army-crawl out the back entrance and run into a mall.

      Hurrying through the mall, I notice a bathroom to my right. A DC nods at me and winks. I recognize him as a Player and wink back. He leans his head toward the bathroom. A herd of women are walking in. Among them is a very tall one wearing a long trench coat. This is the target. The Player and I follow into the bathroom with me taking the lead. I look at my hand and make a pistol appear. In the bathroom, I find this tall woman and fire one shot at her mid-section. She doubles over and her trench coat opens, revealing that it's actually two short men stacked on top of each other, wearing an obvious wig and terrible makeup. I toss the pistol to the Player and he winks once more. "Nice shot, Hollywood." I continue on into another maze of hallways and doors.

      I emerge into an outdoor space with no one around. Phew. A moment of pause. I'm exhausted. How long have I been dreaming? And where is this all going? It started with Her.... Near me is a bank of video telephones. I tap the screen on one and command "Call The Goddess." The screen shows what looks like a security camera angle, looking down on a busy restaurant kitchen. In view is The Goddess. This time she looks cartoonish, like an animation of cutouts of colored paper against a blurry black-and-white background. We talk, I'm not sure about what. I was supposed to find her. But she seems really busy in this kitchen and tells me we'll have to meet later.

      Disappointed, I take in the scene around me again. Maybe I can find that restaurant that She is working at. But I see I'm at the edge of this city and just in the distance I see The Beach. I was there before. I'm going in circles. It's evening now and the sun is setting. There's just one pair of DCs left there; one of the same couples that I saw earlier. The man in light blue trunks. The woman in a salmon-pink two-piece. They face away from me, looking out toward the ocean. They don't move though. Maybe they aren't real. I mean, of course they aren't real because this is a dream. I mean, maybe they are statues. Or maybe I'm looking at a photograph. And now I notice palm trees. They really complete the scenic look. Damn, I forgot palm trees earlier.
    9. Ridi, Pagliaccio

      by , 09-26-2015 at 01:06 PM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      A bedroom

      I wake in a moonlit room. To my left is a window. I know I'm dreaming because the window shade is wrong. It should be vertical blinds in waking life but here they are horizontal. Reliable old dreamsign. I sit up and take in the room, but there's not much to see. A bed and four walls. Only the window is of interest. The blinds have conveniently disappeared. I fly and phase through the window.

      Outside is more of the same. It's a rather common scene in my dreams. A lone house in the middle of a gray desert. Just flat wasteland as far as the eye can see. There are no stars in the sky, but it's not quite pitch black. Just a shade lighter of ambient moonlight. I turn to my right and see that, at least The Moon is out.

      I gaze at The Moon, wistfully. Hello, Old Friend. Just you and me again tonight, huh?

      Light, windows, The Sun, and The Moon all play an important role in my dreams. It's how I establish a scene and my orientation. Obviously, the light indicates if it is day or night. I prefer to be outside in dreams because the visuals are bigger and there's more room in which to play. But there's more to it. My dreams tend to be at night, so usually the Moon is out. And I can stare at the Moon and notice its features more so than the Sun, so I suppose I've developed a greater rapport with the Moon. The Sun and The Moon always rise in the East, so whichever direction I find them is East. I don't know if it is a coincidence, but I usually find them to my right when I start to examine a scene. That means I'm usually facing North to begin a scene. If I venture away from my starting point, I tend to travel East because doing so keeps the Sun or Moon in my field of vision. I think maintaining this sense of orientation helps to keep a scene stable, so that, for example, things don't disappear when I look away from them. Moreover, the heavenly spheres and cardinal directions have cultural and mythical connotations, which might enrich the storytelling in subconscious ways, and that is welcome. And as a practical matter, it helps me rebuild the scene in my imagination during recall.

      Still looking at The Moon, I continue to reflect on the scene and my mood. This time, aloud: "Why is it so empty?"

      No answer. But as I look at The Moon, I think of The Man In The Moon and remark how the white face of The Moon might be like the white face of a clown. And instantly, I make the connection: Pagliaccio.

      I turn around and there he is, Pagliaccio, the sad clown. He is dressed in a white silky outfit with puffy cottonball-like adornments in place of buttons. He wears a white dunce cap. His face is all white except for a single black tear under one eye. I call him Pagli, or sometimes Paggy but that's my poor reading of Italian. In other contexts, he would be more recognized as Pierrot, but I prefer Pagliaccio because that particular incarnation is more nuanced and specific, relatable.

      He looks up at me with the same wistful look with which I looked at The Moon. He doesn't say anything. He doesn't have to. I know what he's thinking. Vesti la giubba. Ridi, Pagliaccio. It means, Put on the costume. Laugh, Clown.

      I am overcome by emotion and the dream ends. I try to introspect. What is this emotion I am feeling? Compassion. For Pagli? For the character? Is he not me? Compassion for myself? Pagliaccio non son. It means, I am not The Clown. But maybe I am still The Fool. Vesti la giubba. Put on the costume. You must put on a show. For who? There's no one in my dreams but me and versions of me. Is that why it's so empty? Am I too insular? Sigh, I'm ruminating.

      Ridi, Pagliaccio. Laugh, Clown. It really means, Laugh at your pain, because that is your role as The Clown and that's what the audience expects. It doesn't mean to laugh as some kind of therapy. At least, that's not the literal meaning. But maybe it is the ironic meaning? But who is the audience, anyway? What is the theater of dreams all about? How long should play at this game of Questions?

      Pagliaccio non son. I am not The Clown. It really means, I am not acting right now. And also doubly, You shouldn't take me for a fool. No, Pagli, you're no fool. You mean something. I'm not sure what. For now, I'll take you at your word, Old Friend. Ridi, Pagliaccio. Laugh, Clown. It might not be therapy for the character, but it is catharsis for the audience. Aren't I both?
    10. Tilting At Windmills

      by , 09-25-2015 at 05:20 PM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      A beachside road

      I fall awake on a grass field in broad daylight. Immediately in front of me is a two-lane concrete highway. And just beyond that is a sandy beach and then the ocean. I've never been here before. I look to my right and see a semi truck barreling in my direction. I step out into the road and challenge the truck to stop. The grill is bearing down on me. At the last possible moment, I jump and fly so that I crash through the windshield instead of the grill.

      The driver is a man in a flannel shirt. I grab him by the head and pull him out of the cab, flying above and clear of the vehicle. The truck continues on its own down the road. Annoyed, I fling the guy off into the ocean, never to be heard from again. Phew. Maybe I just needed to work some aggression out.

      The scene is now calm. I fly out a ways over the ocean and then turn back toward the shore to get a better look at everything. It is quite picturesque. I gather that I am now facing South with the road and the beach running East and West. To the right, the road follows the beach in a lazy winding path all the way to the horizon. Beyond the road is a green grassy expanse of gently rolling hills. The beach itself is quite narrow. Maybe 30 feet only of fine yellow sand. To my left, the beach abruptly changes to a wall of seaside cliffs that curl out into the ocean, forming a cove that hides the horizon. These cliffs extend inland as a highland area, and the road cuts through it in a narrow canyon. It is from this canyon that the truck came.

      "Where is Quixote..."

      A rider appears on horseback on the beach to my right, bearing East at a full gallop. He is some distance away but I know immediately that he is indeed Quixote. He wears the armor of a Conquistador-era Spanish knight with a lance. His horse is dark brown with a sable black mane and tail.

      "...and his man Sancho of La Mancha?"

      Another man appears on the road directly in front of me, near where the canyon opening is. He is Sancho, Quixote's portly squire. Normally he rides a donkey but today he is waddling on foot. He wears clothing of the same era, but not of a knight. He has a leather waistcoat and a jaunty hat.

      I fly down to greet them. We all meet on the beach in the shadow of the cliffs. Quixote is always eager for adventure, so I'm looking forward to what's in store for this encounter.

      "¿Cómo estás, Quixote?" I ask, still hovering a few feet off the ground as I usually do so I can get a better vantage point of the scene.

      "Bueno. El Portucale..." and then he continues to ramble on in Spanish, too fast for me to understand. He speaks with great urgency, as if describing a crisis. I think Quixote can speak English and he seems to understand me when I speak, but he seems more comfortable delivering his tirades in Spanish. I nod along and exchange knowing glances with Sancho. At least I grasp that Quixote has a very important adventure for us, and it has something to do with Portugal, one of the great rivals of the Spanish Empire.

      Finally, Quixote finishes. I turn to Sancho, who is more comfortable with English and often acts as our translator. Though, Sancho's translations tend to be very short and to the point, but I gather it's because Quixote doesn't really say much in his ramblings. "Basically, Portugal is causing trouble and we have to do something."

      Quixote nods and continues his spirited instructions. "Sí, sí. Nosotros...." We do the whole thing over again. I am amused as always. He finishes and I turn to Sancho again. "Uh, you should just follow us."

      With that, we head off through the canyon. Quixote galloping on horseback, me flying, and Sancho running as fast as his little legs will take him. Somehow we manage to remain a group. The concrete highway is gone now. It has been replaced by just a dirt path worn into the grass. We navigate the canyon, which quickly open back up into a broad grassy plain. We seem to have moved inland and left the ocean behind.

      In the distance, a windmill appears on the horizon. Of course it would be a windmill. We bear a ways closer and then stop. I turn to Quixote. He raises the visor on his helmet. He has a serious and pensive look on his face. His eyes are on the windmill, as if vigilant. He doesn't want to let it out of his sight.

      Amused as ever, I take the situation into my own hands. Leaving Quixote and Sancho at their siege post, I fly on toward the windmill. The sails are still. The building is round and made of yellowish-white sandstone slabs. Aside from the wind sails, it looks more like a castle turret. A parapet lines the rim of the roof and a lone narrow window appears near the top of the building. As I get closer, I see a woman in the window. Of course it would be a damsel in distress.

      I fly up to the window and hover outside it. The girl sees me. She has auburn hair and wears a powder blue shoulderless dress. Now that I am close to her, she doesn't seem to be in much distress. She's just leaning out the window, eating a slice of orange with a nonchalant expression on her face.

      "I'm here to rescue you?" I say, uncertain if it is the right thing to say.

      "I don't need to be rescued." She seems amused at all the ado for nothing. She reaches for another orange and, with a single magical gesture, she peels it. The slices inside fan out like the petals of a flower. She offers it to me. I take a slice and have a bite. It bursts with juicy orange flavor and sweetness. She smiles, pleased that I like it.

      "But, Quixote..." I turn to look back at my comrades, but they are gone. There is just the empty green plain, the clear blue sky, and the horizon where they meet.

      I turn back to the girl and I think we both shrug. With the same magical skill with which she peeled the orange, she runs a finger down her cleavage, lowering the dress until her breasts pop out. She give me a coquettish look, as if to say See? No need to worry. Not even need a bra.

      As usual, I can only laugh in amusement. What a delightful mis-adventure.
    11. Why Am I Carrying That Around?

      by , 09-16-2015 at 04:38 PM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      A bedroom

      I wake lying on my side, which is uncommon. I am greeted by three zombies scratching toward me. Ugh, not this. With a gesture I push them away. The room is lit by one long window opposite me, so the zombies are only in silhouette. They obey my command, turn and walk at an orderly pace toward the window. There is a shelf below the window and the zombies climb on it and sit, like a row dolls. Further away, I command. They crawl out the window and out of sight.

      There's not much else to tell about the room. The window is covered by a sheer white curtain that lets in filtered light. I compel the sun to rise outside and the window gets brighter but it doesn't improve the ambient lighting in the room much. How about some better company? A woman appears on that same shelf in front of the window, again in silhouette. I notice her long legs most prominently. She begins to walk toward me, but she looks like just a shadow. A bit uncertain, The Dreaming shudders. My lucidity slips and time skips.

      Another bedroom

      Now I am in a different bedroom, but still lying on my side. The light is a bit better here. I make out some furniture. It seems like a child's bedroom. The window has moved to the wall at my feet and there is a door to at the head behind me. Through the door I hear my mother and sister. I groan. I should have stuck with the zombies. I roll out of bed and through the door, which opens to a dining area and kitchen.

      A kitchen

      There are my mother and sister. My sister is panicking and arguing, as she always does. My mother is making excuses and casting blame, as she always does. I have trod this corner of my psyche much too often. And while I don't like it, I've learned not to fight it. My sister is my Self-Righteousness. My mother is my Cowardice. It does nothing to fight them, as it only fuels their insidiousness. Instead I have learned to counter them by cultivating their opposite positive forces: Empathy and Courage. But I am no saint, so often the best I can muster is Apathy.

      Their bickering is briefly interrupted by a woman who seems to be the owner of this home. We are guests visiting from out of town. The woman is middle-aged and has two kids. She explains that it is time for their family to go, but we three should stay and look after the house. They will be gone a few days. I intuit that the reason we are visiting is so that we will all attend a big party, like a reunion. The woman and her kids leave. Mother and sister resume bickering.

      Time skips ahead another day. My sister brings in the mail, which includes some thank you cards with photos from an event.

      "Look at the times on the photos!" My sister gripes. "This was yesterday. They went to the event without us!"

      "No! We didn't know!" The mother retorts. "The WiFi was off and we couldn't see the date."

      "Maybe they don't like us and they ditched us." I offer, partly with sarcasm, but also an invitation to look inward for the reason. "Or maybe it's our fault that we didn't know to drive separate yesterday." Not wanting to say or hear more, I return to the bedroom and lay down.

      A bedroom

      The family returns. There is commotion in the next room, but I don't catch all of it. More about the WiFi is all I hear. My sister enters and hands me my wallet and Social Security card. "We need to get ready to leave," she orders. I put them in my pocket but maybe they get lost in the bed sheets. I find it odd that I would be carrying around my Social Security card.

      Then the two kids enter. A girl and a boy. This must be their room. The girl looks at me through the headboard, which is a metal frame with narrow vertical bars. "Is this your bed?" The girl asks. Before I can say anything, she teases, "If it is, AT&T must not like you because you've only got three bars!"

      I look at the bars of the bedframe. Indeed, many of them are broken or gone. I look to my sister and ask "Wasn't this your bed a long time ago?" trying to move the conversation to something light. The bed reminds me of her old daybed and I suppose it to be a hand-me-down we have given to this other family.

      "Yes" my sister replies and she goes on talking with the kids about who-knows-what.

      I roll out of the bed, careful to refind my wallet and Social Security card which fits in a little sleeve. I wonder about what the girl said. I get bars but why AT&T? They don't make beds. Beds. Bars. Oh, bars like signal strength bars. I turn to her: "I just got that. Three bars."

      She gives me a goofy face, as if to say "Duh" and turns back away. What a brat. It was a mildly coherent joke and occasionally dream characters surprise me with their wit so I do try to acknowledge them when they do. I could do without this girl's sass though. Oh well. Nothing to get bothered about.

      I turn to the boy, who is the younger sibling and sits of the floor playing with a toy. He is quiet. I form no other opinion about him, but can say that "quiet" is a good trait for a child.

      The dream is fading. My sister gives me a look like "It's time to go." I double check my wallet and Social Security card. I still wonder, Why am I carrying that around?

      I always qualify that I am not really a Freudian but I think it's interesting to look at it from that point of view. The symbolism of my mother and sister is nothing new, nor is my detached reaction to it. The stuff about Self-Righteousness and Cowardice come from years of introspection, not spontaneous to this dream. The idea of signal strength and WiFi/network failing is a recurring dreamsign. I'm not sure exactly what to attribute it to. Maybe my level of lucidity? Maybe. The SS card is new. I suggest it might symbolize this near-useless baggage about my family and younger life that I don't need to carry around any more. It is part of my past but it is an identity that I no longer relate to and would prefer to leave it behind.
    12. Intruder, Blue, The Void

      by , 09-10-2015 at 04:58 PM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      A house

      I fall awake into a suburban house. It is dark and unfamiliar. I wander the rooms a bit. I don't find anyone but I do sense there is an intruder in the house. Searching a bit more, I come upon a man who immediately bolts out a side door. I follow him, chasing him away. The door opens to a side yard where it is night outside. I suppose things are starting to look like the Daisetta house. The intruder has stumbled into the street which is to my right. He is, I don't know, some dude. He wears jeans and a blue-and-white plaid shirt.

      I gather my bearings a bit. Now looking toward the street I find the Moon to my right, so I must be facing North. The scene is lit by a lone street lamp, but trees scatter the light. The man in the street is now taunting me. I charge out to confront him. As I do about three more guys appear and surround me. I am ready to defend myself. More guys appear, maybe a dozen now. They start to close in and we exchange shoves.

      I start to think this is a little pointless. They are just returning my growing aggression and that's why more of them are appearing. I think better of it and chose to rise above, literally, flying straight up. When I reach some altitude, I assume a meditation posture and allow the aggression to work itself out.

      A cityscape

      As I fly and meditate, I still sense I am moving from the dancing light through my eyelids. I seem to be heading East while spinning like a top, but not very fast. I am quite calm now. The light is growing stronger. I open my eyes. The sun is rising.

      I look down and see a futuristic city below me. I allow myself to fall to get a better look. I aim for the tallest building and stop to hover near the top floor. About three floors below the very top, there is a terrace surround by glass, so I lower to it and look inside. There I can see about half the floor area occupied by one large reception room. The rest of the area has no glass, just accessible from a door. In front of that door is a reception desk, where sits a girl of about 25 years with bright blue hair.

      She is all alone in this room. Her blue hair is what stands out most against a background of white walls, glass, and the orange dawn sunlight. She has an elbow on the desk and her head propped lazily on her hand, in a sort of Penseur's pose. She stares motionless and forlorn out the window, but not in my direction so she doesn't notice me. It's a curious scene if not very dynamic. Is she bored? Is she lonely? Am I bored? Am I lonely? Should I talk to her? I decide to leave her be. There's something about the stillness that I'd rather not disrupt.

      I look down. I am still about 100 floors up. I allow myself to fall further, which is quite exhilarating here between the tall buildings. The glinting windows rush faster and faster past me while the ground below starts to look big in a hurry. The thrill is a bit too intense and I wake.

      A house

      I chain back into the house. I scan the rooms again; this time I know the layout. The last room before the side door is a laundry room. Here I find my sister collecting a pile of clothes. I don't engage her. I'm not in the mood for that.

      I continue toward the door. What to do? Who was that girl? My thoughts remain on the previous segment, so I summon her as I pass through the door and look toward the street. There she is in her blue-haired splendor. She is navigating through the little gate that cordons the yard. Her hands are full with a purse in one hand and bag of what looks like leftovers in the other.

      "Hey, come here." I invite her to where I am standing, about 20 paces from where she is. The scene is still lit by that one street lamp which is mostly blocked by trees but where I am standing is the only spot in full light, so I want to get a better look at her. I notice the area a bit more. I am standing on a slab of concrete that reflects the light better and there is a round wooden picnic table just to my left.

      I see her a bit better as she enters the light. Her hair is indeed blue. Her lipstick is blue. Over her right eye, she has a tattoo of decorative blue and purple lines intertwined and framing her face. She wears just a blue bikini top and blue jeans. Her bare midriff reveals a tiny bit of definition in her abs.

      I gesture toward the table as if we might sit and eat. She walks slowly as if exhausted after a long day, but she is cheerful.

      "Aww, thanks baby. But I could not eat. I am SO full. I had the most AMAZING dinner. I had, like, TEN minions --."

      Did she say minions or mignons? No matter. She's definitely quirky, which I normally don't like but at least she's not that insecure, neurotic kind of quirky. She seems fearless, comfortable in her own skin. So, I like her as a first impression. Maybe a bit bratty and loud, but what should I expect from a twentysomething.

      I cut her off. "I want to hear all about it. But first, give me a kiss." She's still a few paces away. She smiles and bobs her arms to show they are still full with her bags. I take her to mean My hands are full, so if you want a kiss, come get it honey.

      I walk to her and put my hands around her waist. She is shorter than I, so she looks up at me and her face catches more of the light. Her skin is tan and youthful. Her eyes are big and wide, but interesting they are brown rather than blue. They glisten in the incandescent light and she gazes back at me with an open trusting look of a puppy. I pull her waist in close and kiss her firmly on the lips. We hold for a few seconds of bliss. No surprise, the dream fades.

      The Void

      I re-enter once more, this time falling awake into The Void. The Void is an empty black space that I fall into when I have no scene in mind. Sometimes there are twinkling stars. It might sound ominous but it's actually quiet pleasant, like a sensory deprivation chamber. I can hover, but more often I allow myself to fall because it creates a pleasant breeze against my back.

      The previous segment was fun. But didn't I have a plan tonight? Oh right, The Players. Or Quixote. Or Lenny. Hmm, not really a plan. More like a plan for plan. I suppose there probably isn't enough time for any of that so I chose to stay in The Void. I rub my hands together to gain a little feeling and then look at them. They are distorted. I fold my hands, assume my meditation posture, and empty my mind. And then for a short while, a different kind of bliss.
    13. Rendez-Vous with The Goddess

      by , 09-10-2015 at 06:52 AM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      This dream is so sexual as to be pornographic. I offer fair warning but no apology.

      A night club

      I fall awake outside a night club. I gather that it is night, but I don't take the time to orient myself with the moon or other landmarks as I usually do. From the outside, the joint is intentionally nondescript. Just a discreet building with an unmarked entrance. A red glow emits from the entrance, but that's all.

      I walk in eagerly. I scan the room. It is mostly dark with small columns of dim light that barely reveal the black and red furniture. It is crowded and noisy, but all just a blur. I am only interested in one person in particular.

      And then she appears: The Goddess. She is suddenly lit brightly by a spotlight. The rest of the scene recedes into to the black periphery. The Goddess may take any form, but today she is the more usual persona that I associate with her, which is a sort of Marilyn Monroe/Jessica Rabbit archetype. She wears a brilliant red sequin dress that glitters in the spotlight. The neckline plunges between her cleavage and all the way below her navel. The skirt is short, about mid thigh. Her hair is blonde and short, teased out to a wavy volume that perfectly complements her hourglass shape. Her lips are bright red. Her eyes, tastefully not overdone.

      She rises from a couch and saunters in my direction. I know she's coming toward me, but she remains supremely aloof to begin. This is The Goddess's appeal. She exudes an effortless feminine perfection. Her hips sway and finally, our eyes meet, but she barely reacts. Her Mona Lisa smile spreads just a little. It is as if she sees through me, or sees something deeper within me. Her look, her movement, her attitude -- she is bewitching me.

      She nears. "Hi Naughty Boy." Today, her voice is high but not quite squeaky. She stops an inch further than I'd wish her to. She leans in as if to kiss me but stops and only our noses touch. Her smile spreads more. She is well aware of her flirtatious, almost cruel tease and delights in it. Her hands find my chest. She adjusts a button on my shirt and straightens my collar. It is her way of getting playfully close, but not yet sexual.

      Our flirtation usually starts with me saying "You look familiar." But I can't speak. The oxygen has left the room. I don't have to say it. She reads in on my face and emits a giggle. She draws a long breath and exhales with a content cooing sigh. She slowly twirls, revealing the back of her dress and her perfectly curvaceous form. The dress is mostly backless. Her hair is long and brown now, again magically complementing the seductive lines of her spine and silhouette. She adjusts her skirt a little, drawing my attention down to her hips. I can only stare.

      She turns her face back to me. Her eye makeup is darker now, more obviously seductive. Her mouth now shaped in a coquettish come-hither pout. "Was this what you wanted?"

      I have no words. I move closer as she leans back and releases her weight into me with another cooing sigh. The feeling of her body against mine is intoxicating. There's something profound about it. It's like she trusts me and so I feel a great obligation to honor her trust. She is The Goddess and I am a mere mortal. I don't know what she sees in me. But I do very much enjoy our flirtations so I do my best to please her.

      I am operating only on instinct now. One hand reaches for her breast; the other to her inner thigh. What little was left of the night club scene is now gone. It's just me and her. I hear her moan in pleasure and that's probably the last sound I can detect. The feeling of her buttocks in my lap makes it impossible not to thrust. Our clothing disappears and now I'm inside her, filling as much of the volume of her whole body as I can. My vision flickers as I imagine how we look from all angles. I don't see her face, but I hope it is an expression of pure bliss.

      My other senses fade as intense pleasure radiates from my groin to fill my entire perception. I try to bring some attention back to my hands, and it is as if I am caressing every curve of her body all at once. Then back to the impossibly long strokes as I grow larger and larger inside her and she squeezes tighter around me. The friction, the pressure, the heat -- it is indescribable. I unload like a hose inside her and I feel her whole body spasm with satisfaction. We hold this for a long, perfect moment. I pull out, still gushing. For a moment now we aren't touching and that's profound in a way too. The sensation of not touching gives contrast to the touching, giving vividness to the memory of the moment that just passed.

      Now, The Goddess is more presence than form. I sense her giggle again, without sound or motion. Yes, that was what I wanted.

      Updated 09-10-2015 at 07:05 AM by 35793

    14. Secret Mission with The Gourmand

      by , 09-06-2015 at 04:03 PM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      A restaurant

      I am a new recruit in a secret dream task force. I am here at this restaurant to meet my partner, The Gourmand. He doesn't look like a secret agent. He is portly, loud, and loves food. He gives me a Dream Unit, which is a folding tablet that is disguised as a normal computer but also has technology to track agents in the dream world. Through flashes and intuition, I gain an understanding of how things work in this fiction. When we fall asleep we enter an alternate reality that all people enter when they dream. This other reality, called trans-reality, is as valid as ours, called cis-reality. Normally, dreamers are randomly assigned to another identity in the dream world, but the Dream Unit allows us to remain ourselves with our memories and intentions, and to communicate between agents in both realities. The Dream Units also require a nearby Transmitter, which is a little electronic cylinder about the size of a bike pump.

      A small town

      Our first mission sends The Gourmand and me to a small town, both in cis- and trans-reality. It seems European, with narrow crooked streets an quaint little houses and shops. I don't know all the details of the mission so I follow The Gourmand's lead. First we need to find a spot for the Transmitter, which we stash in a remote alley. We learn that near the town is a little mountain village in trans-reality where a popular comedian will be doing a rare double show tonight. Our target will be at the second show.

      Meanwhile, I show off the Dream Unit to some friends in cis-reality. I allude to its secret functionality but don't tell any more.

      A mountain road

      The Gourmand retrieves the Transmitter and I drive us up the mountain toward the village. I take a wrong turn and my partner gives me some grief because he knows a shorter route. My route takes us a bit away from the village. We set up the Transmitter here because it will be safe, but The Gourmand is concerned about the range not covering our mission area. We then head into the village.

      A mountain village

      My partner and I split up. The Gourmand heads to the local hotel to gather information. My task is to attend the comedy show, find our target, and follow her to her next location. As it is a double show, I buy a ticket for the first show and watch it just because I like the comedian. Between the shows, I walk out to the parking lot and spot my target trying to buy tickets for the second show from a scalper. After some haggling, she decides not to buy a ticket and instead walks away. I shadow her to a Chinese restaurant that looks like a gang hangout. Rather than follow her in, I return to the hotel to meet my partner.

      A hotel bar

      The Gourmand has been at the hotel bar, entertaining a group of strangers with his knowledge of food and drink and showing off his Dream Unit. I guess he is gathering information, but I'm not sure what exactly. Maybe he's just having a good time on the company dime. I join them, and he's certainly an amusing fellow, but I want to get on with the mission. Finally, we head to the restaurant.

      A Chinese restaurant

      We enter, despite the suspicious looks of the gangster bouncers. Inside, the lighting is all red and the place is crowded with people. We navigate through the restaurant as my partner finally informs me that the target is a man going by the name "David Robinson" but I'm not sure if we are here to save him or assassinate him. In one wing of the restaurant, a man is making a toast and thanking several people by name in the crowd. When he thanks "David" and a man stands up to receive a cheer, we know we have found our target. David suddenly falls, as if shot, but the noise of the crowd makes it impossible for me to know. Everyone charges for the exits and I'm dragged along with them.

      A mountain road

      Some time later, I regroup with The Gourmand. We should have returned back to cis-reality by now, but there's something wrong with the Transmitter. We find it where we left it, but it is out of power. The situation could have been worse if it had been discovered or damaged. It was a rocky first mission and this final detail is another difficulty, but we just need to recharge it down at the town.
    15. Setting Up The Play

      by , 09-05-2015 at 08:55 AM (One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy)

      I enter, as usual, via WILD-sink-through-the-bed

      The Field

      I hit the ground running with an enthusiastic gait. I have a plan today and want to get right to it. The Field looks a bit different today. The sun is already up. As I jog a few steps, the grass in front of me grows into taller hedges, cut into pathways like a hedge maze. Interesting, but I can't see over them. I wonder aloud: "I thought the grass was lower?" I make a squash-down gesture with my hands and the hedges lower to be about knee-high shrubs. "That's better." It looks nice, like a neatly maintained garden that you might see at a museum or university.

      I zig and zag through the pathways and then slow my run as I approach what looks like a suitable clearing. "Where are The Players?" I shout. This is not a question; it is a command to summon The Players, a group of recurring DCs. Sure enough, the troupe of actors come running in from somewhere to the North and East. Today, they look like a diverse group of fresh-faced twentysomethings in contemporary attire. Like young thespians right out of college.

      The Players are, in my imagination, the troupe of actors who play all the DC roles in all my dreams. But when I want, I interact with them as if they were actors rather than as the DCs they portray. It is sort of like a backstage pass to the theater of my dreams. Even as The Players, they still look different every time, but more consistently as actor stereotypes.

      The troupe falls in line like a company of soldiers in front of me and stand at attention, but easy, smiling, eager. There are about 20 of them.

      I address them: "We are going to do something different. We are going to stage a play."

      This is received with a cheer and big smiles. One of them speaks up, a handsome young man with dark brown hair and oh-so-perfect stubble for a beard. He is Arlecchino. The anglophone audience would know him as Harlequin. I call him Arlo. He is more often than not in Harlequin costume and speaks with an Italian accent, but not today. Actually, when they aren't in costume I never really know which is which, but Arlo is the leader so he is always whoever speaks first.

      He asks: "What play will we do?"

      "Arlo, I leave that up to you. I might give you some more direction later." They all seem to understand. My hope is that we will continue in another dream. They break formation and huddle into small groups, I suppose to brainstorm ideas for the play, or maybe they are just chit chatting.

      One young lady approaches me. She is no doubt the Player who I sometimes call The Goddess, but she is playing it rather cool today. She is dressed down in a t-shirt and jeans. She has long dark brown hair, simply styled. She has a youthful face with a beauty mark on her chin. She sidles up to me, casually but flirtatious enough that I know where this is going. She leans her weight into me, hip first, and I am struck with her pure feminine-ness. No doubt, The Goddess.

      Today she speaks with a thick French accent with an affectation of imperfect English. « You know, I think, maybe, zees play does not need clothing. »

      "Uh huh..." I play along, flirtatiously.

      « You know, maybe, it could be just you and me, in zee nude, in a room. You, with a camera. You are good with zee camera, no? » She teases me, pretending to hold a camera and point it a me.

      "Always a good idea. We will have to continue this later, my dear." I don't want to linger too long with The Players. I want them to do their own thing. She pouts adorably, but knowingly lets me go.

      I leave them. I'm just going to explore now. I set off East and a bit South flying toward a building.

      An office building

      How to describe it. It is a modern, open building plan. There is a long narrow patio in the center, and on either side are open-air walkways that connect further into the building. I fly through the central patio, wondering what this building might be. There are no people to be found. The patio eventually dead-ends so I land on a walkway about 3 stories up. Going deeper into the building, it now seems high security. Every door has a complicated-looking electronic lock and entry system and all the lights are blinking red, which I guess means they are locked. I arrive at a stairway guarded by a laser field. Hmm. I turn to the nearest door. I've never seen these locks before but I just start pressing buttons. It always works if you hold one button until the light changes, and then you press another button. The light turns green and buzzes. Easy peasy.

      I enter the room and, either to my disappointment or amusement, it is a bathroom. There are a few stalls, each with a heavy metal door that looks like it could resist a tank shell. Ha! I think. What a well secured toilet. Well, I'm not sure what to do next, but I do still have The Goddess on my mind. I suppose I'll take her up on her offer right here.

      With the intent to summon, I start to open one of the stall doors and command: "Where's my pus--?" And in the stall, a cat appears. I laugh. I totally deserved that. Amused as always, I pick up the cat, but she kicks away and runs off out of the room. I follow into the hallway but this dream is coming to an end and starts to fade. Good times.

      In retrospect, while I only considered sex at the very end, I think a Freudian view would be that the office building was entirely sexual. Navigating the long patio between two buildings was like traveling the space between two legs. I arrive at where they meet and find the highest security and finally a forbidden place, but I am able to unlock it. Then a bathroom and more protection. And then the cat. It's almost cliché, now that I think of it.

      Updated 09-05-2015 at 09:40 AM by 35793

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