Was feeling “sinus-y” after dinner tonight and took a decongestant/Benadryl combo and then a catnap. This dream was the result. For those of you who want me to try my hand at fiction, be afraid – be very afraid.
In the dream, I drive out to visit my friend – um, we’ll call her Imogene (names are being changed to protect the innocent). Imogene lives in the sticks – in the dream, that is. In real life, Imogene would never move out to the sticks, because she knows that I have a West Side Bubble Complex thing going on and whine and complain mercilessly if I have to drive outside of a five-mile radius of my home. But in the dream, she lives waaaaaay out in the sticks – in a primeval pine forest, like something out of “The Fugitive.” So I drive out to visit her, and our other friend – we’ll call her Melba – arrives at the same time, and we walk in together. In the dream, Imogene has a creepy boyfriend. He’s like every abusive hick boyfriend you ever see in the movies – slumped in an easy chair, beer in hand, face illuminated by the glow of the television, which is the only light source in the room. We walk past him and into the bedroom, where we sit on the bed and talk with Imogene, which is kind of weird, but, whatever. At some point, abusive hick boyfriend (hereinafter, “AHB”) comes into the bedroom and announces, “Imogene, I’m home.” Not, “I’m ready to go to bed, so your friends needs to leave,” which would be rude, but not weird, and not that rude, because we are sitting on the bed. Instead, he says, “I’m home,” which is weird, because, well, duh – we just walked past you. So I announce that I’m going to leave, and AHB mumbles something about needing to drive down to the road as well. Instantly, the hairs on the back of my neck prick up. His manner is creepy and his motives are suspicious.
So, of course, I run from the room and through the house, and I jump into my car and drive off into the dark, with him in hot pursuit. Wait, what? Okay, a little tidbit about me (the real me, evidently not the “dream me”): I have a highly developed sense of self-preservation. Highly developed in the sense of, “once I thought someone was following me, so I drove to the police sub-station that was blocks and blocks out of my way and parked in front of it until the person drove away.” I have been known to go back into a store or set off my own car alarm if something makes me uncomfortable in the parking lot. And, one memorable day in my early twenties, when a domestic dispute from the parking lot outside of a Marshalls spilled into the store, I ran into the next section and dove under a clothing rack immediately upon hearing a man shouting and a woman screaming – with nary a thought of my mother shopping a few racks away from me. Hey, every man (or woman) for themselves, right? (That was the day that I came to the cold realization that, if the stuff ever goes down, you most likely will not see my name and the phrase “selfless act of heroism” in print together – but it is entirely likely that you will see my name and the phrase “appropriated a stranger as a human shield.”)
Nice anecdote to be sharing at a minute past midnight on Mother’s Day, huh? But I digress.
Clearly, “dream me” is not “real me,” because the dream me drives off into the primeval forest in what one immediately recognizes as the set-up for – well, just about every horror movie ever made. I don’t wait for Melba to walk out with me; I just go, and AHB is in hot pursuit. I can’t tell you what happened next, because my brain yada-yada’ed over the car chase itself (so, on second thought, maybe I do retain my highly developed sense of self-preservation when asleep, because clearly my unconscious mind did not want to upset me with scary details?). Next thing I know, the car chase is over, AHB is in police custody and – oh, I failed to mention an important detail. In the dream, my friend Imogene has a half African-American child, who looks exactly like the kid on the cover of Little Wayne’s “Tha Carter III” album – well, minus the tiny suit and the bling, but he has the big eyes and the nonplussed expression. And, somehow, this child ended up in the back seat of my car – or perhaps in the back seat of AHB’s car. Although AHB didn’t really strike me as a car guy – I’m guessing pick-up truck – but I can’t confirm, on account of the brain yada-yada. Anyway, the authorities are there, someone is holding scared Little Wayne Child, wrapped in a blanket, and I am standing there, shaken up, and talking to someone official as well as a guy who, apparently, is a close friend of AHB and is in the dream purely for the purpose of giving me insight into AHB’s mind. Close friend of AHB looks like Josh Todd, lead singer of Buckcherry – tattoos, longish hair, vaguely inmate-y, but sort of hot. I ask Josh Todd Dude if he thinks AHB intended to molest or otherwise harm me, and he says, “Oh yeah, totally.” I then ask Josh Todd Dude if he thinks AHB will come after me after he gets out of prison. “Yup.” Someone Official assures me that, given the myriad of charges (child endangerment, attempted vehicular homicide) against AHB, AHB won’t be eligible for parole for ten years or more.
But what happens after ten years? Dream Me is starting to panic. Is the witness protection program in my future? Can’t imagine cutting all ties, so I briefly consider suicide (because, um, yeah, that doesn’t involve cutting ties, right?). I also consider just showing up at prison and offering the guy a conjugal – why wait around for the other shoe to drop?
At this point, my brain processes that (1) this is getting pretty twisted and (2) Betty White is hosting SNL in an hour. So, I wake up, and then one of my other self-preservation tactics comes into play: I briefly go back to sleep, and I edit the dream. I have been doing this since I was a kid – I wake up from a scary dream (and I ought to point out that I’m not one of those people who has a lot of scary dreams; in fact, I rarely remember my dreams, period, and nightmares are a couple-of-times-per-year occurrence), catch a breath, my now conscious mind rationalizes through the problems in the dream, and I end up re-dreaming a more palatable ending. So, tonight, the editor in my brain came up with the following: AHB goes to prison, and using an assumed name I become his prison pen-pal. In that capacity, I send him care packages. LOTS of care packages, containing lots of sweets.
AHB dies from diabetes complications in the prison infirmary in year six of his sentence.
I blame the medication and the metric ton of Mexican food that I consumed at brunch which, clearly, had a hallucinogenic effect. But that’s for another post . . . .