Night of Strange Dreaming

I was going to discuss Joel Lane’s story “The Sleep Mask” today, with its concept of dream debt, but serendipitously I had a slew of weird dreams of my own last night, so writing about them instead seems apposite. I don’t usually remember my dreams, and have no idea what set this lot off – perhaps the ginormous cheese and potato pie I devoured Sunday night finally caught up with me, or Morrisons’ blueberry and lemon crowns have hallucinatory side effects, or could even be that my subconscious is fretting about the state of the world and the impending rapture.

In the first dream a friend and I were going for a swim at the seaside. We’d just stepped over a wall which reminded me somewhat of the front at Hunstanton only there was a pier off to the right, so it could also have been Cromer inspired. Down on the beach the sand was piled up in huge walls that we had to keep scaling and then we came to a place where there was white painted metal showing through the sand, a letter “S” emblazoned on its side, and as we gazed at it we realised it was all that was showing of a vessel that had been washed up and buried in the sand. We could hear engines humming and my friend thought there might be people trapped inside. He said it was a Scorpion class lifeboat, though I had no idea how he knew this. We started looking round for an emergency phone box so that we could call somebody.

And that was when I woke up, and there was still humming in the air, one of my neighbours running their washing machine for the sake of white metre electricity. Almost immediately I went back to sleep, and this time I was going down to the beach to show the buried vessel to my father (who died nearly forty years ago), only he wasn’t particularly concerned about that, instead pointing out to me that the tide had gone really far out, so far out that we couldn’t even see it, and there was this feeling in the air, like something was going to happen. Dad said a tsunami was coming and we should get as far inland as we could.

In the third dream I was working in an office, only it was laid out more like a schoolroom with rows and rows of us seated at desks. A young woman with black hair and a bubbly smile was walking round talking to everybody, including me, and I was falling in love with her, only then she started singing to the guy sitting in front of me. The song was weird, the lyrics something about having a friend who was a lesbian, and it finished with the line ‘Do you want to f**k me?’, chanted over and over again. And everybody was in an uproar at this, and I was really annoyed that she was singing it to this other guy and not me. Then off to my left a large Christmas tree fell over, and the guy it fell on top of was talking to somebody on the phone and just carried on as if nothing had happened.

In the fourth dream, I was having trouble with a laptop (even in my dreams computers screw me over), only it wasn’t really a laptop so much as a book in the form of a laptop, and I kept turning the pages looking for the keyboard, which had been there a moment before but wasn’t visible any more. There was a viewing panel across the top of the page, and somehow the computer had got infected with a virus that let hackers text me messages – words were scrolling across the panel, gibberish at first and then advertising for stuff I had no interest in buying. Other people were trying to help me get this sorted out, and at first I was sitting up in bed and then at a table in a restaurant. All the people round the table were vegetarians, so I made a snide remark about how some people would put anything in their mouths and they all took offence. They started to chase me. They had sharp teeth and intended to eat me alive, even though they were vegetarians.

Curiously, I don’t feel at all tired today. You’d think after all that running about…

Many years ago I had an ancient book on interpreting dreams, and I’d interpret The Imaginary Girlfriend’s dreams for her. Every single one of them revealed that she wanted to sleep with me. Hard to credit that she’d be that obsessed.

So, anybody else had any strange dreams lately? Fess up!

And wouldn’t it be wonderfully spooky if we’d all had the same dreams, a symptom of these end days? As Bob Dylan said (I think it was him), you can be in my dreams if I can be in yours. Of course, you might not want to be in my dreams, and if so that’s probably a very wise move on your part.

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2 Responses to Night of Strange Dreaming

  1. Hi Pete,

    Several years ago, Mary and I had to appear in court in downtown Dallas, before a judge, to request disability benefits for Mary after she suffered a major stroke.

    As I’m sure you can imagine, it was tense experience.

    That night, I had the following nightmare:

    (Let me preface by saying that at the time I was working as Compliance Manager for a third party administrator that handled all administrative functions for companies and governmental jurisdictions that self-fund their employees’ healthcare coverage.)

    I was wandering through our living room when the doorbell rang. It was the president of my company, along with a man I had never met, a tall, dark-haired man in a black turtleneck.

    “Rob, I’d like you to meet Trey Collins.”

    I shook his hand.

    The president smiled. “We’ve decided to branch out into other areas, to improve our profits. As of now, in addition to administering healthcare plans, we’re also going to be a major movie studio, turning out first-rate films!”

    I was surprised, tried not to show it. “That’s great!”

    “Trey here is David Lynch’s personal assistant. Our first venture is going to be a new movie directed by Lynch. Isn’t that something?”

    That really caught me off-guard, because although I like Lynch’s films, he’s never had a commercial success. He seemed like an odd choice for our first feature, especially since the movie studio was supposed to be a new source of profit for the company.

    Trey told me David had read some of my stories, really liked my style, and wanted to know if he and I could “shoot some ideas back and forth”.

    Well, sure.

    So David flies to Dallas, I meet him, we get along really well.

    I forget what the movie we were working on was about, but anyway, it turns out Dave is a private pilot.

    So one day, I hear this loud crash, the house shakes. I run upstairs, and there’s Dave sitting in a fixed wing aircraft in one of the upstairs rooms, both wings snapped off.

    “Are you okay?”

    He pulls off his goggles. “Yeah, I guess. I think I am.”

    I’m looking around the room. There’s no hole in the ceiling. How the hell did the plane get inside?

    I go back downstairs, and it turns out one whole side of our house is missing its walls, ground floor to second story ceiling. Rain is dripping everywhere. Plus, we have indoor cats, they’re strictly indoor cats, their front paws declawed, but now they’re running around outside, something we’ve always feared might happen.

    As I look, worried out of my head over their safety, squatting down, trying to call them back inside, pleading with them, I see Sheba, our orange cat, who only eats dry food, never, ever, wet cat food, trotting out into the rain with a raw chicken drumstick between his jaws, looking back over his shoulder at me, like, I’m sick of all that “good for you” medicated dry food. This chicken leg is mine.

    He drops the drumstick a safe distance away from me and starts tearing at it with his fangs.

    Meanwhile, rain’s getting on everything. Furniture, photographs. I go hunting for Lynch, to see about getting him to reimburse us for all the damage he’s done to our home, so we can get it repaired, but he’s gone. There’s just Trey there, his assistant.

    “Boy, what a mess,” he says.

    I look around, hair wet. “I’ll say. So, is David mailing me a check, or…”

    Trey looks surprised. “Oh, Dave couldn’t possibly pay for this. He’d love to, he really would, but to be honest, he just doesn’t have the money.”

    I’m furious. “What are you talking about? What about that big lawsuit that French movie company settled with him? What about those three houses he owns out in Los Angeles?”

    “Oh, well, money just goes through Dave’s fingers.” He tilts his head to one side, closing his eyes, lets out a sigh. “He’s an artist. A free spirit. He’s not bound by the same rules we are.”

    I blow up. “I don’t give a f*ck who he is! He crashed his f*cking airplane into our house and now it’s missing all these walls, our cats are running outside, our stuff’s getting ruined…Who the f*ck is going to pay for this?”

    “Well. If you’re going to be coarse.” He leaves!

    Mary and I are out in the pouring rain, trying to find all our cats, get them back inside. I spot this French poodle out in the rain. It’s all black. One of those poodles that have all their fur trimmed so there’s these weird balls of fur on each leg, one at the end of their tail. And I think, Hey, wait a minute. That’s f*cking David f*cking Lynch’s dog.

    So what should I do? Should I leave it out in the rain to somehow punish David Lynch, or should I have pity on it, take it in to protect it? In my head, a voice says, Your decision will affect what happens to your home.

    I take the wet thing in. Rub a towel over its smelly back.

    And wake up. For a minute, I’m confused, still filled with dread and sorrow over what happened to our beautiful home, then, in one of those great, great feelings of relief, I understand, This was just another one of those times where you wake up and realize none of those awful things happened, it was all just a dream.

    I couldn’t get back to sleep. I counted the cats, shook my finger at Sheba, made coffee, lit a cigarette, went upstairs to read the news while the coffee brewed.

    Later, once Mary woke, I gave her a kiss. “I had the weirdest, weirdest dream last night.”

    (Adapted from a piece I wrote several years ago, waking up after the dream.)

  2. petertennant says:

    Hey Rob

    Dreams fascinate me, and that one is excellent. I’d say there’s a lot of anxiety there, probably related to your concerns about Mary. And interesting that Lynch is the catalyst for so much of what happens; those events definitely have a ‘Lynchian’ feel to them, and as I recall one of his first films was inspired by a dream, or at the least contains dream imagery.
    I love the guy’s work, even if I still haven’t got around to watching “Inland Empire” nearly two years after I bought it. 😦

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