This Type of Dream is the Best Dream

Last night, there was one brief section of my dream that elevated it from forgettable to legendary. It did not last very long (truthfully, how can I tell how long it really lasted – dream time is entirely relative), but it was magnificent.

I was involved in a worldwide adventure race, competing with scores of other contestants in an attempt to reach first whatever treasure stood at the end of the world. In my haste to win, I teamed up with five other challengers in a Roaring Twenties era chaffuer driven car, in order to make it past Juice Garner, who in real life was a matinence worker at Camp War Eagle this past summer.

I sat in the back with three others; I sat next to a beatiful, small girl with a gunshot wound in her thigh that would soon become fatal (I’m not really sure why; maybe it hit an artery). Feeling enormous sympathy for such a sad situation, I offered to hold her while she died, so that she would not feel alone.

As I held her, her voice changed, becoming heavily accented, and she revealed that she was actually a Russian spy, who had been deep undercover in the adventure race for several years. Since she was dying, she saw no point in continuing the ruse, and she wanted to go out as her own self.

She began to tell me all about her early life in a post-Soviet country, about her mother and father, and all her siblings. She told me that since I knew more about her than any other person, I technically loved her. Then we kissed, and she died, and the car arrived at some sort of carnival, at which point the dream shifted into another scenario not worth mentioning.

I told my roommate Nathan about this dream, and he said that the absolute best dreams are the ones you wake up sad from. Not sad that you’re awake, and can’t get back to the paradise you were once in – that’s simply vulgar desire. The best dreams are the ones that stick a hand out of your brain and reach down your throat and tug at the tendons that connect your heart to your ribs, so that when you wake up, you want to cry for that beautiful, small Russian spy who in fact is not real.


When Nightmares Rise Again

I work as a houseboy in a sorority mansion; in exchange for washing dishes and dealing with the trash, I do not get paid, but I do receive three meals a day and free parking. I used to get free dates, as well, but apparently you can only take a few girls out before you get blacklisted. But, come on – why only pick one apple in an orchard?

Last year, the house cook was a man named Chef John. Chef John was a superhero – he made a dessert for every meal and he sculpted tribal masks while working in the kitchen. This man’s life vita was something to be coveted; he built his own house, he married a woman from Yugoslavia, and he baked a very soft cheesecake at least once a week. We were best friends.

Chef John is no longer working at the house. He left in order to train and apply for his five star chef rating from J.D. Power and Associates. I think. The point is, when I came back to school, the house had a new chef, and he was my worst nightmare.

When I was in tenth grade, I was very skinny (as opposed to now, when everyone has stopped telling me how skinny I am). I played football, and as a joke, I played offensive line. It was not a very funny joke. I always had to line up next to Will McCormick, a six foot, two hundred and eight babies he ate for lunch pounds beast-student. He had a clay face and was the kind of guy who would punch you when you weren’t looking, in order to test how effective the padding on his new blocking gloves was.

The time that I spent putting on my pads that year was the closest to hell I’ll ever be (until I actually get there). Anticipating Will’s violence was impossible, and since he thought we were friends, avoiding him and his fists was also impossible. When he graduated high school, all the bruises I had been holding inside myself floated to the surface, and I turned purple.

I had lost contact with Will until last week, when I found out that he apparently went directly from football practice to culinary school, where he studied for three years; after that, he interned for two in a five star restaurant in Boston, under a man who used to be the chef in the White House.

Will told me all this himself, when we met in the hallway at the sorority house where we both now work. I clean the dishes, and Will makes all the food. And pulls an actual wage.

I would think Will would only make meat and potatoes mixed together, and maybe some coffee with cigarette butts floating in it, but as it so happens, he had to explain the English translation of all the French words on our new menu to me. He even went so far as to advertise “pomme frittes” with our “Classic Cheeseburger.” Basically, pomme frittes are French Fries.

The girls love him. The house mom loves him. The houseboys think he’s funny. But he hasn’t fooled me. He may be putting up a fake French accented menu, but its only a facade for frozen French Fries, and I’m just waiting for the day he tries to punch me to test out his new oven glove.

He Stole My Shirt

I am in Mullins Library and I’m staring at a janitor who is wearing my shirt. I have no idea who this person is. He has hair like thin, fake snakes and the kind of beard that eighth graders start growing and never shave because they believe that when it comes to facial hair, it’s quantity over quality. Heck, maybe he thinks those sort of wheat grass bristles are quality.

The shirt he’s wearing is a cheap white Wal-Mart shirt; it has a home printed, iron on image melted to the front. The image is of Mr. Clean, with his blue background and red letters that say “VOTE BALD.”

When I was in tenth grade, I aimed for the stars. I ran for sophomore class treasurer. I also ran an aggressive campaign, complete with posters of me dressed as various action heroes, and endorsements from personages no less than Abraham Lincoln (who said I was righteous) and Howard Taft (who said I was above average). But the centerpiece of my political push were the twenty shirts I paid for and hand printed in my basement.

At the time of the elections, I was bald. Yes, it was a dark year in my life. True story: I shaved my head myself with a disposable razors, and just as a man cuts himself on the cheek, I would cut myself on the head. But when I cut my head open, I couldn’t tell, until blood began to run past my eyes, and I began to panic that finally, after all my prepartion and paranoia, that serial killer had put an axe into my head. I would clean up the blood, but each time I shaved, since I couldn’t see where I was shaving, I would open the cut again and enlarge it. I was taller than everyone else, though, so no one could tell. Yet I digress.

I gave these shirts to all the girls I had crushes on, and I gave the leftovers to my friends, and I lost the election. That’s when I learned who my real friends were: the girls I had crushes on.

But now, six years after that election, a complete stranger who looks like hungover is more normal than sober is wearing that shirt, and I am once again reminded of how profound an impact I had on those girls I had crushes on.