Things That Go Bump in the Night

April is Holly’s birthday month. Funny how I just got a national holiday (Merry Groundhog’s Day!). For one of her presents, she chose for us to spend the weekend with her grandparents in Greer’s Ferry, a tiny lakeside community in central Arkansas. They have a wonderfully comfortable living room with an old rear-projection big screen and a penchant for sixties westerns and war movies. Grandaddy and Ma have been married for sixty years, and Ma can never remember which tea pitcher has been sweetened. It’s a trial and error snack.

I should preface this story with the knowledge that I used to sleepwalk as a child. And young adult. Also last night. Forget night terrors – I am a night terror, if you’re on the top bunk. That was something I failed to mention to Holly in my marriage vows.

Holly’s cousins spent the night. One brought a boyfriend. As I fell asleep on the couch, watchingMASH, apparently I offered to give cousin Carley a back massage. They woke me up to tell me it was not kosher.

Later on, when I was deeply asleep, Holly told her cousins to quiet down as she crept around my chair, planning to give me a Wet Willie. When she stuck her finger in my ear – I punched her in the face. My unconscious defense was a swift upper cut aimed straight at the irritant. As I sat up and rubbed my eyes, my wife held her forehead and shouted, “You’re a crazy person!”

Eventually I was carried to bed.

That night I had a dream where I was trapped on the outside of a skyscraper. Since I was born with an overgrown fear of heights, my natural reaction was swift horror as I tried to claw my way back through the glass windows. They were sealed shut. Eventually, Holly appeared and encouraged me to throw myself off the ledge.

I awoke the next morning to find the window sill ripped off the underlying stone and hanging at a forty-five degree angle. I gently nudged Holly and asked, “Did anything weird happen last night?”

“ARE YOU SERIOUS?” she replied. “When I woke up at 3:30 last night, you were pulling the curtains off that window! Then when I called out your name,  you spun around and jumped on the bed like a cat man. I thought you were going to tear out my throat like a human tiger.”

I pondered this with great care before replying, “So you’d say I have the agility of a cat?”

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The Way to Jupiter

Last night I had a dream that one of my fraternity brothers called me without warning and told me he was going to Jupiter. He and I had coffee and I congratulated him on his  selection to the team and he told me that I knew someone else who was going to Jupiter – my fiance Holly.

(Of course, we cannot travel to Jupiter because it is a gas giant and there is no solid planet to land on. This was one of the three slam dunk answers I provided my trivia team in a sixty question run at Mellow Mushroom last week.)

It's not actually there - an illusion.

When confronted, she confessed that she had always wished to travel to the stars and I was happy for her. However, I had my suspicions about the program because no one knew about it. NASA was running a secret Jupiter exploration program. It was not on television, and Holly was not being paid for the year long journey.

As she boarded the flight to Jupiter, I did a little investigating and discovered that NASA never planned for the flight to make it to Jupiter. Instead, the shuttle was going to settle into an orbit around the Earth while the crew was tricked into believing they were sailing the big black ocean in the sky. There were little TVs propped into the portholes, projecting a picture of Jupiter, as if they had already arrived.

I approached Holly with this information and begged her not to go. She relented and decided to stay with me on Earth, while her crew, including my fraternity brother, blasted off. For some reason, I didn’t tell anyone else that they weren’t really going to Jupiter.

The reason I’ve told this story to three of my friends on separate occasions already is because I’m fairly impressed that I could put together such a twisting plot that managed to actually stay on task. And that Holly was interested in sailing to Jupiter. I should’ve known it was a dream when I found that out.

Top Three Things I’d Like to Put on Twitter

1) Last night I had a dream where my dog committed suicide. I left him on the balcony of my sixth floor apartment where he was playing Scrabble. I think he used the deckchair as a lever to unhinge the cast iron railing. He then pushed everything, including the plants and the game board, over the edge with him. After I examined the body I went to Crystal to get a bag of Slammers.

2) Last week I was in the basement of Old Main, and I saw a room with a plastic plaque that read, “Beard Center.” Inside there were four or five vending machines and several groundskeepers. They all had beards. I think I used to hang out there when I was a kid, and look for change underneath the machines so I could play the arcade games that used to be in the Union. You can visit the Beard Center. I don’t think you even have to shave.

(If I had a Twitter, I’d write things like that. I think I’d be good at it. That isn’t a blog post by itself, but I think I could compress that into Twitter. The problem is, I’ve been using the same phone for three years. It has a color screen, and the background is three balloons – red, yellow, and blue. Ben Rector used to have the same phone, and we’d switch accidentally, but I always found out eventually because his background was three stones stacked one on top of the other. I always read his text messages before I returned it.)

3) I was eligible for a trade in maybe a month ago, but my mom used it to get herself a new phone. She threw up on her old phone. She had a fever over Christmas and for some reason put her phone at the bottom of the trash can she used for vomiting. Unwise. I cannot fault her. When I lived in Rome, a girl I had a crush on back in the States stayed with me for a weekend. I slept on the couch. The day she was supposed to leave, I thought about kissing her, then I threw up in front of her. She had to find her own way to the airport. I got to skip my Italian art history final.

An Action Star Dream

It’s Initiation Week, and as such, my sleeping pattern is way out of whack – its now one of those patterns you stare at, that looks like a tessellation of dolphins but in fact is two spaceships in a low earth orbit giving high fives. Did that make sense? If not, it’s because I haven’t slept much.

I sleep for probably four hours a night, wake up for a ceremony or hazing (many times we combine the two out of a desire of expediency), and then sleep for another two hours before class starts. It was in this morning’s two hour supplement that I had a wonderful dream.
One of my pledges, Jon Reene, was kidnapped. He’s a skinny goofball, and in the dream he was wearing these terribly large glasses with no lenses. He didn’t need them. That may have been why the local drug lords took him away. They despise posers, or so the dream seemed to say.
His fraternity big brother, Jordan Hurst, and I, along with a few faceless redshirts, came after them out of a sense of brotherhood. The drug lords had established a base of operations in the old Washington Regional Medical Center, which is now the Center for Sleep Related Disorders. Coincidence? Probably. I just found that out, researching this blog post.
We entered through the front doors after getting a parking ticket for leaving our car in a restricted lot, and found that the first floor of the Center had been turned into a shopping center. Dr. Muntz, the professor of my History of Alexander the Great class, greeted us, and directed us downstairs, where we would find many bargins on weaponry. I thanked him, and told him I thought his puns were hilarious. That’s when I knew it was a dream. He has terrible puns.
And also he’s liar, because downstairs there wasn’t any weaponry, but a bunch of dads watching their sons play in this magnificent water park; I have to say, even now in retrospect, I’m not angry at Dr. Muntz for his misdirection, because that water park was so cool. There wasn’t any land base – the structure rose out of the water on stilts like a tropical supervillianous lair. It was contained in a glass sphere, so that children who floated at the edge of the water bumped into an invisible barrier and swam back to the slides. But the dads were about to watch Avatar, and I had already seen it, so we kicked the drug lords’ door down.
I killed like three people; I’m not really clear on where the gun came from. It was in my waistband when I reached for it. At any rate, I’m really glad it was there, because if I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t be here typing. I would be dead, because if you die in my dreams, you die in real life. That’s what happened to my last dog.
Jordan killed someone with a throwing knife, and he’s supposed to be our chaplain. The knife hit the man right between the pectorals; I feel that spot now and it seems like there’s some serious bone there, so he must have thrown the knife really hard. I always believed if it came to it, Jordan would kill. Now I know.
We found Jon tied up with silly string and wearing those stupid glasses. And then, in a sudden twist, Jordan stabbed Jon in the hand and killed him (my subconscious doesn’t really understand anatomy). I’m not really clear on the rest; the dreamed jumped from there to a scene where Will Smith and Special Agent Brand from the X-Men comics I’ve been reading were collaborating on an investigation. But I think Jordan was working for Dr. Muntz the whole time.
R.I.P. Jon Reene, who was stabbed in the hand and died in my dream, for the cause of greed and other things which I can’t really identify, because there isn’t much logic in a dream.

This Was My Dream

>Last night I slept in Tulsa; one of my pledges, Matt Bakke, got me a date to the formal of Tulsa University’s chapter of Chi Omega. That in itself is a essay, but right now I have to speak about my dream, before it melts like an ice sculpture of a grizzled man wrestling a wolf, which coincidentally would be an ice sculpture representing my dream.

Like all dreams, last night’s had many segments, like the movie Pulp Fiction – at first glance things were loosely connected, but if you’re able to remember enough to make a thorough examination, really the only thing linking the chapters is the character of myself. And though I remember many segments of this dream – I was awake with my eyes closed for half an hour, thinking about this dream but also not wanting to disturb Matt’s grandmother Fafa – this was my favorite part.
I was in an abandoned city, where mechanical, rusty vines grew on buildings that had collapsed on themselves like urban supernovas. The sky was grey and so was the dirt; really, the only things that had any color were my clothes which were kind of green, kind of grey. They were combat fatigues, but off-brand, second-hand camoflague assembled from savenged pieces. I had an old rifle, made of wood an iron. I was searching for something.
Or maybe I was on patrol. It doesn’t matter much concerning the content, only that I was willing to shoot something, which I did. I took aim and shot what I assumed was an enemy, but it turned out to be my girlfriend (that’s when I knew it was a dream – dream’s are the only time I get close enough to girls to shoot at them). She was scared, and acted like any other frightened female would in that situation – she turned into a wolf and ran into the elaborate sewer system underneath the city.
I, of course, climbed in after her, but I was only a human, and I didn’t have much luck. I searched for hours in the wet underground, through calf high water contaminated with radiation from the recent nuclear war with robots (this is a post-sleep inferrence). After multiple symbols of my failure seen in several dead ends, I used my feelings of frustration and impotency to harness previously unknown powers of the anamorph and transformed into a wolf myself. From there, it was relatively easy to find my wolfette. She was laying inside of a smaller tunnel, above the water level, with a lot of blood trapped in her fur. I howled at the moon.
Then I was suddenly transporting pieces of a drive in theatre on the back of an eighteen-foot trailer. I had a lot of fraternity brothers helping me, but we hit a bump and the screen and speakers fell off the trailer and into the mud. The studio audience laughed at us, because we, too, were facedown in the mud. It was embarrassing. I no longer remembered my wolf princess (princess being another post-dream inferrence – it only makes sense that she was a princess).
The point is, I quickly moved from her to the next interesting, guy-only activity, much like the wolf does. This dream only serves to illustrate my romantic motto of, “it’s better to have loved and lost than to shoot your lover and have her turn into a wolf.” I think my subconscious is trying to tell me something.

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.