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So what is it with lucid dreaming? And when I have a lucid dream, do I have a lucid dream, or do I dream I'm having a lucid dream? Am I a butterfly dreaming I am a person? Or a bowling ball dreaming I am a plate of sashimi?

Take one of the first lucid dreams I can recall, from when I was a teen. I was heading out with a group of people to an event of some importance, when I realized I wore no shoes, and it had been raining. I couldn't find my shoes anywhere. Then I realized, "hey! I'm dreaming. It doesn't matter if I have shoes." Think about this. Why not, "Hey! I'm dreaming. I think I'll fly through the fifth dimensional space listening to the Music of the Spheres?" Or, "Hey! I'm dreaming. I think I'll go to a beach filled with naked women!" (Hey! I was a teenage boy at the time). No, I became aware of the dreamstate, and used that fact to disregard the wearing of shoes.

Anyway, I had a dream last night.

Ellen Page, Sheryl Crow, and James Pierpont Morgan own private dirigibles with small luxury homes on them. Morgan's looks a lot like a World War II era barrage balloon. It's even in grayscale. But either Page or Crow is having a party on her brightly-coloured blimp, and we're supposed to find something "postmodern" to read over an electronic soundtrack. I'm trying to find a pinch of Pynchon appropriate for the project.

Then I'm in bed and someone invades our house at night. My wife and I can hear them downstairs. We're going to call, nervously, 911, but then I realize I'm still dreaming. So, instead of changing the scene to something fun, perhaps returning to the previous dream-situation, because that looked like a good party, I decide I have magic dream powers. A wave of my hand summons blue energy that picks up the perpetrators by the scruffs of their necks and drags them up the stairwell and before us. They hang in the air. I demand an explanation. They say they've heard our house contains mystic artifacts, and they wanted to steal those. Quite understandably, this explanation does not satisfy us, and I banish them to some non-place until we've decided what to do.

Later in the wee hours, I'm traveling with a handful of people, including Singularity Girl and someone who might be Milton Berle. I try to take pictures of various sights, but the camera doesn't quite work. I cannot find half of the photographs, and when I hit the camera's printout feature, they come out odd sizes, some of the 8X10 colour and some tiny black and white squares. Several vintage issues of Mad magazine print out among the photos.

The final dream of the night involved toys vehicles from the late 1960s, the Corgi Batmobile and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang which, if I'd kept (and in good condition), would now be worth a bit of money. I never had the Corgi Yellow Submarine, but a friend of mine found one in the 1990s and still has it.

I have no clue regarding the zeppelin-homes, or why I should dream about collectible toys, but it seems likely that the "mystic artifacts" took their inspiration from the death, in Spring, of a local witch.

This part's not a dream.

She ran a place called the Mystic, which sold occult books and crystals and tarot cards and suchlike. She carried local writers, too. The place has one of those old-time coin-operated fortune tellers. The parking spot out back once had a customers only, all others will be toad sign.

Her shop could be found in an area of town that is one-third sketchy and rundown, one-third fighting the good fight, and one-third gentrifying. It's a little like the old movie Dead End, but in a smaller community. A guy I know used to own a comic shop, right next door to our witch's place. He moved it some years ago, a few blocks up the street, because he wanted more space and he said he was sick of stepping over passed out people summer mornings. His place closed last year; this town has too many comic book and gaming shops for its size.

She always had at least one cat. When the comic shop was next door, the cats would wander freely between the places. You'd as easily find one asleep atop a box of old comics as atop the Fortune Teller.

She had a book of poetry out in the 1990s, and I first encountered her as a local writer. Skeptic though I am, I liked her, and we hung out about once a year. The last time I talked to her, I was walking past the patio of a tavern near her store, a place that (patio aside) appears to be time-warped from a century ago. She was sitting alone having a drink. We spoke for a bit over the railing.

Her obituary took me by surprise. I'd intended to drop by the shop in summer, when I could easily bike.

The shop has reopened, and is now run by a woman named Mary. The Fortune Teller has vanished.

I'm skeptical about an afterlife, too, but we can always hope.

Perhaps it's like lucid dreaming.


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