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  • Lindsay and I have left Ireland and gone to live in Chicago, and I'm working as a bicycle messenger, cycling through the city centre. It's sunny and warm and busy, and I'm freewheeling down a long hill near the shore of the lake. I come to the steps of an enormous skyscraper, dark like the Sears Tower, but larger and wider, a different shape. I enter, and rise on escalator after escalator in the gigantic forecourt, until the people below me are just wriggling black marks.

    I meet my friend John at the top. He's in bed with a girl I've never seen before, and he seems grumpy to have been woken up, so I remind him that we were supposed to take a drive into the country today. He puts on his blue dressing gown and comes down, and the girl makes breakfast for him. I pack some CDs while I'm waiting for him to get ready. When I look at John, I can see all the huge skyscraper space behind him, and its moving, like a vertigo scene in a post-Hitchcock movie.

    We leave, and while we are driving away, the skyscraper falls. I see this as if it's happening on TV, and there is a commentary in my mind as I watch the million windows shatter, the dark, smudged outline collapsing to the ground. "This is the great Sydney disaster. Too many people crowded into the building, and it couldn't take the weight. It was utterly destroyed, and thousands of people lost their lives."

  • I was running through the same city with my friends. We were all amateur athletes trying to get to the Olympics. We were following a specific course through the back streets, under overhangs and through half-open awnings and back doors. We stopped at a pharmacy where someone we knew worked, because we needed more muscle tone and bulk. I was popping performance-enhancing pills of some kind while I ran, and I needed more. Another racer needed to build more muscle because he was so thin. Our pharmacist friend was baffled that this guy could have taken so many steroids and not bulked up, but I knew the real reason - he was hooked on amphetamines. Another racer pinched a vein in my leg and told me it had to be a lot more 'articulated'. I wasn't even out of breath.
I am running through corridors, the building is large, cold, and institutional. I do not know why I am there, but I sense that George W. Bush is after me and it will be a challenge to get away. The building has a row of windows, overlooking a courtyard several floors down. There is some kind of commotion, and I think to myself that I could get away. As I am running I see a secret service agent stepping in front of my exit door, his face is calm but his intent is clear, so I run in the other direction. I want to get outside, but it occurs to me that the commotion was intentional, they are trying to get me and wanted everyone else to have something distracting.

I get out onto the street. It’s mid day bright; the sidewalk is so white it burns my eyes. There are no people except for one guy who is advancing toward me. I do not run. He sends a blow dart toward me, and I deflect it with my arm, it bounces off my leather coat. This happens three times, him blowing darts at me, me using my magical elbows and forearms to save myself. Then he does it again and this one gets me right between the eyes. I fall on the ground, arms splayed out, cheek pressed against the cool sidewalk. I am thinking, “Oh shit. This kinda sucks. What is the point of all this?”

I am stuffed into a stretch limo and taken to a hippie crash pad. I am laid out on a couch, and I can see and think but my limbs do not move. There is a hippie guy rolling a joint on the coffee table. He does not look at me. There is another hippie guy who just sort of fades in and out of the room, he drinks Snapple. And there is another one, grungy, with long curly hair and nasty looking toenails. He seems smitten with me. Lies down beside me on he couch and strokes me hair. The joint roller looks up, one eyebrow raised, and says, “Dude, don’t make friends with her! It’s like befriending the 3rd grade class hamster when you know it’s just gonna die.”

Someone brings me my baby. It must be a girl because it is in all these frilly petticoats and has banana curls. I am very happy to see my baby, and a wave of overprotectiveness washes over me, to the point where I regain use of my limbs and hug the child to my chest.

Joint Roller tells me to go in the basement as someone is waiting for me there. I enter a closet, and there is a trap door in the floor. I climb down with the baby and find myself in a hole in the ground, nothing but rotten walls and chunks of concrete, dirt, cobwebby corners. One side is taller than the other. I stand there among drooping clothes lines, hanging about level with my neck. There is a box at one end, and the lid opens. A beam of light shoots out and Vanna White steps out. She is in a sparkly dress and a smooth updo. She smiles at me, “We are here for the baby”, she tells me. Mortified I tell her, "No, you can not have my baby", but she persists. It reaches an ugly fever pitch, her hair coming undone and hanging in her face. Then Kathie Lee Gifford emerges, throwing her leg over the edge of the box. She is yelling at me before she has even smoothed her nightclub gown down over her chicken legs. She takes over where Vanna failed, gets in my face screaming, “Give us the baby RIGHT NOW”. I climb back up through the hole and slam the trap door on some fingers, screaming through the slit where the doors don’t meet up, “FUCK YOU TV BITCHES YOU CAN’T HAVE MY BABY!” I jam a shoe in a way that traps them there, and I leave them screaming like little demons and run away.

I end up at a breastfeeding convention, and I find my husband. I am trying to tell him that George W. Bush, Kathie Lee Gifford and Vanna White are after our baby, but he is sleepy. We find a large bed in the middle of the crowd and I lie on it to nurse. Jay lies down too and falls asleep. I get mad and rush out into the crowd. Someone gives me a black baseball cap and I put it on, even though it is really dorky looking. I find that there are only a few of us with these hats and we all decide that this means we are all in the same boat, we are all being pursued by the president and his henchmen. We meet in the bathroom, two men and three other women. Our plan is to stick together and get out of town. We pile into a car and get on a spiral highway. It looks kind of like a baggage claim area, and we all realize that the hats have sensors in them, so we can be tracked at any moment. We throw our hats onto the baggage claim (which runs parallel to the car) and at first the hats turn into scarves, and then they become delicious tortilla chips.

We decide to go to the mall and get identity wiping makeovers. One of the men decides he would like to be a woman and tries on some red heels and a stunning sequined dress. I get a blond pageboy and some amazingly expensive sunglasses. I wish to myself that I had a place to keep the sunglasses when I am not wearing them, and so I buy a bright red sports car with a roomy glove compartment.

I dreamt that I had before me a plate. On the plate was my heart. I began to cut up and eat my heart with a knife and fork. My heart was gone, and in my chest all the major arteries and veins simply joined together at a single junction. Then I realised that, without my heart, I was going to die! But I didn't; I just felt very, very weak and found it difficult to walk. My friends and I walked between the tall buildings of a city I didn't recognise.

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