And What Happens When You Find Yourself Without Time to Write.
Beware! Your Dream Self may have Plans of Her Own.
This is based on a true story (more or less).
While sleeping Friday night…
I’m enjoying a fantastic ride along a vivid dreamscape. My dream self, with my dream sisters, impulsively decide to charter an enormous cargo boat to cross the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. Excitement runs high and they dance along the decks, giggling and high fiving each other as the boat cruises through the water.
The Captain, a wire thin man with a hunched shoulder, occasionally removes his eyeball to nibble on the backside, like a nervous habit whenever he’s stressed. After, he slips eyeball back into the socket with a sucking sound, chewed end towards his skull so no one can notice. There’s a First Mate, but he’s sly and mute fellow, never quite seen clearly, like a shadow. The only other person on board is The Engineer, who drives the boat like he’s drunk, often getting it stuck in shallows and taking the curves at high speed so he could bank the boat on its keel (I know, we’re technically in the ocean, but dreams tend bend reality). With all the twists and turns, he ends up getting them lost.
They come upon an unknown land. On the cliff banks, there’s a semi-deserted town, half in ruins. Children hide in doorways and cats lick their paws on cinderblocks. They discover a back laneway leading to two-story building that sells scraps of junk. The owner has a short beard, a kind voice and invites them to wander through his yard of wonders. As they trudge deeper into fray, it extends on and on like an unwinding skein of yarn.
This is when my dream self slips away from the others, on the excuse of looking for a bathroom. She enters a steel constructed building and in its depth, she discovers a windowless room. Inside, there’s a tub holding a sleeping baby. Like in the historical pictures of Inuit children, the child is bundled in layers of fur and circle the face giving the baby an owl like appearance. There’s a tiny toilet – which my dream self uses – slightly disturbing to me, but no, I didn’t pee in the bed. And where a counter and sink might be, instead is a desk with a flat screen computer.
My dream self perches on the chair and begins to type. Her fingers tap with insistent demand as the story fills the screen. She writes and writes and writes. Outside, she’s vaguely aware that the dream continues on without her – her dream sisters and the Engineer order fries (after being warned off the chili – the only other option on the menu) and the smell of grease and salt tempts her but she continues to type. The baby continues to sleep.
My dream self leans back in her chair; the story is done. But now she needs to save it. Pulling out drawers, she searches around the room, until she finds a flash-drive. But the computer is a strange one with the connections that aren’t standard and nothing seems to fit the square plug needed for the flash-drive. Voices are getting closer, and my dream self panics – it could all be lost. She jams the drive into a four- pronged claw device that grabs it, turns 90 degrees and then inserts itself into the computer. Maybe she can save her story in time.
The door bursts open and the dream sisters march in. The Captain follows chewing on his left eyeball and The Engineer stumbles into the room, waving around a magical stick, resembling a plunger. He claims it will help them find Europe.
The dream sisters are furious – they have been doing all the hard dream work while my dream self lulls away in this room. They berate her for avoiding work and for being lazy. My dream self protests; she’s been working, she’s been writing. Even missing out on the French fries. The dream sisters peer at the computer screen. They stop their tirade as they read her words. This is good, they say and nodding at each other. The First Mate slinks into the room although hiding in the corner. My dream self tells them she needs to save the work, they’re running out of time. It’s almost morning and if she can’t get it on the drive, it will be forever lost.
The flash-drive in the metal clutches is not saving the story but instead is storing the entire dream sequence (including the part that my dream self skipped out on) like video replay. This isn’t working, my dream self screams in frustration.
They all search the room for another flash-drive, yanking out drawers, and even looking into the tiny toilet. The First Mate finally finds one, tucked into the blanket of the sleeping baby, who thankfully doesn’t wake crying. My dream self inserts it into another slot at the back of the computer. One of the dream sisters works the keyboard and mouse, moving through a complex series of steps to download the file. It’s starting, she announces and a green line appears on the screen, indicating the progress as the file is transferred. Hurry, my dream self prays to the computer. The baby whimpers.
Morning light threads through a crack in the wall, turning them to stone. No! I scream and wake up. A moist dog’s nose nudges my neck.
My hand slides under the pillow, my heart pounding like a drum in my chest; maybe the flash drive will be there. Left like the tooth fairy does with coins for teeth. But no, nothing. There’s never enough time.