I had a dream last night. I was asleep, and dreaming. And in the dream, I was walking up a hill. At no particular point, as I climbed up, I found myself at the bottom, still climbing up. And I was thinking this wasn’t all that strange by dream standards – when a rock-sized stone smacked me so hard on the shoulder that it almost hurt. It rolled off me, and uphill, gathering moss.

I turned to see who’d thrown it. It was Stevie Nicks. She wore a Welsh white dress, with one wing protruding out the back. She looked like a goddess amongst witches. She was screaming at me, rummaging through the ground for more stones. I could tell that she wanted to sound angry, but she couldn’t, her voice was too beautiful. She yelled the same phrase over and over at me. “Seems that my / dove is on the line. Seems that my / dove is on the line.” She wanted to say something else, but the syllables were coming out wrong. She was so frustrated, and I could see on her face that she blamed me. I wanted so much to understand what she meant to say; and felt so stupid that I couldn’t.

I was hit again, harder. This time it was Ayn Rand, cursing in Russian, throwing copies of Atlas Shrugged at me. They were heavy, so Sandra Day O’Connor was helping her lift one off the ground. Together, each holding an end, they heaved and swung to gain momentum, and released on three. The book’s trajectory made a perfect parabola across the universe, on its way to its target.

[THUD. OW.]

I looked up ahead. All along the hill were two lines of women, on either side of my path, stretching out over the horizon. They were all raving fucking mad, looking for anything they could find, anything at all, to throw at me. To my right, there was Alice from Wonderland, and there was Wendy from Neverland, and there was Dorothy from the Land of Oz. They were tying strands of clothing together – slacks, socks, boxer shorts – and attached a live porcupine to the end. As Dorothy swung the makeshift rope dart over her head, her eyes locked on to my body; I could see the reflection of a sniper’s scope projected over her iris. The modern rangefinding reticle pattern gave her the appearance of a Terminator-like killing machine.

I realized that the clothes they’d used for their weapon were my clothes, and that, all this time, I’d been naked. Naked and…carrying a cross. Behind me, the women who’d already landed their share, gathered in circles and giggled and cackled – Leni Riefenstahl and Yoko Ono seemed especially to enjoy themselves. I saw that the women ahead, awaiting their turn to have at me, had men collared and leashed and on all fours, barking manically. Then, all at once, these men rolled on their backs and played dead; and every woman on the hill pointed and laughed at me. They laughed because they could hear every thought I was having. They knew that I knew this. They saw my mind rush instinctively, despite itself, toward my deepest insecurities, my most embarrassing memories, desperately pleading itself, please don’t think of that, no don’t let them see that. But it wasn’t until I noticed that the cross I carried wasn’t a cross at all, but a colossal wooden phallus, that I finally said enough is enough and woke up.

I felt so angry – what a stupid dream! The obvious symbolism, all tired Freudian cliches – could my unconscious really be so see-through and simple and boring? I came upon a marvelous gate hovering amongst the clouds. Guarding the entrance was a teenage girl – maybe thirteen. The next I remember, we were floating in the clouds, spooning. I had my arm around her breast – breast, because she had only one, stretched across the width of her torso; essentially, what it might look like if you injected the empty space typically found between two breasts with breast-material. But the breast was flat, so that it looked like a fisheyed pancake, or one of those pressed pennies you get at Disney World.

It felt so right to hold it. There was nothing sexual about it. Nothing even all that great about it. I accepted it for what it was – simply perfect. And she, for her part, was just there.

I woke up. However not all that great the breast had been, it was certainly better than everyday life, so I tried to fall back asleep and return to the dream. I could not. So I got dressed and went about my penultimate day.


NEXT: 2. Train of Thought