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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Dream by Wayne Doust

[Please join our latest guest blogger Wayne Doust, to whom I owe a huge apology for "correcting" all his British spellings and not realizing that they actually weren't mistakes until it was far too late to go back and revert them all. Today he offers us something a little different. A bit of surrealistic personification in the form of a dream.]

The Dream 
Wayne Doust

Copyright (c) 2014


The world around me started to dissolve into nothing. Two men were begging, pleading with a man in a suit "No! Please he'll forget us."

"He won't forget you. He'll see you again on TV. You will be a science fiction show and you.." he turns to the second man "..will be a soap opera"

"No!" they both shout as they are dragged away.

"Excuse me!" I say

The suited man looks surprised, turning both ways to see if there is anyone else I may be speaking to.

"Yes you" I demanded "I'm talking to you!"

"I'm sorry" he replies "but you shouldn't be able to perceive me, let alone speak to me. Something is obviously wrong with the system at the moment. Are you sick, ill or delirious?” he asks.

"I have a head cold at the moment, but that's beside the point."

"Ah! That must be it, you're delirious - seeing things."

"I'm fine, but who are you?"

"Well, since you've asked, I am your id."

"My what?"

"The anthropomorphic personification of your imagination. I am the one who keeps control of your dreams - tries to help you make sense of them." then his demeanor becomes more sinister "And then eliminates them before you awake."

At that moment I recognize my id as a dead ringer for James Spader.

"You’re serious?"

"Oh yes. Right now you're asleep - probably feverish actually, it's the only explanation for why you can perceive me. Usually you are blissfully unaware of my existence. But come now, dream number three is about to start."

I turn to ask him what he means, but as I do so, I realize I'm on a footpath, somewhere, who knows where. I'm dragging a some pieces of cardboard around and a few meagre possessions rolled up in a blanket. I select a good piece of footpath, under cover and begin to lay out the cardboard on the ground. Soon four other men come near to do the same, but they see me there and look disappointed.

"Everything okay?" I ask.

"Sorry, it's just that we usually setup here. We'll find somewhere else."

"There's room for all of us." I say, and they look overjoyed.

They begin to setup and soon it looks like there's no place for me. I turn to walk away and one of them says, ‘Hey your spot is over here, in between all of us. We'll keep you safe tonight in return for letting us stay here.’

I thank them and put down my cardboard, rudimentary mattress and pillow, other possessions and lie down, wrapped in a minke blanket to keep me warm. As soon as I think 'I shouldn't be here' I'm instantly outside of myself, observing. Standing right next to my id. Standing next to him is another-me wrapped up tightly in white linen and bound with blinking Christmas tree lights and struggling to get out. It looks like he's going to succeed.

"What? I though I got rid of you?"

"Who is that?” I ask, pointing to homeless-me.

"Isn't it obvious? That's your fear of failure. It's quite a common theme. Frankly, I find it boring. The feckless self-pity, the meekness rewarded with gratitude. Seriously B grade. I wish he would get shanked once in a while just to add some reality."

"What? You want to see me shanked?"

"Oh no. Not you. Just that perception of yourself. I am you."

"I'm nothing like you!"

"Oh please! Spare me the self-loathing. I do enough of it for the both of us. You revel so much in your analytical capabilities and your critical thinking that every night I have to cleanse your soul of the monsters you unleash upon your psyche. If it wasn't for me you'd wake up a gibbering mess that needs to be spoon fed."

"May the shades of Jung and Freud haunt you forever."

"Plagiarist! You got that from Zelazny. Remember: everything you now, I know. But come, it's time for Christmas dinner." he finishes as the other-me successfully escapes from his bonds.

I turn around and realize I'm in a buffet of some kind. I offer my plate to the server and receive a slice of roast ham. Further down the line, there's turkey, cranberry sauce, duck and other foods typically found at Christmas. I realize I am moving slowly and my skin is wrinkled. I am old. I make my way to a large table full of people I know: my boys - all adults now - with their wives and children. I sit down at the table and a small girl climbs onto my lap and kisses my cheek and looks at me with a sparkle in her eye.

"Merry Christmas Grandpa! I love you."

A wave of bittersweet happiness washes over me as I look at the empty seat next to me. As I do so I think again 'I shouldn't be here' and once more I am an observer, standing next to my Id.

"I can't seem to keep you in one place right now, can I? It's a pity, I like this one, however you need to do something about that empty chair."

"Why is it empty?" I ask "Did someone die."

"No. Someone never happened. Your ‘Future-me’ will always be like that as long as you keep feeding homeless-me. However, I no longer have any time to indulge you, I have work to do."

In an instant we are on top of a ten-story building. It looks like the outside portion of a luxurious penthouse apartment. I instantly know my id lives there. There are three representations of me standing on the ledge, all pleading for their lives. They notice me.

"Don't let him do it!"

"Who are they? What parts of me do they represent?"

"Destructive influences. You're better off without them."

"Who gets to decide that? You?"

"Why yes, as a matter of fact. But more to the point *you* did, by giving that power to me."

"I don't remember doing that!"

"Of course you don't. You didn't want the responsibility. However I tell you what, I'll let them decide."

My id pulls out a handgun.

"I'll make all of you a one-time deal. Trust me, have faith and jump. You have my word that you will be unharmed. Hesitate, and I will shoot you in the head. You have three seconds. One...two...."

All three of them jump. Seconds later there is a sickening thud. I rush to the side and peer over. There, lying on the ground are the bodies of my three doppelgängers.

"You said they'd be unharmed!"

"I lied. Time to go."

Instantly I find I'm sitting on a recliner watching TV with what feels like a heavy, soft warm blanket over me. I have comfort food at my disposal: cheeses, olives, salmon, chocolates that I am constantly eating. The room I'm in is a large one and there's a constant stream of people entering the room at the rear and muttering their disapproval of the situation. My youngest son is beside me also watching. I'm on TV, telling jokes - all ones I've told before. Comical-me has a TV audience, all laughing at every single joke. I start thinking this is simply a comedy show, but the jokes are intertwined around a complex melodramatic love triangle. I can tell this is going to end badly for comical-me so I change channels. I end up with an explicit porno playing. Since my son is watching beside me I try to change channels but I can't. This is when I notice the blanket on top of me is actually partly a naked woman and what I thought was the remote control was actually one of the blanket-woman's breasts that I'm squeezing.

"Don't stop!" the blanket-woman moans. Instantly I'm an observer again.

Blanket-woman looks at me and says "Great! A threesome!"

I find the remote and quickly change the channel. It's a televangelist channel and I am the preacher.

"Good choice!" says preacher-me to real-me. He then points an accusing finger at lustful-me "You need to repent!"

I change the channel again, this time it's a an episode of Star Trek. I'm one of the engineers. The engines are about to explode, but engineer-me grabs some tools and climbs into the bowels of the engine room saying "Don't worry. I can fix anything!"

I walk to the back of the room where my id is congregating with the disapproving crowd.

"Had enough yet?" he asks smugly.

"I'm still trying to make sense of it all."

"Give up. You'll go crazy." He leads me out of the room into a featureless wasteland. "And this, I'm afraid, is where we part company. You're about to wake up and within thirty minutes, you won't remember a thing. Subconscious memory doesn't translate to long-term memory - as you know."

"No, I don't think so. I've seen enough to know I don't want you in charge."
"That's preposterous! I AM you. Remember? I am simply a representation of your id. I'm the one who keeps the nightmares at bay. Without me, you wouldn't be functional from day to day."

"And yet, strolling through my dreams here, amongst the random collections of my Jungian archetypes, there's one thing I've noticed."

"And what's that? That they all look like you?" he sneers.

"Almost. They all look like me EXCEPT for you."

The color drains from his face as the featureless background starts to dissolve, slowly becoming the Christmas cafeteria scene from earlier.

"You know, I'm starting to think about this, about how it all fits together, and what your place in this is. More importantly, how did you get to be in charge here."

My id retorts uncertainly "I told you, *you* did.”

“Yes, I know. And yet something’s been bothering me. My id is supposed to be the primal, uncontrolled part of myself. That’s not you, that’s why you don’t look like me at all. You’re not my id, you’re my Super-Ego.”

As I say the words, my fake id deflates a little and the Christmas cafeteria fully appears. Seated at the table are all the representations of me. The empty chair beside mine is still empty. I wave my hand at the table.

“These are the various manifestations of my id...including you”

“I though you said I was your super-ego.” He sneered.

“That’s a part you play, as the ruler archetype. You’re both: my super-ego as I imagine you to be. An idealized version of myself that I can never achieve.”

“You’re making a mistake - can’t you see that?”

“The mistake I make is in suppressing my realities. I *need* my fear of failure - it keeps me from making stupid decisions.”

My super-ego is noticeably shorter now - and younger.

“I’m just happy to eat the crumbs from your table.” responds homeless-me. Lustful-me (complete with blanket-woman) is already gorging himself on food.

"Oh shut up!" retorts my super-ego.

"I'm the sum total of all my fears and dreams - positive and negative."

"Well, I know when I'm not wanted. I guess you want to go and shoot myself then!"

"That's where your wrong. See the empty seat at the table? Well, that's yours. I do need to be reminded from time to time that I have responsibilities and obligations outside of myself. However, I also have an obligation to myself as well."

Almost with tears in his eyes my super-ego sits down. The next time I look at him I see myself - my twelve-year old child self. I realize I am being judged by the expectations that I made of myself before I became an adult. He looks up at me and says "You won't win. I told you, you'll forget all about this within thirty minutes."

I smile back and say "Not if I write this down as soon as I awake."

As the scene fades to wakefulness, I enjoy watching all of my archetypes arguing with each other over Christmas dinner.

"Time to write." I say to myself.

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