The importance of Dreams

Kevin McKenzie

 

Allow me first to describe myself. I am tall, but short when slouching. I am thin, because twiggy is beautiful (so I’m told). I am redheaded and am becoming more so by the day. I am a Catholic, and I am Irish. I am not really either. I am ambiguous on purpose, not because I lack the craftsmanship to be specific (and I resent the implication). I am not a believer in hair dye or contact lenses or God. I am twenty something. I am lying to you.

 

My name is Unimportant. No, you don’t know me. Know, I am not in the room with you right now. I am here to teach you a lesson, and no, not in a hinky whips-and-handcuffs kind of way. I am sitting in a room, no doubt like the one you are sitting in (unless you’re outside, in which case, I have the severest inclination to believe our rooms are quite different).

 

The midday sun is trickling in through my window. The breeze is whispering through the window shades. The sparrows are warbling. The clichés are crawling under the gap between the door and the floorboard and out every chink in the insulation (no, there are not Chinamen in my walls, and if there were, they wouldn’t say “warble”).

 

I tell stories: I tell dreams.

 

For instance, I’ll tell you one, and stop me if you’ve heard it before: you’re falling through space. In mine, I feel the fall for seconds. I know that I am falling forever, like a clumsy Mario, but it lasts for moments. If I could capture that sensation, I would sell it. It horrifies us and shakes us to life with sweat-tinged mattresses, but there can be no denial: we love the feeling. Of falling. After all, we all fall. Before all, we were probably falling and flew right past now. Now, we’re confused and watching our existential selves fall past the window screaming some poorly annunciated revelation that we had tomorrow as we wake up in damp flannel to realizing that it’s today already.

 

Dreams are wicked confusing.

 

Here is one, one I affectionately call “the running and something is going to catch you”. I run past mail boxes, wishing I could hop in one and mail myself to Tibet. I don’t wonder what a Tibetan address looks like and I don’t worry about the Yeti who will meet me on the other side. I worry about the dream horror more immediately chasing me. I know I cannot escape; I never can. No amount of exercise could change this. Cheetahs have this dream, too. So do race cars. There is something big and vile and fast that is shortening the gap between me and oblivion. In a way, this is a reflection of everything. A soft, warm kiss is still one soft, warm kiss closer to nothing. Every time you eat ice cream, you’re one spoonful of joy closer to inevitable cataclysm. The monster in my dreams when I was a child was a moose. Moosey the moose, actually. Yes, he had a name. No, I do not want to talk about it. I am still scared. Scared that I might get my warm-soft-kiss-of-ice-cream and know it’s my last, as that tingle runs through my subconscious that tells me I’m dreaming but can’t wake up.

 

Sometimes, dreams are obvious.

 

A story worth telling is relative. The best stories speak to everyone; they whisper truth into the Audience’s collective ear and pause for the stumbling impulse of revelation to hasten the reader to their intellectual nirvana. Some of the perfect stories, though, speak to themselves, unaware in their schizophrenia that anyone is listening. This one of those. I was flying around, rigged with a jetpack and thundering along a gray and bombed out city, reminiscent of Stalingrad. Shingles littered the road, and train cars lay wrecked beside their tracks. Suddenly, a flash of color. A small Shetland sheep dog, in luminescent orange, peeked out from behind the overpowering sepia. Holding up this small and unassuming puppy was none other than Hitler, dressed in his finest brown tweed suit, as ridiculous in print as it is in dream. He shouted at me, something indistinguishable, and waved his humorously oversized Lugar in my direction. And then I realized; that Shetland sheep dog was familiar. Hitler was holding my girlfriend’s dog hostage. Like old war footage, I zoomed in and strafed him, knocking him down like a cartoon and swooping off with Pretzel the puppy. He said something in Basque and I woke up.

 

Some dreams, less so.

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