Dream May 25, 2012
“It’s not only a game show; it’s a theme park!” said the invisible announcer.
An old friend and I stood at the bottom of stadium bleachers, which were filled with loud audience members and contestants. One stairwell to the right of the seats rose up to the top.
My friend looked up, and I followed her eyes, seeing a gargantuan sign with huge illuminated letters. I had no idea what they said.
“God, I hate game shows,” I said. “I hate the Price is Right the most.” Everyone in the audience began to shout, “HURRY UP! HURRY UP!”
An old-fashioned microphone was stapled to a grassy hillock by my feet. I realized what I’d said had been amplified.
She grabbed my hand. “I hate them, too, but both of us love slides. Come on!” I trudged up while she ran to the highest row of seats. The audience scowled at me, continued grumbling, “Hurry up! Hurry up!”
The stairs were lined by a railing on the right, and far, far below were the rippling waves of an iron-colored ocean. The altitude dizzied me, and I could see enormous shadows of creatures swimming in its depths. As I approached the top, the air to my left exploded, and the host appeared floating in a blazing starburst. His head was much bigger than his body. He startled me and I fell against the railing, which stretched like soft rubber out over the water.
“Whoa!” he said, pulling my arm and me to safety. “Hello there! Are you our first contestant?”
I glanced at my companion, who gestured it was okay for me to go.
“Okay.” The rules of the game were foreign to me. I shrugged.
The host picked me up and we floated to the highest step. He turned me around so I was facing below. For a moment I caught a glimpse of what bordered the other side of the stadium. It resembled a cluster of dirty buildings in the poorer sections of London.
A grating sound erupted from below and the audience roared. The stairs folded, merged together to create a flat, sloping surface. The host pushed me and I fell on my rear and slid down and down through the crowd. However, despite the incline, my descent was slow and hitched with pauses. From all around resonated, “Hurry up! Hurry up!”
I finally came to rest where we had started. The host pointed to the strange sign. “Now, Son, pick a category.”
I looked to the sign, but I could find nothing on it to guide me. Just moving, shifting letters in a language unknown. This wasn’t the Price is Right. I didn’t know what the fuck this was.
Members of the audience stood up and threw food at me. During my indecision, the host was literally swelling with anger. In desperation, I blurted, “CATERING!”
“Catering?” the host repeated, obviously confused. He and his starburst rose into the sky until the clouds enveloped him.
I walked up to sit by my friend. She had grown old and her nose was a huge wart. Her toenails were long and curled. She scooted closer to me and whispered, “I’m tired of pushing Jonathan away.” I nodded and put my arm around her.
A woman screamed from the poor neighborhood to our right. An emaciated man wearing no shirt had struck her, and she wailed. Half of her face was ripped away. She retreated into an alley, sobbing. The man skulked after her.
On the other side of the dark street was a warehouse, whose wide door was open and visible to everyone in the stadium. The woman’s scream had silenced the crowd. All watched the warehouse. From within emerged alien moans and wails of pain. Disfigured figures tortured monsters inside. The man who had hit the woman stopped at the edge of the alley to peer into the warehouse opening. A mouth came out of the dark and bit off his head, and his body danced in the street and eventually fell. Those within noticed us watching, and began to block the open doorway with what appeared to be giant body parts, fitting them together like stones in a country wall.
A voice called out, “NEXT!” and my friend stood.
Those below had completely walled up the warehouse with limbs, but a monster with amber crusted, external teeth broke through the wall and huffed in the street. Its head rose and fastened on me with spider eyes. It scrambled into the alley.
Shivering, I turned to my friend. She balanced on the railing, her hands clutching the bar of a hang glider. I looked down at the surface of the water. So far down! I got dizzy and begged her not to do it. But she laughed and jumped, and the wind lifted her so high I couldn’t look. I closed my eyes for what seemed like hours while I heard the rustling of her long hair. I eventually opened my eyes, and watched as she landed in the water far off. She abandoned the glider and swam the butterfly form with tremendous speed towards a new shore. The shore was my home driveway in Paris, KY, bordered by the two story garage. She reached the asphalt and climbed out, disappearing behind the garage. After a few moments, a light switched on in the second floor window.
I looked down at my shoes. The stadium, the people, everything had vanished except for a colossal ladder plummeting hundreds of meters down into the water. I clutched the top of the ladder, my shoes on the fourth rung below. It remained completely vertical in the air, and a propeller was affixed to its base beneath the ocean’s surface. The laddership moved at a slow 10 knots in a straight line towards the asphalt beach.
My fear of heights had multiplied, and I trembled, trying to keep my eyes on the destination.
Something jolted the ladder.
I glanced over my shoulder. The creature from the London warehouse was climbing the rungs. The entire bottom half of its large head was rusted teeth. It ascended gradually. I turned around on the ladder, horrified. After several minutes, the thing had reached my feet. I kicked at its head, and it snapped and growled. I kicked again and burst its arachnid eyes.
The laddership stopped and began to sink into the water. The beast snapped again and engulfed my shoe in its dark yellow jaws.
Got some stamps with which to send my guts to the pork plant. Who’s gonna mail the package once I scrape myself out? The shell of me. The shell of me can go swimming in a crick of chocklit, and the fake chocklit liquor will seep its way into the holes of my pupils. Because I punched them out with a candy stick I sharpened in my mouth at the Cracker Barrel. I can feel the cocoa butterless ooze ooze all over my insides when I am down at the bottom, and I quiver and shiver at the sensation. My guts at the pork plant are stuffed in an extraordinarily large envelope which sits on the edge of the loading dock, staring off at the skyline of Kansas City, looking like a morose Quasimodo with dry skin and patches of blood and shit sweat popping up all over his damned body. “No!” screams the pork-processing plant manager. He hits the delivery driver with a hammer. “I will not make sausages with these guts! Whose guts are these?” And from the bottom of the creek, I mutter, and the last bubble of air within my shell rises fluidly up and up through the cloying murk, to pop at the surface with a squelch and “Those guts were once mine.” The envelope skin is now seeping wet from containing my guts, his only friends excited flies. It is top-heavy, and falls over onto the concrete dock with another squelch as the loading doors close, leaving him alone with sunshine and flies. Do I have any grief? I have no grief.
we want to spread them like butter of course your watermelon won't fit there because it's the thin sheen that we need not big fruit not big fruit layers and layers of squashed squash to revitalize all of them. all the talk is the juice did you drink the juice? this is about nothing - nothing fills it up like poisoned helium in a sheep condom balloon. IT IS SO BIG. and you and I float away on the rim of a nothing chorus like static in yer ear, fragments of titanium whole thoughts pulsing and pulsing. the air will grind up your face and it will rain your face your happy and sad and the dry upheaval of despairing sobs so those below will use it to climb to the ladder. THE LADDER IS BROKEN. HERE. HAVE SOME OF THE SHARDS. SOME DEEP SPLINTERS TO INFECT YOU.
Woke up after a terrible nightmare. I was driving across a dark landscape in my Volkswagen, my passenger somebody I didn’t know. It was night, but so black the road over my shoulder was devoured. We stopped at a nondescript house at the side of the road, shaped like a brick with no windows and one door. An orange light over the door illuminated the night. I was expectant about the house, felt like I knew somebody there. I turned around for a moment staring off into blank fields. When I looked back, she was there, only a few inches away from my face. I think she was ---, I wasn’t sure. Her face was a burnt orange. She held a bundle of blankets in her arms, which she handed to me. “Hey!” I said. She moved her head in a careful circle, slowly examining my face. I felt self-conscious and wondered whether my features had changed so much she wouldn’t recognize me. But then she stopped and kissed me. I might as well have kissed a woman composed of ancient paper, it was so dry and featureless. I got in the car with the bundle and drove off. The dream shifted. I was in the corridor of my apartment building with a dolly, moving phantom objects into my home. Walking through the doorway, my apartment turned into a huge industrial loading dock facing a vast parking lot where my car was parked. The left side of the dock was a metal grill, with panels that collapsed into a sort of huge threshing machine operated by means of a lever emerging from the center of the dock. A high wall divided the grille from the rest of the area. Several men were working and laughing here. I rolled the dolly down a ramp to stow it in my car. “I’m finally done with this, guys,” I said. As I approached the vehicle, I passed a beautiful woman. And from around a corner came running -----. He was exercising. He stopped to give the woman his lightning smile. He told a joke, making us both laugh. But they didn’t hear or see me. I became a ghost, an invisible observer. The workers had gone inside for a break. ---- embraced the woman and they moved up onto the metal portion of the dock, which was blocked from view. The couple lay down on the metal and kissed. Renewed laughter filled the air as the men returned to work. The woman disentangled herself from --- and jumped up, running off into the distance. ---- started to get up, but a man with blonde hair, unaware of his presence, pressed the lever. The grille opened up and the he fell inside. I was horrified but couldn’t say or do anything, only watch as if I was at the cinema. He started to shout from below, but the men were laughing too loud. The blonde man clutched the lever in both hands and pulled, causing the machine to start. Immediately the screams. Oh my God the screams. “Ahhhhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh!” Constant and horrible. The men stopped laughing. The one who had pulled the lever froze for a moment amidst the shrieks, terrified and unsure what to do. To stop the screams, he pulled the lever all the way. Silence. My ghostly form floated above the metal, giving me a horrid close-up of what was left below, the man ground into sections. His severed head faced up through the grille, mouth opened in an eternal howl of misery. The worker had stepped around the wall and looked down into the carnage. His face had transformed into animated clay, blue eyes filling with white tears. “It isn’t my fault,” he said. “I didn’t know he was there. You can’t blame me.” Dream Over