Monday and Tuesday, 2021–12–13 & 14
My dreams from Monday, 2021–12–13: Fire projector. Zipper. Vertigo. Hiding the shot on the page.
First dream. It’s my landlord’s place but a wider, Veldtish, Australian-outback version. Everyone’s away, but vague unseen criminals are competing to acquire technology to start fires at a distance; somehow I get this technology first, in a baseball-bat-size metal tube that projects a beam of heat. The others and I vaguely psychically struggle over it, and it starts up in my arms and heats up a frisbee-size spot on a rusty iron grain tank full of dry garbage, hay and old building materials so the contents burst into flames, billow up and spray everywhere.
There are little fires in a tree against the house; the roofing is burning in places. I get a small fire extinguisher I still have from my newspaper office in the early 1990s (charge level still in the green, but just barely), and I climb up on the side-roof via the fence and use the extinguisher on the little fires. It solves all the problems and even smooths over the damage without running out of material inside it.
A jovial ancient-Roman-like version of my landlord comes home from wherever he’s been. I tell him about the event and the criminals and the fires. He would never have known, so he’s not upset.
Next dream. I wake up in the dream from sleeping on a blue tarp under a tree in a rural campling place that has cabins scattered far apart on an endless lawn like a golf course. It’s just getting light out and people will be getting up and coming outside. I get dressed from a bundle of clothes in a pillowcase. Brand-new heavy blue jeans. The jeans zipper goes up but that doesn’t close it. Oh — the bottom of the zipper has to be inserted, one side in the other, like putting the zipper of a jacket together. Now it works.
Next dream. My dead stepfather Roland is wearing a safety visibility shorts suit: rubberized yellow cloth with black stripes. We’re in an industrial yard that’s roofed over high overhead with like the underside of several concrete freeways. Roland talks to an old healthy-looking but probably mentally fading Norwegian man who’ll be managing things. We’re going to Northern Europe in a pickup truck and trailer. The trip over the Atlantic is not the difficulty; the difficulty is the old-world-style bureaucratic paperwork at the far end; that’s the Norwegian man’s main job.
Roland tries to back the truck and trailer out of a slot. He goes back and forth, this way and that, and can’t do it.
I guess he did it: the truck and trailer are outside a very wide rolling gate. Roland and the old Norwegian man are figuring out the gate-closing instructions. They learn how to close it, but it stops moving. /It’s intelligent. It won’t close until I’m on the outside./ I run out.
We walk up the dirt-floor ramp to the truck. The old man is talking to Roland and reading a clipboard as he walks directly into an adobe wall. He’s okay, just embarrassed. He gets in the truck and drives away. I don’t think things will go well when he gets to wherever we’re moving to, but he’s the guy Roland hired, so.
Now the ghosts of Roland and the old Norwegian man are walking downhill, back inside the fence, to an outdoor library area of forty-foot-high wobbly stacks of filing cabinets and books and random furniture. The men vanish. I fly up into the air and swoop around, investigating the place. Two girls sit on stools at writing surfaces up on the top of high stacks. I think they’re the two girls I used to sit with in the library in high school. They were way more knowledgeable about the sexual/social world than me, but they let me sit and talk with them. /Are/ these those girls?
Things jump back to where I’m going down the hill toward the weird library towers of furniture, and there are more people going this way now, leaving some behind at the edge of the parking lot. I can fly, but the others have control of an optical illusion so it looks, to the people back in the parking lot, like everybody can fly, so no-one’s impressed that I really can.
Now near the tops of the stacks of furniture and filing cabinets I’m suddenly scared, /What if my flying power shuts off?/ I clutch at the edge of something and shinny up onto a flat place of relative safety, but everything’s so wobbly. I can fly down, but… the beginning of vertigo… I start to climb down, only using a little flying power, to keep it running and to make it last, just in case.
Next dream. In the dream Juanita and I live in an apartment where the back garage was behind my grandparents’ restaurant in Burbank when I was little. I walk diagonally across the alley from the apartment to a big open-wall garage where the house should be. There are coffee tables and dinner tables all covered with old things and old books Juanita and I used to have. Some people are working here on their own projects, leaving all existing things alone. Here are some giant books about Medieval calligraphy that it occurs to me Juanita might have forgot about; I could give them to her for Xmas — would that make her angry? or would she be thrilled?
Here’s a carved wooden chest the size of a coffin, full of science-fiction books and children’s-story books and all the Time-Life science books I used to have.
I find a lever-action child-size .22 rifle whose stock has a wiggle on the end like the curled toe of an Arab slave’s shoe. Now the garage is a thrift store in like Fresno. My stepfather Roland and some buisiness-guy he’s friends with are standing outside on the curb, talking, maybe conspiring about crime. I admire this gun; it has a magic rear sight that, though it’s only a notched bit of metal, magnifies like a scope. I aim up into the sky at the targets the previous prize-winning-shot boy owner of the gun actually used in competition. He “hid the shot on the page”. (That means he put the bullet hole somewhere on the target page of writing where it would look like any other period at the end of a sentence or dot of a dotted letter.
I find the hole, shoot, miss by three inches, and closely examine the rear sight on the gun. It’s like the individual-string bridge part of an electric guitar, with tiny hex screws. /I need a tiny Allen wrench. I want to adjust this so I can shoot right down the hole the boy shot to win the contest however many years ago that was.
I woke up with a kind of mishmash to two songs playing in my head: /All the Single Ladies/ (the part where “If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it,” and Crosby and Nash /To the Last Whale/.
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My dreams from Tuesday, 2021–12–14: The Turtle. Glue job. Archeological balloon documentation coup.
First dream. /The Turtle/ (it’s called) is a leaded glass coffin/beetle shape, part of a machine of other connected underground things to cycle fluids around in, to [dispose of bodies? get a resulting useful liquid?]. I drift in and out of some kind of making-of film documentary about the society that invented this and, maybe by clicking on a link, switch to reading a web article about “the first disposable”, which is a two-foot-square satchel sewn together of big waiting-room plant leaves with a hose made of a thumb-thick flexible vine. The painted illustration shows a man carrying one of these. See, winery serfs hundreds of years ago would walk through the vinyard picking grapes from grape trees and putting them in this thing, sucking the juice out of the bottom of it through the vine-tube as they went, but ending up with way more than they drank and pouring that into a barrel at the end of the day. This feels like what was going on with The Turtle device, but that was an industrial funeral process, not something to drink.
Once I woke up I realized the glass coffins must have come from /In Watermelon Sugar/ by Richard Brautigan. The people in that story painted their dead with luminous paint and put them in glass coffins in the swamp/river, so they could walk on paths and little wooden bridges there at night and look down and see them under the water.
Asleep again, next dream. I’m fixing the mortar of a mortar and pestle with carpenter’s yellow glue. I use too much, like you’re supposed to, push the parts together, wipe off what squeezes out, and look around in a strange garage for some kind of tape to hold it together while it dries, so I can put it down.
It goes back to when it was broken, or ahead to where another like it is broken and needs to be glued. This time I rinse the excess glue off with water in a bucket.
Next dream. In a strange house in Fresno or Bakersfield I’m showing off an acquisition and talking about it to a family that’s letting me live here while I do an undefined job in town. The acquisition is a five-inch-thick amateur-bound book of cardboard pages, about a high-tech stunt-science balloon trip in the 1930s. As I tell about it I see the story: The voyagers are delivered to the bottom of the rocket-tall-and-thin balloon structure via truck, sprung out at it on a catapult, and they have to climb all the way up through the ropes and wires to the living area at the top of the balloon. They make it, and there they go…
While I’m telling about this, and the family’s kids are looking through the book, I’m worried that I left my home computer out in the weather, switched on and using electricity, when I left home. I want to go back to Albion and put it inside. Also I’m worried about getting in trouble for stealing the book /and the movie about it that the people are watching now/, though if I hadn’t it would have all been lost to history. I have a wry, amused moment of imagining explaining that to the police.
And I realize I forgot to bring cat food to an old poet who lives on cat food. How many days has he been without food? I don’t really care, but I use this as an excuse to get away from the family, who are beginning to get on my nerves. The teenage boy says something dismissive to me as he flops bonelessly on a 1950s Swedish couch. As I go out I devastatingly coolly call him a fucking pussy and slam the kitchen door behind me, but not too hard; I don’t want the glass to fall out of it; I’d have to fix it.
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