My dreams from late August, 2021.

Marco McClean
7 min readAug 31, 2021


My dream from Wednesday, 2021–08–25. Robot puppet Jesus/Zardoz.

I’m in a crappy hotel/motel room where cosmic forces are reduced down to a vague then violent conflict between Mark McKinney of /Kids In The Hall/ (in a silver leotard priest suit) and a wastebasket-size motorized open-mouthed Jesus/Zardoz plinth that jerks around the room maneuvering for a nose-gun shot at him. Mark, already shot once in the solar plexus, can continue for awhile before collapsing because of being from outer space.

A movie puppeteer appears behind Jesus/Zardoz (now a decorated upside-down trashcan); the puppeteer is lying prone, manipulating throttle cables to move J.Z.’s metal snaky manipulating-arm so gradually all the marbles scattered about the shag carpet are collected, and in the next scene, Mark, unshot and okay, exercises the psychic muscles of his space-power by filling, emptying and refilling a small aquarium with colored water extracted from the air by squeezing the holy marbles with pliers.

In the next scene of this meta-film project, a cross between my employer Tim and my stepfather Roland waits around patiently while I pack up my things. I play for him the answering machine tape I cleverly used as a sound effect — but it just hems and haws in my voice (“Um… hold on a minute… uh…”), never getting to the sound. Eventually I have all my things in the Chevy Citation I had in the middle 1980s, including fancy brogue bowling shoes the Marci Fosse-like fast-food clerk girl in the previous dream refused in trade for food (“Yuck,” she said of the shoes), and it’s agreed everyone will meet in Redwood Valley, which in the dream is not in Northern California but in the desert east of San Diego because Mark McKinney’s marbles rearranged reality, but only a little bit, like dollar store Infinity Stones, or rather like the crashed alien terraforming machinery in the teevee show /Defiance/, which I suddenly would like to watch all three years of all over again because it’s superlative storytelling. It’s about a lot of things, but mainly about the relationship between a tough but goodhearted soldier of the war between the humans and the aliens, and the teenage alien girl he rescued as a toddler and is now raising as his own daughter, which he knows fuck-all about how to do. I recommend /Defiance/.

The teenage alien girl is played by Stephanie Leonidas, who earlier played Helena in the film /MirrorMask/ which is also terrific, having been written by Neil Gaiman.

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My dreams from Friday, 2021–08–27. Dutch eyes. Goods for sale.

First dream. I’m on a crew shooting a musical commercial in Comptche, but in a grammar school like Franklin, and the job ends where I’m dozing on the grass on a hill with a little girl, like Juanita as a little girl, sleeping next to me with her arms and legs wrapped around my arm. A Dutch-looking woman with wide flat hooded eyes comes near and smiles at me, and the hill becomes in Caspar (CA). Down the hill the old houses are back the way they were and I can go home there.

Next dream. I’m dragging goods for sale on a hallway runner rug along a mountain desert road. Among the goods: a three-foot-by-four-foot antique mirror and a decorated cigar box. I get across an immense intersection of several wide roads and set up shop on the sliver of a corner.

Gradually people stop and look around. I have more things for sale now, and the corner gets bigger to hold them. A woman and her little girl like the mirror. /Please buy it. Please buy it./ But, no.

The place changes to a shallow but high dirt cave niche in a hill near the sea on a tropical island. A man drives up in an expensive BMW car with his little boy. They look around the sale items, scoffing good-naturedly at my made-up magical claims for this or that. The man suddenly gets steamed up with anger at my claim for the cigar box, and he starts to phone the police to have me arrested for lying.

I take his wrist and /persuade/ him — “Just watch.” I ask the little boy what would look like magic to him… Weather control? Sure, he says. I move out away from the cave, raise my arms up like Prospero and command the wind to rise. A wind comes up, shakes the trees, part of the top of a palm tree crashes down. I point at a cloud where, before, the sky was clear. Now it’s gray all over, and now dark gray. That should do it. Everything quiets and settles down. The sky clears. It’s a calm tropical paradise again.

The man is like, So what. I’m nothing to him; it doesn’t matter what I can do. When they drive away maybe I’ll pop all their tires with a thought. Nah, let ‘em go. They don’t know.

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My dreams from Monday, 2021–08–30. Delay: 1. Spoon, 2. Latch sculpture.

First dream. There’s a festival/convention in Caspar. I’m in a meeting about a new technology or an investment opportunity or a point of ecology — I don’t know; I’m not paying attention — the woman next to me is upset because her boyfriend or brother, some inconsiderate ham-handed lout, somehow put a Z-bend in her precious heirloom spoon that she got from her grandmother. I tell her I can fix that with a tool at work; here, give it to me, I’ll be back in five minutes.

So I’m driving the ’66 VW station wagon I had in 1990, on my way with the spoon to Albion, when it occurs to me that Albion isn’t up Road 409 (right next to Caspar) but where it really is, 20+ minutes farther south. There are no phones in this dream. Turn around? No, just do what you said you’d do.

In the shop at work I straighten out the spoon but, even though I’m careful and wrap it in cloth, the vise stamps weird semicircles into the metal. Now I have to file off the marks and that ruins the spoon further. It’s hours later. What a mess. Go back in time and do it differently? No, now it’s another world and there’s no getting back to the right one. She’ll think I’m just a spoon thief, and what a fool she’s been, and all men are terrible and just break your things and say they’ll fix them and don’t. That’s true, they are. But it’s just a spoon.

>That probably came from two nights before in real life when Juanita was in bed reading and I was washing the dishes and piling them up off-set face-down on each other to dry. Something slipped inside the pile and made a /klink/ sound. Juanita said, “What was that?” I said, “Nothing, nothing. It’s fine. Nothing’s broken.” But… in the silverware drainer place there was a tiny delicate teacup-size ceramic bowl in three pieces. /Uh-oh./

>I reflexively covered it back up again to think. /She has several of these. I can hide it in the trash and take the trash out and genuinely forget about it until she says, “Where’s my fourth [or whatever number] little bowl?” and then say I don’t know. But if I’m going to do that — why not try to fix it, and if it doesn’t fix I can always throw it away then. I fixed it with superglue, let it rest for awhile, cleaned off the excess glue with copper wool, put it in the cupboard and replaced it in the silverware drainer with a fresh uncracked bowl. (I learned from Walter Matthau in the movie /Hopscotch/: always do two confusing things.)

>In the morning Juanita jolted me awake by crouching down over me with her mouth right on my ear and whisper-growling, “Where are the pieces of my bowl!” You know, like an ogre in a story from one of the Colored Fairy Books. Prepared for the results of my first plan (to just throw the broken thing away) I said, “What bowl?” It turns out that she had broken it, herself, earlier, and didn’t say anything to me about it because she was going to fix it with gold-colored powder and epoxy, to make it like those raised-bead-metal-dust-and-lacquer-repaired broken Japanese art bowls. And when she went for the pieces and they weren’t there she thought I’d thrown them away.

Next dream. I’m in a meeting in a modern temporary-trailer-classroom on top of a dry grass hill on a perfect sunny day. Steve Siler from the old Community School is here, and the spoon woman from the previous dream, though different, more like someone I remember from Headlands Coffeehouse in the middle 1990s who always wore a blue and white Norwegian knitted hat with ear-flaps and tassels. I don’t know what the meeting’s about. Some kind of community project. Maybe it’s a reading for a play.

At night I live in the printer room at work with the spoon woman. We’re not in a relationship; we only share the room. There’s a heavy foam rubber mattress on the floor with a fitted sheet on it, and another one around the line of plotter-printers with my sleeping bag on it. Tassel-Woman shows me the doorknob; she pulled too hard and it came out in her hand. Its stem broke off inside the turn-latch, so I have to take the latch and hardware out of the door to fix it.

The knob is on a flat shaft that slides in and out of a receiving slot that’s bent now. I take things into the next room, the shop where tools are, where the more I straighten and adjust things and bend them back the way they’re supposed to be, the more complicated the mechanism becomes, and the more parts of it need to be bent or straightened, and the more I ruin it, but I persevere and end up making a cardboard model to mark and drill holes, and make a whole new thing out of scraps of metal and little screws and nuts. This takes subjective hours.

The woman comes in here and complains that I’m keeping her awake. I say, “I’m almost done.” It’s great. It’ll never fit back in the door, but it’s really nice and I’m proud of it. She’s like, Yeah, huh. And she goes off back to bed.

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Marco McClean

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