(trigger warnings: II and III both deal with violent imagery)
I need to get from Atlanta to San Fransisco for a conference but I
forgot to buy a plane ticket. I go to the office of this new startup
promising convenient, safe teleportation technology.
Cliched bearded startup men smugly swipe my credit card into their
square-enabled ipad and lead me to a half-cylinder large enough for me
to stand in. They say to close my eyes and inhale deeply, then I'll be
transported (my luggage would be transported seperately).
I do what they say and, sure enough, open my eyes to find myself in
their San Fransisco office. My luggage is next to me. I feel kind of
woozy. I check my watch and realize it's been several hours since I
stepped into the teleporter in Atlanta. I'm late to my conference but
happy to have made it at all.
I find out later that the "teleportation" technology is that they gas
you to knock you out for hours, then load you with your stuff on a
specially chartered cargo plane that flies specific routes between
teleportation endpoints. Essentially, they'd converted an amazon-style
supply infrastructure to accomodate humans in tight temperature
controlled / oxygenated coffins.
This at first offends me with its banality but then I realize it was
actually a lot nicer than normal flying.
Some kind of superpower--an AI or an alien race--takes over the earth
and subjects all humans to immersive VR experiments. I'm injected into
a WWII simulation but something goes wrong with the memory drugs and I
am still cognizant of the fact that it's VR.
I find myself thrown into a battle somewhere in the European
theater. The Wehrmacht, however, consists solely of short green
goblins. I attempt to point out this absurdity as proof of reality
being a simulation to my fellow soldiers but they act like I've gone
insane because, "of course they are goblins, they're nazis."
The experiment is horrifying and I decide to try and kill myself to
end it. I allow myself to be shot and stabbed by goblins but I feel no
pain and do not die or even weaken. I realize that no one is dying:
soldiers are just getting more and more ragged and bloody but continue
to act like nothing is wrong.
I run from the battle and find a cliff so high I can't even see the
ground below. I jump off and fall for several minutes, praying for
death. I reach the ground and land unscathed on my feet. It's a beach
and gray pixellated water laps at the shore. Behind me, goblin
soldiers rain screaming from the cliff's edge, thrown by explosions
I am living with a married couple who have a child. I do not like this
arrangement and intend to move out soon. The couple invites me to the
top of our apartment building which is situated in a valley somewhere
in Colorado. We hang out, looking at the mountains that tower and loom
above the apartment building.
There is an experimental space shuttle doing loops in the sky above
us. This is fun to watch, but then it becomes clear it is going to
crash into our building. It first slams into a huge antenna array and
then impacts the building, puncturing it through the roof. The couple
and their child are caught by the shuttle and crushed. I run down the
stairs among a mass of hysterical residents. For some reason, most of
them are paunchy middle-aged men in business suits. There is
destruction and death everywhere as the building collapses.
I manage to escape the building and watch as half of it crumbles
behind me. I have a panic attack and lie on the ground shaking and
crying. My mom and sister appear and try to console me. They talk me
down from my attack and I explain to them that my computer was in
there and wasn't backed up and it has all of my memories in it; that
without it I'm essentially going to suffer amnesia.
They try to convince me to just let it go. My sister gives me a pink
netbook to use and while I really like it, I need my data. It feels
like a matter of life and death, as if to lose the memories on my
laptop would be to die and born again as some new person. This
I run from my family and push past the fire rescue teams and run
through the smoke and rubble and find my laptop. It's been smashed
into pieces by a fallen girder. I pray the hard drive is intact and
gather the pieces into my arms, crying.
I strap myself into a virtual reality rig and start a game. It is supposedly a
period game involving conspiratorial victorians but the game is soon hijacked
by a vindictive AI. The AI identifies as female but I cannot determine why she
is out to get me.
The game morphs and I find myself in a futuristic hospital (perhaps late 21st
century). I am in the ICU. My friend, J_____, is in a cryogenic
stabilization unit. It is early in the morning: perhaps 3 or 4 AM.
There is a harried nurse. She greets me and wonders if I am one of J_____'s
friends. I say that I am and ask what's wrong. The nurse explains that J_____
became infected with "brain bugs," fat, earwig-like insects that feed on gray
matter. He was quickly put into cryogenic storage to halt the bugs' progress
and now the only recourse is to periodically lobotomize him with a laser
cutter, cleanse that section of brain, and then re-integrate the brain piece
free of insects.
The nurse is exhausted and has been working full time on his case. I offer to
take over her shift. She brightens and teaches me what to do, explaining that
each time I kill a bug I have to fill out a "warranty" form that says the
hospital killed the bug in the best, most professional way possible and
guarantees this bug's absence moving forward.
It seems straightforward enough. The nurse brings me a glass container full of
brain matter floating in some kind of green preservative. I can see the
disgusting bugs waking up and wriggling around.
"Work fast, now. And don't damage the brain piece. It has to go back in. I'm
going to go get some sleep."
The nurse leaves and I stand there with heavy tweezers, picking out the bugs
and crushing them. I decide to just keep track of how many I kill and then fill
out all the warranty forms in one go at the end.
J_____'s wife A____ comes in, delighted to see that I'm there. She offers me
food and drink and thanks me profusely while I crush bugs. I'm getting
increasingly disgusted and horrified by the process and soon cannot take it
I recall that this is all just VR anyway and try to quit. I bring up the game's
menu but the AI taunts me, fuzzing out the UI and making it impossible to
choose "Save & Quit." I am terrified to quit without saving my progress because
even in the virtual world I do not want my friend's condition to regress.
I turn the bug squashing over to A____ and begin to explore the hospital,
seeking out the AI so that I may defeat her and save my progress. I instead run
into a crowd of corpulent, monopoly-looking businessmen all trying to shove
themselves through an archway into a garden so that they may drink champagne
I am just as disgusted by the businessmen as I was the bugs and wake up
I am not myself. I am a boy, perhaps 8 or 9, and my mother is a combination of
Patricia Arquette and Tilda Swinton and is a vampire. She wears a long black
dress and large black sunglasses.
She is worried that I am growing up maladjusted by her vampirism. She teaches
me to compose music by drawing rigid square shapes on graph paper with a thick
black pen and dotting empty spaces with coloured ink.
A machine reads the grid and plays back music. It is abstract and harsh and
each new piece I draw is harsher and darker. My mother is afraid.
She keeps me after school to meet with a very old Iroquois woman. Her hair is
gray, long and bushy and a her face very round and wrinkled. She carries graph
paper compositions of her own.
"Your compositions are too rigid, too square. Why do you draw locked rooms with
I shrug and tell her that that was how my mother taught me.
"I will teach you to flow. You must flow."
She shows me some of her graph paper: it consists of smooth, elegant spirals
and many coloured dots. I prefer my rigid rooms and get quiet and cranky. I
wake up after looking up at my mom and her fangs and how pale and sad she is.
I am a some kind of cyberpunk agent-for-hire in Pan Asia. The waves have long since covered up the United Kingdom and I have been hired to infiltrate "UK town," a sprawling, walled, hotel-like city founded decades ago by refugees.
There is a wing of the complex dedicated for use as a nursing home. Old british women dress in neo-victorian garb and sit in holographic sun rooms and spend their days writing letters to the "prime minister." They are actually corresponding with an AI who writes back to them of romance, politics, intrigue, and passion.
My employer has determined that one woman in particular is conversing with the actual prime minster of the UK, a shadowy and secretive figure. He is, for some reason, enamored of this old blind woman and she and she alone receives actual honest letters from the politician.
It is my job to get into this woman's room and steal any letters I can find so my employers can use them to pin point who and where the prime minister is (I elect to not find out why).
I wear a long tweed coat and dodge many dressed-up butlers carrying tea trays made of a plasticine silver. I enter the first elevator I see for the nursing home complex and begin pressing the buttons according to some arbitrary protocol. Such arcane annoyances are the law of this place and, as far as I know, I hit all the elevator buttons in the right order and uttered the correct pleasantries to the AI monitoring the car.
Unfortunately an alarm sounds. A cyborg (who looks just like M___ M_K____) with surgically attached sunglasses marches in and informs me that this car is set up for a certain Madame's funeral procession and that I have failed to follow proper funerary protocol. He tells me that I will be "instructed."
He pulls from a thick keyring what looks like a transparent stick of RAM. He shoves it into the slit in my forehead and I am subject to a searing pain throughout my head. A vision starts in my brain of some poorly adapted biblical story about "the funeral of Job" and I am unsure how long it goes on.
When it fades, I come to and see him rip the RAM stick out of my forehead and walk off. I quickly get into a different elevator.
I make it onto the proper floor and find a nurse who is going to visit my target. I convince her that I am a nephew who has come to check on the woman's cat. The nurse lets me into the woman's room.
I quickly find the cat "carriers," giant chocolate-shell easter eggs wrapped in garish green tin foil. I crack the nearest one open and there is an unseeing, switched-off cat robot inside. To placate the nurse I busy myself with plucking an intricate pattern of hairlessness into the cat robot (who looks a lot like my cat U___). Luckily the old woman is blind and lost in a fantasy "outside" in the holographic sun room.
The nurse leaves and I quietly rifle through faux-wooden bureaus and drawers all while listening to the old woman have a conversation with herself about flowers and tea. I find reams of correspondence with the true prime minister and stuff it all into my coat.
I manage to escape the city and go to stash the letters in my locker in a filthy subway only to find that my locker has been wrenched open and looted. I wake up feeling pissed off and cheated.
A______ and I discover that Aaron Swartz's parents have moved out of their house in MA and are selling it. They have kept Swartz's childhood bedroom intact, though, so that it can be transferred wholesale into a computing history museum.
We decide to make a spiritual pilgrimage to Swartz's home to see his bedroom in its original state before it is moved.
We drive hours to MA and, in the middle of the night, park behind the large 3 story house and (as non-invasively as possible) break in. The house is very empty and ready to move on the lower two floors; on the top floor, however, we find Swartz's childhood bedroom.
The first thing we do is attempt to determine if the rumours of a hidden wall compartment behind an unfinished wall-mounted Go board are true. We deduce that there is no such apartment, and the board works via magnetic Go pieces that are attracted to the back of a great big metal shelving unit on the other side of the wall (not via a device hidden in the wall).
His bedroom is full of books, gadgets, and ephemera. A______ suggests I take a book--just one--as a holy artifact. I agree and begin to hunt through the shelves but nothing seems right.
I hunt and hunt and leaf through many books and get increasingly anxious about being caught. Finally, a wall of posters and postcards catches my eye; there is a postcard with a picture of a gothic castle in black and white with small crows drawn in with heavy black ink. Text at the bottom reads: The beauty of poetry lies in the prosaic.
For obvious reasons, I take this as my artifact and slip it into my bag. We sneak out and drive hours back home to A_____.
I am at a family gathering around christmas. Several aunts, an uncle, and my (in actuality, late) grandfather are there.
It is somewhat the future.
I have a newish smartphone and am taking selfies with my family. I notice something strange; in the photos, everyone (my aunts and I) looks a little different. Our skin is more glowing, or less-wrinkled, or generally younger-looking. Our hair is less gray.
In my dream I realize I am lucky to be around my grandfather. He does not understand selfies but I convince him to get in some with me and an aunt.
I keep taking pictures but his head will never appear in them. Just an empty collar. My aunt and I are there but have the strange airbrushed look.
I get curious and start googling for this symptom. It turns out that the camera software on my Facegooglebook smartphone is "airbrush only" in which, for each human in a given photo, facebook scours the internet for every single picture of that human and constructs an "idealized" version of their head. This is considered a feature or improvement.
Since my grandfather has only ever been old on the internet Facebook decided it was best to just leave his old, wrinkled face out.
I get furious and start writing blog posts about how awful this is. I rant about Facebook's ageism and how it enables a culture of self-hatred and terrible body-esteem.
I realize that it's too late and that all software is proprietary and that things can never change.
I'm eating lunch with A___, A______, _, and S____. We're sharing cut vegetables and veggie burgers off of a paper plate. Our table is situated in a tall tree next to a walkway on some kind of academic campus. One of the veggie burgers falls to the ground and I am saddened.
Someone comes down the walkway and tells me that an old friend, K____, may be dead because he has run out of clones. He was always into heavy drug use and apparently making several clones with shared consciousness and doing reckless things was his most recent hobby. Unfortunately, it seems that he forgot to make a backup clone.
I resolve, with A_______, to go to his "mastermind," a computer that, in theory, handles the manufacturing of his clones and stores a rough, stripped down version of his psyche. We walk through a strange building full of college-age people taking classes in saunas. We emerge into an unfathomably large area completely stuffed with spaghetti-wrapped escalators. Suited business people go every which way.
Finally we reach a dorm tower that overlooks a soccer field. At the highest floor there is a long, dim hallway. At the end, an African student tells us, is K____'s mastermind. We walk into the increasing darkness.
I notice that A___ and M__ are here. A___ has to go get a frightening medical procedure to remove a terrible parasitic worm infection; the worms are choking all of his organs, including his brain. M__ is afraid and doesn't want him to go, but understands he'll soon come under the control of the worms. I feel bad for eavesdropping and sneak away (though A___ notices me and kind of shrugs).
We reach the mastermind. It's a computer terminal in a dark room, as far as we can tell. I speak with it and find out that it sort of has K____'s mind in there, but several others as well. It's trying to produce clones but it has produced so many that the clone genetics are mutating and the clones come out half-formed or otherwise useless and flailing. It would seem that K____ is as good as dead.
Instead of watching more pathetic half-alive clones crawl out of the darkness we go to a window and pull back the shade. We can see the soccer field, where a game is going on. The home team is losing 1-0.
The home team is all student-run and is coached by a trio of scared looking underclassmen. I see them call a timeout and conspire with one another. One of them convinces an old man to come chat with them. For some reason I recognize him as a great and famous but retired pro-soccer coach. He sits down with one of the students but is sucked up a chute; to my surprise he pops out of the ceiling by K____'s mastermind and is dragged into the darkness by mechanical hands.
K____'s mastermind booms out, "I am a soccer god. I will lead our team to victory!" The wall with the computer terminal splits open and a robotic queen ant the size of two semi-trucks bursts forth. Her gaster is glowing brilliantly and from it I can hear the moans of many other minds absorbed into her.
The giant ant queen breaks through the wall and spreads huge purple satin wings. Before she can reach the soccer game and claim victory, though, huge police dragons fly in and attack her. We watch her flee to a nearby super-highway leaving a path of destroyed cars and angry police dragons. I wake up.
I meet a strange man in a dilapidated farmhouse while on anniversary vacation with A_______. He offers to pay me thousands of dollars if I secretly sneak up on Matt Damon and take a photograph of him with some secret lover. He wants to hire me since I am just some rando and not a well-known paparazzi. I agree because it seems totally worth it.
We get lat+long coordinates from the strange man and head there. It is evening. Damon is in this dock/pavillion on a giant lake at the bottom of a rocky cliff. We park at the top of the cliff and work on figuring out how to hide ourselves and what our plan ought to be. I end up wrapping myself in a black towel and taking A_______'s point & shoot camera and climbing down some rocky ledges for a good vantage point.
At first I watch Damon seemingly set up for his lover. He puts out wine and goes for a swim. A strange APC arrives and armed men as well as some kind of ghastly, suited, skinny creature make their way down the cliff escorting a clearly restrained woman. I curl up under the black towel as they pass, picking their way down a rocky path.
Damon greets and begins talking to the suited man. The woman is put down in the center of the pier. I try to take pictures but am worried about what is going on. More people arrive; this time, it's strange squat twin men wearing yellow and blue striped space suits complete with Buzz Lightyear-style head bubbles. Inside they are both bald and wearing dark welder's goggles.
The spacemen get into canoes and paddle out into the lake. Meanwhile, Damon and the suited man open a great chest and pull out a huge book. A book that's as big as Damon's torso. Its binding is a deep red and the cover is a confounding and non-euclidean pattern in maroon.
A light emanates from the lake. It's the two spacemen, who have set themselves up equidistant from each other and the deck on rocks. A beam of light is coming from their chests and I can hear them chanting in some language so quickly it is impossible to understand them.
The light pierces the book and behind it a giant orb starts to form. It is silvery at its core and shrouded in red mist and energy. Damon and the suited man look very, very pleased.
Suddenly my patron appears next to me.
"We must stop them. I'm sorry I have lied to you, but I needed evidence of their treachery. I didn't think they would attempt the entire ritual this night but it's up to us now to put a stop to it. The whole universe is at stake."
I believe my patron but am not sure what to do. The book is now floating in mid-air and, along with the orb, is glowing brightly. The spacemen are chanting even louder and faster and their chest beams are blindingly bright.
My patron leaps down onto the deck and starts wrestling with Damon. I hear Damon screaming,
"It's too late! You've lost!" The night sky suddenly rips open and the entire horizon in front of and above me becomes a glaring Hellscape. I see flaming mountains and the husks of dead planets floating above strange peaks. Unbelievably large god-things start climbing out of this sky, setting their long legs into the lake. The lake water hisses and turns foul.
The gods are skinny and long-limbed and black as pitch. Their skin is rough and crusted. Their heads are like old, worn brooms turned upside down. They moan with a roar that deafens.
I run down the rocky path and jump into the water, swimming as fast as I can to a spaceman. I climb on his rock and shove him into the water, interrupting him. I swim to the other and knock him down. I pass by the very leg of the interloping god-thing and am afraid.
My plan seems to have worked, though, and as the spacemen's connection with the book and orb breaks the gods are drawn back into their sky-portal. I swim back to the deck in time to see that Damon has called upon his personal army: a crowd of hardcore straight-edge teens. I get on my phone and ask every one of my facebook friends to come fight Matt Damon. My friends all do battle with the straight-edge kids and in the chaos I grab the giant book and run up the cliff.
I meet my patron.
"You have done well. We have stopped this madness for now." I ask him what the book is. "It is a true book of Genesis. Nothing like the old testaments that you humans cling to, but the actual word of the god-things transmitted to cave-dwelling prophets thousands of years ago. They were insane, and snippets of their prophecies were mis-interpreted and shoved into what your christians call 'the bible.' Damon and his ilk re-created this book by resurrecting these insane old prophets and extracting their thoughts. The orb is a quantum computer that was parsing the book and using its secrets to open the portal. The spacemen are highly trained cyberspace cosmonauts who were programming the quantum computer via optical transmitters in their chests."
I ask him what now.
"We are done, I guess we'll just throw the book into the lake." He does so. I meet up with A_____ M_____, a friend from college, and we drink beer at a nearby bar.
I'm trying to take MARTA to a coffeeshop to do some work. Things are more or less normal except that King Memorial is covered in rickety old-timey scaffolding. I climb up it and just barely squeeze through the doors as the train is leaving.
I don't pay much attention to where we are but then the train grinds to a halt. The doors are thrown open. There is no driver: it was robot controlled the whole time.
The riders (of which there are many: this train is twice as long as your average rush-hour blue line) stumble out into a barren, tundra-laden, wild-russia landscape. We must walk to the next station; and it is a long journey. We consult the winds and decide the next station is probably Edgewood/Candler Park.
For some reason I am elected head of our public transit trail of tears. Many fall. We forge into huge snowdrifts and I am nearly lost to slush quicksand on the edge of a frozen river hidden under feet of snow.
We continue. The weather warms up some and the surroundings become more pleasant. There is birdsong. Many have died in our wake.
I see a great hill that is mostly exposed dirt and rock. I decide that surely, the next MARTA station is just over that ridge! I run for the hill and forget about my people. Old women die of cancer as I run and they lie prostrate all around me. I feel awful for them but I HAVE TO GET TO EDGEWOOD/CANDLER PARK STATION.
I scale the hill; it leaves me exhauste. At the top there is a road. I follow it but instead of going anywhere helpful it instead goes into a strange little town that has been left unchanged since 1876. I play some shitty boring game involving a wooden ball with some sooty 19th century kids and then I wake up.
I am in a meeting on the 18th floor of the Equitable building in downtown atlanta. The meeting is very boring. I am there with A___.
The sound of whistling missiles interrupts us and we see explosions all over downtown. North Korean armies are parachuting (Red Dawn style) all over. A___ and I flee into the men's bathroom and climb up into the ceiling to hide; A___ has a rifle.
We listen as soldiers bust into the 18th floor and begin arresting/shooting everyone. An armored and armed female soldier kicks in the bathroom door and starts checking the stalls. We probably should have stayed hidden but A___ attempts to shoot the soldier through the ceiling. It is a near miss and a terrifying fight ensues. We win.
We prepare to try and work our way through the building via the duct network but I need to urinate. I climb down and use the toilet and several soldiers hear me and burst in. A___ flees as I'm taken into custody (I did not blame him).
I'm marched in front of a high-ranking and wealthy older North Korean couple who are sitting down to a very traditional Korean meal. They're about to decide which labor camp to send me to when I ask if they're eating kimchi and say that it smells delicious. The couple is delighted that I know anything about Korean anything and they tell the guards to leave and invite me to eat with them.
I begin an in depth conversation with the husband about how rad dictatorships are and how awful America has become. We agree that in principle democracy sounds nice but at the end of the day it takes good ol' fascism to keep citizens/countries in line. I become carried away with the act and start going on about how three things ruin every republic: assholes, alcoholics, and stupid people (I was just making shit up at this point).
Suddenly the husband and wife become very quiet. I realize that their son is, in fact, a stupid person (he looks like a teen-age Kim Jong Un and is sitting in the corner playing gameboy with a vacant look). The mother bursts into tears and runs out of the room.
The father slowly begins to tell me about how seriously they take stupidity. That he loves his son even though is is stupid. The mother comes back and offers me dessert but the father says no, it's time to send him to his labor assignment.
I'm marched out of the building and into the streets. They are crumbling and on fire. There are corpses everywhere. I march in a column of prisoners for blocks and blocks, miles and miles. I pass by a little cafe the soldiers set up; A___ is sitting there hidden in a tattered hooded robe sipping coffee keeping and eye on things.
Eventually I'm pushed down into a filthy basement. The floor is covered in wires: USB, ethernet, some exposed copper. There are bare motherboards on every surface and VR rigs scattered about. I'm force-fed a drug that messes with time and makes it appear to go by much faster.
It turns out our "labor" is to strap into the VR rigs and gold-farm in WoW 20 hours/day for the rest of our lives. We are fed through a tube.
i am watching a documentary about mass grave pits. the pits have been excavated with a large cylindrical hole straight down their center and a camera on a robot arm thing is slowly traveling up and down the walls of the hole revealing a cross section of the grave.
the soil is thick with bog people corpses. among the rot there are occasional aspects of life; they seem to have been planted by the film makers. these are little clusters of rich purple berries, nests with little baby birds, bright fl and bustling insect colonies.
there is voice over narration but it is just mumbles. the voice morphs from vaguely female to vaguely male and back but is always unintelligible.
the dream simply went on like this.
A_______ and i moved to portland. we signed up to help in a production of a gothic style black and white vampire movie being filmed by an eccentric and underemployed high school art teacher. the high school slowly morphed into a castle as we filmed. giggling high school girls did not take the project seriously but then they turned into gargoyles.
we left down a rail-less crumbling stone staircase and walked to a warehouse (like the bread factory in ne portland) that was abandoned. its roof had collapsed in but a small office on the side was somewhat intact. we took a series of esoteric liquors out of smelly molded cabinets, sorted them, inventoried them, and put them back.
we walked out of the warehouse to a rolling green field. snow started to fall. everyone panicked. the snow piled up faster and faster and when it stopped i dug A___ out of a drift and saved her from the edge of hypothermia. for some reason she was clutching a frozen Nook.
finally, the snow melted and strange alarms started sounding. i got online and determined that the alarms signaled a catastrophic digital event but it was only going off in America. i checked in with several shadow security organizations and they confirmed that there was no alert in any other country.
it turned out that a giant antivirus corporation had unleashed a brutal virus upon the USA as part of a cute marketing campaign. people were pretty upset.
i'm abducted by small furby-like aliens who wish to dissect me / understand humans. they take me far from earth. i manage to escape when the ship lands. we land in this highly advanced akira style city.
the furbies dispatch this big robot to get me. it is a cross between a tng season 2 borg and the robots from Castle in the Sky. i flee through this complicated and convoluted network of military/tech tunnels. wires and tubes everywhere. i see a number of terrible / horrifying experiments as i try to find my way to the surface.
i find another human but it's a scientist in the employ of the furbies. he is going to turn me in. the robot catches up and fires some little marble towards me; i shove the scientist in the way and jump through a door, slamming it.
i look back into the room through a window and see the scientist fall to his knees crying and shaking and howling. i can hear him and he is divulging everything he is ashamed of, every regret of his life, everything sad that has ever happened to him, everything that had ever made him cry. he sobs harder and harder and finally hangs himself with some tubing he rips from the ceiling.
the robot watched all of this. i could hear radio chatter coming from the robot about how this was a "useful test" of the weapon even if the scientist died.
i fled some more and the dream ended with me shooting an RPG at the robot during a speedboat chase and then hitting it with a katana made of stone.
i'm at some company event at a pavilion in a florida swamp with alligators. i get annoyed with the event and i walk off through a maze of planked walkways. i come out into a dirty gravelly parking lot where a local library is having a yard sale / book sale.
this is welcome news. i step up into this big semi which was being used to house inventory so they could schlep the whole sale back and forth from the library.
i'm digging through 90s artifacts like mass-produced tie-die shirts and flannel. i come across a small pile of toys that were immediately familiar. i find more and more of them; little trinkets, like race cars and accessories from real ghostbusters figurines. they all seem to be from my childhood.
i yell out to A______ (who met me in the parking lot) to come aboard and look at them with me. she does and we sit cataloging every fault, fracture, crack and break in the toys to see if they are the exact ones i played with as a child.
it gets dark outside and suddenly the semi's door thing slams shut. the truck takes off. we're trapped there in the dark among all this dirty used stuff and after a while a hidden door opens on the other side of the container.
this rasta guy comes in and is surprised / worried to see us. he motions us through the door. evidently the semi had hooked up with a giant platformed mansion on wheels built from hundreds of old cars and trucks all hooked up to some hideous engine room that coordinated their individual engines. we were driving at high speeds down ruined, dead highways on the west coast.
the mansion was the the headquarters of a dread post-apocalyptic terrorist pirate man who kept a cadre of male slaves to serve him and do pirate raids. it was scary. the aesthetic was all white porcelain and 60s neoclassicalism. lots of statues and marble.
i fear that all these childhood toys of mine were in the semi were there because they robbed my parents. i build a radio transmitter and inform the police about his location and how to break into the platform mansion. in the meantime i foment a mutinous rebellion.
the cops show up and everything goes to shit because the swat people don't know who is mutinying and who isn't. A_______ and i hunker down in the library (the evil guy had a nice one) while everyone dies. blood pools over all the porcelain.
i take A_______ on a date to this drive-up sonic type restaurant (vegan though) that is a virtual reality dinner theatre where you pick a type of dinosaur and a super hero and little AI versions of them battle to the death in a small jungle-themed platform that looks like the battle squares from super mario RPG. the default preset was "TRex vs. Batman" but to mix it up we watched "Stegosaurus vs. Aquaman" while eating veggie burgers. Aquaman was ripped apart and stomped on.
after dinner we went to a lovecraft museum. we broke into the basement. it consisted of several rooms that were copies of the upstairs rooms of my late grandfather's house. in one room was a sick woman with waist-long black hair in a white nightgown. she was breathing but basically comatose and wouldn't make eye-contact with us. the door was opened and we thought we were found out by the head of the household but it was a dark golem of some kind bearing a platter; the golem proceeded to spoon some kind of slop into the comatose woman's mouth.
we moved on to another room and found some kind of shrine. it was set up kind of church-like with scattered folding chairs facing a blank wall. the wall adjacent had a long shelf with scale models of Ngranek (a great mountain) and a dark tower of sorts.
we sat and the head of the house came down. he seemed pleased that we were there for "worship". the ritual began; a dark ambient drone filled the room and the blank walls started lighting up with strange monochrome maps of eastern europe and pictures of shambling, hairy black things. the small model of Ngranek replicated itself and grew larger, the walls broke away and we were suspended in shitty brown folding chairs over the great peak. a torrent of skulls rained down from the sky and we were back in the basement and everything was normal again.
the dude left and we walked out a door to the outside where it was raining and gray. i think it was portland.
we make our way to an office party held at my apartment. unfortunately a coworker has a serious grudge on me and learned sorcery. he used it to turn the floor of my apartment into a portal to a particularly raging/shark-filled area of ocean. the floor was an illusion and if you stepped unaware you'd drown or be eaten. all of the party guests showed up and got trapped on a few precious squares of non-transformed linoleum. we had to gingerly dip fingers "into" linoleum squares to figure out which were oceanic. we construct a boat out of furniture and most of us make it to the kitchen. the party starts there, where it is safe, as the unlucky ones who slipped and fell are ripped apart by sharks. i weep because lots of my books were lost in the ocean.
i'm in a coffeeshop and there is this long table next to my little one. it is full of older people who are all chanting liberal things. they bang on pot lids and blow whistles and say things like "Legalize it" and "Make love not war!" it is evidently a birthday party for a 69 year old man who has many buttons on his hat
i have convinced my job to send me to a conference in Russia about augmented reality. i rush into the conference room to get my swag which is a small computer (slightly larger than rasp pi), head gear, and some kind of power glove. everyone puts it on and you can create illusions around yourself and the world that the augmented reality reveals to you through your headset.
the conference devolves into chaos and augmented reality takes over. i am threatened by some AR thugs who convince me to put some illusion of valuable money on my shoe and walk around. when other users attempt to dive and grab it from my foot they will accuse them of thievery and beat them up, in the process stealing any valuables on their person (AR or otherwise).
i am stuck in the back of a very small and claustrophobic marta bus. it is night and i don't know where i am. ahead of me also smushed in with the many people on board is a tall, older black man. he is discussing microchips and how they are put into babies and then tracked using devices like iphones / tablets. he was very proud of himself for not owning any such things, even a cell phone.
this conversation embarrasses me so i look at the floor and notice a dark puddle of liquid pooling around my feet. it is emanating from a seat behind me and i worry i am being urinated on. this makes me feel worse so i look back up.
the older man is now talking about vietnam and the illuminati with a younger guy whose smart phone is full of illuminati pictures.
i go to mars. there is a space base there and my great grandfather is alive and is also Prince Phillip. he is a drunk and not very nice but he leads me to a chamber where i witness a holographic replaying of my (paternal) grandfather (his son) landing on venus which is a tropical madness. my grandfather is toiling and suffering, stripping off his space suit to get horrible parasites out of it and sweating profusely and dying of dehydration. i am unable to distinguish the hologram from reality; suddenly the holograph of my grandfather comes out and he is very tired / sad. he leads me to a porch (the covered front room of his house) and sits and starts to drink whiskey. my great grandfather (prince Phillip) is acting pathetic and drinks himself into a stupor in the corner.
the ghost of my late (maternal) grandmother shows up on the porch and she is so happy, happier than i ever witnessed her being in life. she smiles and i'm overwhelmed by it and start crying. then i woke up.
i am a hopped up space marine with a giant rifle thing and power armor of some kind. I'm one of few remaining on a space station where Alien-style aliens (but more insect like) have taken over. when we die, some service on the station wraps a forcefield around our body and buries us in some organic wastematter to be reborn.
a flaw in the facility forces me out of the waste-womb early and i don't get suited into power armor or receive a weapon. i am terrified and tip toe around the station. my former space marine bravado has been replaced by a whimpering fear.
i come upon a workshop. it does not contain humans. rather, i find that the aliens have merged with the ship's robotic facilities to produce humanoid, semi-organic androids. one is busy operating on a still fully organic member of their race. behind it is another who looks mean. he has a bucket like head and looks kind of like the interrogator room droid from return of the jedi. i watch him gently slide his hand in and out of a force field produced by the ship; i realize they've figured out how to penetrate them.
my realization that we will all soon die prevents me from moving. the mean looking android sees me and picks up a glowing blue cudgel; it looks like a beer bottle but is clearly a weapon of some kind. he slowly marches towards me. he knows i am frail and weak and cannot escape.
i had to force myself awake as he slowly stepped towards me brandishing the cudgel.
I was both cayce pollard and hollis henry in one. we were escorting our polish
artist friend (voytek?) who did avant-garde geospatial augmented reality work
(chombo?) to a startup incubator. we felt it was a long shot, but perhaps the
incubator could fund the work?
we had to, of course, go to SF or something a lot like it (california i think
had physically separated from the mainland) the incubator was in an
absolutely massive stratosphere-scraper and one had to go up a mile of
zig-zagging escalators to get there. back-dropping the escalators was a
neverending wall of failed tech startup logos. no repeats. all bright and
cheery and perfect but all representing a failed enterprise, a death. it
didn't matter to the incubators: they had profited from them all in the short
term and built and empire out of VC-enriched bones.
we reached the top. instead of having to wait hours to never been seen we are,
to our great surprise, seen soon by a pair of smug casual-businesspeople: a
woman and a man. we pitch the idea, hopping about on a floor-sweeping scale
diagram of voychombo's vision: some kind of dreamscape imposed over the
entire continental US. we broke some of the model and were going to talk until
they showed us the door with a no thank you.
i'm looking out the window into the clouds as voychombo runs out of things to say. i don't want to see the look in the eyes of these noveau. but instead of refusal they are excited and pleased.
"we have too much money, anyway. we're sick of tech businesses. we'll write
you a blank check. when can you start?"
the trip back down the escalators was a lot better than the trip up despite
having to lug the scale model of cloudmerica in a downward mile.
I dreamt that A_______ and I went to a movie. it was after hours, but since we had friends who worked at the theatre they let us in. they couldn't run the projectors, but offered to let us watch some movie they had on a television at the front row of one of the theatres.
we settled in and sat through a long credit sequence with illegible, small white characters on black. it went on for a long time. all that was clear was that this was a david lynch adaptation of some children's cartoon; possibly carebears or my little pony.
the intro scene: gloomy music, a camera pointed at the ground dips low and back up while moving forward. The ground is green and brown and grey; the angle of the camera slowly lifts up to reveal rainbows and clouds in the distance.
the audience member sees the film through the eyes of different character, but also experiences emotion, taste, smell. we're introduced to a happy-go-lucky rainbow pony. she lives on a chicken farm. her parents are very powerful and she lives in a world of privilege and comfort.
an awful cretinous creature shambles up the hill to the farm. he is ashen and decaying, wearing tatters and covered in filth. crumpled, sad, broken. he is unlike anything else around--he has no rainbows, sunshine, or shooting stars.
the pony knows of this creature and has been told of its evil, so it taunts it and tries to shoo it away. it insists it's hungry and needs chickens. or eggs. the pony refuses and threatens to get her father. finally, she throws heavy things (rocks?) at the creature and he's knocked back down the hill and away from the farm.
the audience member is now seeing things from the point of view of the creature. he is overcome with hunger. he can feel himself dying. he knows his only chance is to get eggs from the farm. he starts back up the hill.
he reaches the halfway point and hears a commotion above. little eggs start rolling down the hill to him. ecstasy; jubilation. he frantically scrapes them up into his withered claws and stuffs them in his mouth.
instead of being crunchy normal eggs, they're soft and yielding, like gushers. the audience member can taste them, feel them in their mouth. both the eggs and the mouth shrink and grow and seem far from the body, but soon they pop and the distinct taste of blood fills the mouth.
the creature is completely satisfied and wanders blissfully away.
the audience member is back in the perspective of the pony. while the creature feasted, some kind of official starburst pegasus came to visit the pony's parents.
Some law had been broken; the farm would be taken by the state and the family rendered homeless. The final scene is the gut wrenching fear of the pony as she watches her father hand the land deed over to the official pegasus.
A_______ and I leave to find food.