January, 1987 - October, 1990

January 26, 1987

I am attending a parade in the hills south of San Francisco. The parade is going to be held inside a huge palace on a winding road through the hills. The focus of the parade is the Crown Jewels, which will be displayed somewhere within the building. It is my mission, as part of an international ring of jewel thieves, to steal them.

My accomplices and I enter the immense Baroque building dressed in our finest clothes, blending in perfectly with the affluent crowd. We split up, and as I sip wine and sample hor d'oeuvres, I make my way to the main hall. The hall is filled with people, some of them in modern dress, others in 17th Century attire. Proceeding up the middle of the hall is an immense float, its thousands of pastel flowers forming a design based on the style of the building, yet so infinitely complex that it is incomprehensible. Everybody is cheering madly, and I cheer also as I continue down the hall in search of the Jewels. I am enjoying myself quite a bit, the excitement of the parade augmenting that of my illicit intentions.

Finally, at the end of the hall, I spot the Jewels. They are set into a recess in the wall about seven feet up, arranged like a royal court surveying the parade. My accomplices and I have no pre-conceived plan of how to steal the Jewels. Rather, we prefer to go about it on our own as events unfold. We enjoy competing to see who can get the Jewels first, even though we all share the rewards equally. As I stand looking at the Jewels, contemplating my plan of attack, a friendly British policeman approaches me and begins to converse. He is unaware of my intentions, and I talk with him for a while, being as friendly as possible. When I turn around again, the Jewels are missing! I quickly excuse myself from the presence of the policeman, who has not yet noticed the crime, and walk hurriedly back towards the car.

As I leave the building, I am confronted by thousands of Deadheads also leaving. Mysteriously, there were no Deadheads inside the hall. The famous Inspector Clouseau is there, and we walk together towards my car. He and I have met on numerous occasions and have often held brief conversations, the Inspector remaining completely clueless as to my profession. I attempt to talk to him in his native language, and he answers me in a rapid stream of French. After a few minutes we reach my car and I casually say goodbye in English. "Well, O.K. I guess I'll be seeing you later!" he says in perfect English. I smile to myself as I get into the car. Three of my accomplices are there already, but the fourth, Mark's older sister Stephanie, is not. We wait a short time for her, and then begin to drive up and down the strip of road in front of the building looking for her. We cannot find her and we decide to leave her behind. I never liked Stephanie much anyway.

We drive up Highway 101 and as we come down a large hill to the Bay Bridge, I can see waves crashing up against the base of the nearest tower. I remember that the highest tides in ten years are now receding and I can actually see the water rushing past the Bridge on its way out to the Golden Gate. This is, in fact, what is causing the "waves". They are not really waves, but water being overturned as it rushes past the towers, like the bow of a ship slicing through the ocean. Driving over the Bridge, I notice that it is not a suspension bridge as it once was, but a floating bridge. From my position close to the water, the curls of overturning water reveal themselves to be huge, crashing torrents, sending salt water spraying in the fierce winds.

As we approach the other side of the Bay, we are no longer driving in a car on a bridge, we are now piloting a boat in a long caravan of boats heading towards a canal. We enter the canal, which is lined with huge apartment buildings set flush up against the edge of the water. The entire caravan begins chanting in time with the rocking of the boats. The residents of this urban Venetian complex, leaning out windows, join in our Gregorian hymn, as we transform from our convoy of boats to a single file of people walking on a plank suspended a foot above the middle of the waterway. I sense that the people in the buildings desire greatly to be on the plank, and one girl attempts to jump from a low window onto the plank. She lands in the water behind me with her arms draped over the board and is pulled up by the people in line.

We walk further, chanting, swaying, past the apartment buildings and along side the edge of a marsh, heading towards a boat moorage. I am staring at the plank in front of me, and suddenly my vision darkens. I fall to the board and my compatriots quickly help me up. My vision has returned, and I walk on. A few moments later, my vision fades again. I crumple onto the plank, blind. I can go no further.

A Few Short Dreams from My Past

I'm in my back yard fending off an attack of viscous, knife-wielding ninjas who are trying to free my prisoner. I'm not sure exactly WHY I have a prisoner, but I do. And not just any prisoner. My captive is none other than the Hindu God Ganesa, elephant head and all, and he's wearing a Nazi Gestapo uniform. He's standing in the middle of the yard (an unusual place for a prisoner: in the middle of the battle). As the ninja fighters leap and bound, somersaulting around my yard, flying from the redwoods, shiny blades flashing in the sun, Ganesa begins to glow and then to levitate.

I'm on a beach in Italy. I've got a box of corn starch down the back of my bathing suit.

I'm experiencing a combination of "Libra" and "Gravity's Rainbow", two books I'd been reading. It isn't much like the books, but then movies rarely are. I'm sitting around a table playing poker with U.S.G.S. topo maps for playing cards. After the game I get up and go into a theater. As I sit down, the show begins. It consists of a giant mushroom. The mushroom begins to grow and a large skull emerges from the top and the shroom begins to fade away. The skull fades, too, and the screen turns a solid, glowing red/orange. A fissure begins to develop in the red, and behind the slowly growing crack I know is the ending to the book. The music is a pounding drone as the jagged whiteness calls out to me with the promise of answers. This state of affairs continues for a long, long time. Until I wake up, as a matter of fact. This does not surprise me, however, as I have not finished reading the books.

I'm walking around downtown Anytown taking pictures of sculptures. As I near a major street, I notice that a presidential debate is taking place on a stage in a plaza. The square is filled with secret service agents, naturally, and they're all wearing tiny ear-mounted radio receiver-transmitters. As I mill through the crowd, a pack of Olympic runners comes tearing through the plaza. They pass by one of the agents, whose mic picks up clearly the exercise-induced flatulence of one of the Olympiads.

A young reporter races into the newsroom of a major newspaper to report a fire in the city. His editor looks like a combination of Jon Carrol and Wolfman Jack.

I'm sitting around my parents house. A meteor is going to strike the Earth nearby in a few minutes....

A muffled BOOM sounds across the hillside. Some friends and I get on our bikes and start riding up Grizzly Peak Blvd. towards the damage. The sun has just set and the sky is a very dark blue with beautiful black clouds smeared across it. As we crest the hill we see smoking ruins where Telegraph Ave used to be. Southside is flattened.

Suddenly, it's once again before the meteor has struck. It's daytime and my friends and I are in a building on Southside, up around the seventh floor. The building begins to shake and buckle. In slow motion, the structure sways from side to side, cheap walls folding in around us, floors tilting, rooms bending. It's actually quite fun (the building appears to be made out of cardboard) and none of us seem to be getting hurt. Finally the building falls over on its side, a victim of the mysterious earthquake-like meteor impact.

We're outside again, staring in at the blocks and blocks of flattened cityscape, a view very similar to Hiroshima. Rescue workers scurry about, an occasional fire hose directs its stream over the rubble. I wander through the rubble, following muddy dirt roads. Eventually I find myself at Cal Memorial Stadium. I start climbing up around the back and begin to notice that the entire stadium is covered in mud -- embedded in it, actually. As I climb up the slope created by the pile of mud towards the lip of the bowl, the mud gets thicker and gooier. As I sink in to my knees, I realize that I will be unable to reach the edge and decide to turn around. As I turn to leave I realize that the stadium is full to the rim with water -- a concrete and mud reservoir, almost. I have a vision of standing on the rim of the stadium, encrusted with mud up to my waist, looking out over the still surface of the water.

I'm on top of Mt. Tam, in a classroom. The teacher says that all of the missiles have been launched and we have about 30 seconds till they all go off. I run in to the crawlspace below the room and lie flat against the dirt floor while explosions sound and wind whips around me. A fine white ash settles over everything. I go out onto the lookout tower. The sky is dark gray and filled with huge clouds. The view of the dark and cratered landscape is strangely beautiful.

We're building a clubhouse! It's a huge room designed like a Greek temple, except built entirely out of wood -- the columns are whole trees! While nailing on slats for walls, my Swiss Army knife drops out of my pocket and the large blade breaks. Their is a small anteroom to the clubhouse that's filled with toys -- mostly LEGO. As I enter the main room, Fela Anikulapo Kuti starts playing and we all begin to dance!

Friday, May 18, 1990

I'm at the MTV Spring Break Rap Music Festival in Compton, CA (home and major battleground of the Crips and the Bloods). There is a small crowd of hand-picked, nice-looking black people sitting in chairs on the sidewalk. Beggars appear and are escorted out of the filming area by guards. In the small dance area between the seats and the stage are a few dancers. Also in this area are a friend and I, demonstrating a new toy to the amazed crowd.

The toy consists of a large, brightly colored spring-like device about a foot in diameter on which one stands. By twisting your body, you can raise and lower yourself through some magic of dream-physics. With prestigious balance, you can then control your horizontal position and, in a fashion, dance. As you get better you can, I demonstrate, bounce from point to point like a pogo stick and even perform flips.

As the day wears on and the sun begins to set, the crowd thins out. The music stops, yet still we bounce around. After a while we notice that there's no one left to watch us. We bounce over the deserted sidewalk to a nearby second story window wherein sit my friends Dave and Ed and an unidentified black friend of theirs. Their friend calmly informs us that Compton is no place to be after dark, especially if you're white. Dave and Ed nod solemnly in agreement. I look over my shoulder and see my nice, yuppie car sitting on the street nearby. Up the street, a small group of people is walking in our direction. We say goodbye and, with nerves quickly coming to a boil, float down towards the car.

The springs mysteriously disappearing, we get into the car and frantically try to start it. Reaching for the much-too-distant steering wheel, I realize that I'm in the back seat. I pull myself closer, sliding through the back of the driver's seat into the correct position. As we begin to drive away, it feels as if one of our tires is flat. I keep driving and the flat tire gets better. I now begin to notice that I'm having great difficulty driving. It feels like I'm stoned, but I haven't smoked anything all day. I finally place the feeling: I'm asleep.

I wake up.

I'm standing in a schoolyard. A small, unidentified bird of prey is circling overhead. It swoops down and picks up a cassette case. Then there is a very large bird of prey circling overhead. It swoops down and picks up a CD. It lands nearby and walks over to me. It's about 6 feet tall, and looks like an ostrich. It puts one foot over my shoulder and we hug. It turns into a moose.

Thursday, June 21, 1990

I'm walking through Oakland Chinatown carrying two large, heavy bags. I'm on my way to the airport to catch a plane to go visit my next-door neighbors, who, due to some unusual dream-topography, live in the midwest. My girlfriend, ex- of late, told me to "pick up something nice" on the way there. I enter a small Chinese medicine shop and begin looking for a particular type of medicine. I find what looks to be the proper item, but the label is filled, edge to edge, with tiny, illegible writing. The shop owner comes over and suggests to me that something else might be more appropriate. He leads me over to a large, oak armoire, antique and beautifully detailed. The armoire opens and inside hang three or four nice pieces of my ex-girlfriend's clothing. The bottom of the armoire is covered in a layer of what is supposed to be tea but which in fact looks like Crave cat food (my ex-'s cat's brand). The armoire costs $75. My clock-radio goes off. It's Joe Jackson singing "You can't get what you want/til you know what you want."

Monday, October 15, 1990

I'm sitting in a restaurant in India with two friends. It's a large, barren room with a concrete floor, simple tables, and a four-item menu printed in very large letters on the wall. Among the four items is "saloud", a misspelling of salad. All of the items are western-style foods not commonly available in India. We ask the waiter, a tall Indian man, why this is and he tells us that the restaurant is a favorite hangout of high-ranking Chinese Communists who come through the tunnel every day for lunch. The restaurant walls disappear, as do all but one of my friends. The restaurant, reduced now to simply the tables, is outside on a huge barren plain, possibly a salt flat, with large mountains rising up in the distance. The tables appear to be set up in two rows stretching off 100 yards or so towards the mountains. I am seated at the end of one of the rows. The tables are set with bright, red and white checkered tablecloths and vibrant ketchup and mustard bottles, stunning against the flat white ground and the hazy mountains. It reminds me of the cover of "The Red Couch". Hoards of stereotypical Chinese Communists begin to appear, presumably after marching through "the tunnel". In tight formation, hundreds and hundreds of Chinese soldiers dressed in drab military uniforms march up to the tables. The column in front of my friend suddenly turns and, one after the other, each soldier steps up to her, shouts a degrading remark, and slaps her across the face. I'm stunned with horror for a moment. Then I run to the head of the line and give a mighty push, causing them to topple, domino-like.

I'm upstairs in San Francisco City Hall. A young black girl comes out of an office with a sick expression on her face. She has just discovered the bodies of Moscone and Milk. I walk downstairs and outside, jump on a skateboard, and ride away. I'm riding very fast through the streets of San Francisco, much faster and better than I've ever ridden before. I weave in and out of cars and eventually duck into an alley.

I'm walking down the alley. The alley is in Cairo. I'm flanked by two Egyptian taxi drivers. The alley gets very thin, so thin that we have to shimmy sideways down it with our backs and bellies scraping the buildings. It's slightly claustrophobic. We come out into a busy street. The taxi drivers offer to give me a lift home, but I tell them I'd rather take the bus.

I look down the street to my left, and I'm on the Rive Droit in Geneva. I can see Lake Geneva through the traffic. I look to my right and see the bus I need to take. It's the #73, which is the bus I used to take to get home in Seattle.

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Chez Zeus: Writing: Dreams: Part 1

Last modified: Fri Jan 30 10:48:21 1998
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