I'm stranded on an island with about 20 other people. Many of the women are real-life friends I have crushes on. On the shore of the island is a long, abandoned building -- a smoky bar -- with six or so door-sized holes cut in the seaward wall. The holes open onto a rectangular, breakwater-enclosed pool of water about the size of the bar itself. Beyond the breakwater is the ocean.
A few of my fellow survivors leave in search of help while the rest of us stay and hang out and generally have a good time. As is usually the case with stranded groups, moral fabric soon begins to break down and people chase each other around the beach, the breakwater, and the bar. People soon begin discarding their clothing and putting on strange mummy-type bandages made of toilet paper that somehow holds together and remains opaque when wet. I am thus wrapped from armpits to groin, penis hanging out the bottom. Some of my friends kid me about this.
At one point a spoilsport -- an evil, conservative businessman-type -- is being chased by vindictive revelers. They force him onto a rowboat on the enclosed water. A person standing just to my left, near the bar, points a blow gun over the man's head at the breakwater. He blows through the tube and the breakwater explodes at one point in a flash of light. Seawater begins flowing into the enclosure and the businessman is swept in circles.
Immediately after this we all sit down at the edge of the breakwater where it intersects the bar building. Some of us are in TP mummy bandages, others completely nude, and others still completely clothed. We discuss what has been happening to us. We admit to each other that we've all been romantically chasing non-interested parties in a great, unfulfilled daisy chain. There is a definite feeling of "group love", a desire for a communal sexual relationship.
A small cruise ship pulls up to the breakwater and we get on, though the number of us has decreased again. The boat is filled with day tourists, and the whole rescue-thing is very nonchalant. On the boat we find our bags, full of clothes. I flash back to reality for an instant and think, "So this is where all my shirts have been disappearing to!" It's almost as if this boat dropped us off on the island earlier and was now coming to pick us up. However, I distinctly remember being shipwrecked there.
I find a group of my friends and ask them if they know where we were stranded. They point to a set of postcards showing huge Incan-type ruins -- some are cavernous temples carved into rock. I feel a momentary sense of remorse because we missed these things on the island and they look like cool places to explore. My friends then point to a map and indicate that we were marooned on the far side of one of the Catalina Islands -- not so exotic after all!
When the boat pulls up to the dock on the mainland, I jump to shore. I realize that my bags are still on the boat and race back on and down into the hold to try and find them. I frantically search the boat for my belongings, trying to find them before the gangplank is pulled again. I succeed, as do my friends, who were in a similar situation. By this time it's just three others and I -- the same group I went traveling in Europe with last year. We all put on our backpacks and climb up an embankment to continue our journey.
I'm reading "The Songlines" (in my waking life, too!), a book about Aboriginal dream-tracks. I reach a part about a pair of mountains that represent two dream-warriors. There is a picture in the book of the site: a long, barren ridge rising up from the left to a peak, a larger, more symmetrical mountain behind and to the right of it, and large mass of rolling green mountains on the right of the picture. Cutting through the pine tree-covered mountains is a dirt road. It rises from a plateau near the top of the long ridge, vees near a saddle, and continues up and around to the right, passing a large block slide on which some idiot has built a house. The block slide is a section of the hillside that has slid down, creating a sort of notch. The house is nestled along one side of the notch, up against a steep slope.
I recognize the picture from the house as a place I have been in Washington. Suddenly, I'm at that place, walking down the road towards the plateau. As I near the bottom I get a nice view of the two aboriginal mountains. The closer of the two -- the long ridge -- is supposedly very high and has a crater in the top from where the other warrior hit it over the head. From my viewpoint I look down at the plateau and try to gauge the elevation difference between it and the peak. A simple human figure appears for scale, revealing the peak to be no more than 30 feet above the plateau. I can see the cracks in the rim of the crater. I continue down the road to try and climb into it.
As I reach the bottom I run into my sister, Deb. I try to explain to her how this is an Aboriginal Dreaming site and it suddenly hits me that this Dreaming is in North America. I'm overcome by a sense of awe and a feeling of great discovery: this must mean that the Aborigines traveled well beyond the bounds of Australia! We start back up the road.
At a turn in the road we come upon a tree-shrouded clump of rocks. It's very cool and pleasant -- the kind of spot you often find in Tilden Park, near Berkeley. We find a small, flat, black stone engraved with mysterious symbols. We know there are others around, but we do not look for them.
I'm looking at an old mill. It's a small, wooden shingle house up against a hill, surrounded by large trees. It has an arched passageway through which an old railroad spur passes. A number of other short railroad spurs surround the building at a jumble of odd angles. I walk towards the archway and find a secret door on the side of the passage. Coming out through the door are a number of tourists and my brother, Jef. Jef smiles and says, "Go on up; it's fun!"
After the stream of people has eased up, I enter the door and find a dark and densely decorated stairway. At the top of the stairs is a small theater which is currently showing Tiny Toons. I sit down and chuckle along with the movie for a while. I get up and walk over to another part of the room, where lies a record store. I browse through the records and find many interesting-looking titles. I then look specifically for some records I've been seeking: Frank Zappa, Neil Young, and the Grateful Dead. Although none of these artists are represented in the stacks, I make a point of saying to myself, "This is a great record store!"
I'm standing on the top of a very tall tower or building with a sloped, grooved roof. It reminds me very much of the Space Needle in "The Parallax View". I don't seem to be slipping off, but the thought occurs to me. I think about what it would be like to slip off -- if I would land on the observation deck just below me or continue the two hundred or so feet to the bottom. I imagine myself slipping and falling, missing the deck, and having the expanse of the city's grid open up below me in weightless fear. I realize that this is not the type of dream I want to have, climb down off the roof, and go inside.
My brother and possibly my girlfriend are with me now, though both of them play almost no role in my experience. The inside of the tower is a series of hallways, paneled with wood slats, sloping down and branching in a dendritic maze. The sunlight comes in through windows and reflects, black and blinding white pinstripes, on the polished slat floor.
I descend one level and enter a darkened room with display cases. It's a museum of sorts, filled with biological specimens. I find a case dedicated to moths and cocoons. I turn to Jef and say, "There's something in her mouth." He laughs and returns another line from Silence of the Lambs.
I continue to descend levels. Each floor of the museum is concerned with a different aspect of science. The top floor, biology, is a very complex science, an amalgam of different sciences all blended into an imprecise jambalaya. As I proceed down the tower museum, the sciences become more basic -- closer to the building blocks of modern understanding. I pass through forestry, geology, chemistry, physics -- with a few others scattered in between. One room I remember in particular contained video images of things exploding and crashing into each other. This was the exhibit on mechanical physics, traditionally illustrated with billiard balls but in this case modernized by an academic Mark Pauline. I also have a dim recollection of a deep blue room depicting the lives of whales.
I'm in the Library of Congress (which looks unusually like a small city library), browsing around for nothing in particular, when I happen upon a computer terminal. With a bit of time to waste I decide to log in to the WELL just to see what it's like from D.C. I go through the regular login sequence, but instead of the WELL I find myself in a video game. It appears to be some sort of post-apocalyptic urban battle type game with very good color graphics of my character in the middle of a dark, debris-strewn street getting shot at by helicopters. I run back and forth, getting off the occasional good shot, but there is very little I can do since I don't know what the control keys are. I mostly just jerk around in frustration. Inevitably, I die.
As I walk away from the terminal, I have a moment of concern that whoever pre-empted the WELL with this video game now knows my password.
I wander around the Library a bit more and find a group of people sitting in a semi-circle of couches watching a video on donkeys. The narrator is talking about how when donkeys die they bloat up quite a bit and need to release the pressure or risk explosion. The film appropriately shows a dead donkey getting bigger and bigger around the middle until brown, oatmeal-like muck comes oozing out of its mouth, nose, eyes, ears, and anus. The donkey continues in this fashion for quite a while, gushing forth in thick streams more muck than could possibly ever be contained within, or even produced by, a single donkey. The film suddenly switches without narration to a scene which I can't quite make out at first. It's all wet and gray and muddy with sticks and leaves and looks like it belongs at the river's edge, but I can't make out the shapes until something moves. It's a small alligator resting inside a hollowed-out and decaying donkey head. The alligator scurries out the neck and off camera to the left. I feel nauseous and walk away.
About this time I remember that I need to find my friend Alex soon so that we can make it to the train station on time. I find him in a nearby section of the Library, and we begin walking towards the station. Suddenly, I realize I'm not wearing any shoes. I worry about how I'm going to travel without shoes. Just then our friend Marjie comes running towards us across a wide, white concrete bridge. She's carrying my shoes and tosses them towards me. I see them arc high in the air in slow motion, rotating against the bright blue sky. They're my old Nike Son of Lava Domes that I wore on my trip around the world. I catch them and the three of us immediately get in a becak (the three-wheeled bicycle taxis you find in the third world) to ride the rest of the way to the train station. I put on my shoes in the back of the becak.
I'm flying into Seattle on a very unusual plane. The view from inside the plane is very much like that from inside a car: I can see straight out the front window of the plane to the runway ahead. Just to the right of the runway is Mt. Rainier, incorrectly placed and looking much more like conical Mt. Fuji. The air is extremely clear, and all of the detail stands out beautifully.
We land and are slowly coming to a halt when we are forced into a quick left Immelman turn (a flip up and to the left, 180 degrees) to avoid a plane landing from the other direction. The plane misses and we begin to taxi towards the mountain. We are taxiing very fast, swerving between tighter and tighter obstacles in a narrowing tunnel. The pilot appears to be very angry.
I get off the plane and continue walking around the mountain in a rock-hewn tunnel. I come to some sort of customs cave and get in the left-most line. Some sort of guard or customs agent is at the head of the line, and when I reach him he asks for my passport. I give it to him and a moment later he hands me a long letter from my mother detailing an upcoming lunar eclipse she feels I should attend.
I begin to feel nauseous. I feel a tickle in my throat and cough up something onto the carpeted floor. I try to examine it in the low light. It appears to be a small shimmering silver disk about and eighth of an inch in diameter. It's scurrying all over the floor. As I watch, it begins to grow, slowly revealing itself to be a scorpion. I feel extremely nauseous.
I walk to the top of a flight of stairs and fall over. With my head hanging over the top step, I vomit copiously. I manage to get up and run down a hall to a bathroom. I reach the bathroom and immediately begin vomiting into the bathtub. An immense, putrid stream of vomit as wide as my distended mouth issues forth into the tub.
Chez Zeus:Writing:Dreams:Part 2
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