AIDA'S TOILET BOAT
Dreamed 1993/4/7 by Chris Wayan
I'm on a lush world called Nevia, composed of dabs of bright color, like paint laid on in flat brush-streaks. I was shown other universes with different rendering styles, but this impressionist one was my favorite--it's like a world made of flowers! But then, I'm a painter, of course I'd like a painted world. Most folks prefer to live in a photographic world. Still, once computers get fast enough to create truly realistic virtual worlds in realtime, that look will start to feel cheap and ordinary, and even non-artists will eventually get bored with it. And then... Nevia's going to be popular.
The funny thing is, I suspect I HAVE the key already, in my wallet or on my key-ring, unrecognized... Grampa gave it to me long ago. Later in the dream, I think back and recall it's true--I had the key all along.
The phone rings! Bewildered, I pick it up. It's my dad! Just how long-distance is this call? He says "How'd you get in?"
"It doesn't matter--you can't enter my way. I'm very thin, you wouldn't fit." I don't want to tell him truth, that I slipped in from a parallel world of impressionist flowerstrokes. He makes fun of New Age stuff like that, though even while he mocks my shamanic talents, he's not above using them.
Am I bitter? Well, yeah, I guess. It's partly this space making me gloomy. The spot by the phone is where my grandma died in my dad's arms. I'm sensitive to the energy--it tires me, this death-spot. Not fear, exactly, but... it drains.
Man, what a grim house. My dad's parents collected scary stuff! When they died, the house became a museum--the Grim Museum! Statues, cryptic old devices. Some are built of human bones. And they have leathery Bog People floating in barrels--people drowned and preserved in peat bogs. The casks and chests stacked by the walls were once dreaded ancestor-houses. Other boxes and coffins were torture or mummifying devices. It's eclectic on the surface, but there's an underlying theme: every artifact is linked to fear, or pain, or death.
Other visitors drift in; one, my cousin Andy, even curiously slips his leg into a beautiful device full of spirals. It seems built to twist your leg into a corkscrew and slowly ruin your knee-joint! His foot's already up by his hip. Looks appalling, but he says "No, it doesn't hurt a bit, and I don't think it IS meant to wreck your knee--the strain is over here." His thigh, his hip? Details, details--its purpose was still to cripple a joint. The Inquisition used it on witches in the Burning Times.
I shiver. I'm a witch. For me, it's like visiting Dachau.
Hey, there's someone else I know--a tallish, skinny young woman with short brown hair. She's cute--but what's her name, where did we meet? As I struggle to recall, she trips and falls into a device that shrinks her down to about an inch tall! She falls into its bowl--it's a whirlpool generator, like a giant toilet bowl, and she's in the pool. Luckily she spots a foot-long toy speedboat and swims to it and climbs in, shivering. But the boat has a trick hull--lets water slowly in, with baffles, into ballast areas so you don't realize it till the boat's nearly doomed. Like a practical joker's dribble-glass! But here the joke is deadly: the boat's her last hope, and it's going down the drain! I jump in to save her. I don't shrink, so it's easy to toss her ashore--to me, she's no more than a wet mouse. I worry about sharks or monsters coming up from the depths, given what this museum is. But no toilet monsters bite me, and I get out shivering but unharmed. As she dries off, she grows toward normal size.
And then she trips and falls in again! I fish her out again, annoyed. What's with her, is she suicidal? She's tiny, but that shouldn't make her a lemming!
And she falls in AGAIN! But this time, she misses the boat. Sucked down the whirlpool's throat. Gone. Down the drain!
I try to call my father, since in a nearby reality he runs the sewage-filtering plant only 100 yards away. That's where the drains all go. She'll pop out there in a minute and be crushed in the pumps if I can't get my dad to turn them off. If he does in his reality, it'll probably cause a failure or slowdown in this whole sheaf or fan of nearby spacetimes: they're that similar.
But I can't reach him on the phone. I'll have to run over there. The flow won't be that fast, I can probably beat her.
But rather than run the hundred yards on LAND in my grandparents' grim world, and then jump into my dad's reality, I leap IMMEDIATELY to his world. And in it, the sewage plant is of course by the sea, where they dump the final filtered effluent. I fall into this parallel sea! I must drag myself along the breakwater, rock to rock. At least there's no whirlpool, I'm not in danger like her... but it's much slower than on land, and harder--I'll tire out. Don't I WANT to save her?
I'm stalling! I dread facing my father with this crazy-sounding request. "Stop the pumps! Save the girl in the sewerpipe! Why can't we see her? Well, she's an inch tall, and in a parallel world..." Uh huh. My dad Popeye is a hard-headed realist unless there's something in it for him, like that key. He's gonna laugh that Popeye laugh...
Oh, sorry. Didn't I mention my dad is Popeye?
You know--Popeye the Sewer Man.
NOTES THAT MORNING
I'm Popeye the Sewer Man|
I live in a garbage can
I'm always dead drunk
and I stink like a skunk,
I'm Popeye the Sewer Man.
I go see Metropolis, a comedy improv group, in a San Francisco cafe. I've seen them before and enjoyed them.
My jaw drops as they come on stage. One of the comedians, a tall, slender cute brunette named Aida... she's the girl who fell down the drain! I knew I'd met her somewhere!
Aida improvises a skit in which she finds a little man in a boat in her toilet, who's overheard all her fights with her boyfriend. He says she even barfed on him once, when she was suicidal. But he's not mocking her, he's coming on. Who else really knows her shit? She hesitates at dating an inch-high midget, but he points out "Aida, you've had worse boyfriends than a guy in a toilet."
She has to admit that's true. She says "Well... OK."
So he shrinks her down, and she steps into her toilet, and climbs into his tiny boat. And off they sail for his home in the plumbing somewhere... but the boat tips over! They drown there, in Aida's toilet. Chasing boyfriends, she went down the drain. Ha ha. End of scene.
That's not all it's the end of! I've admired Aida before, had a bit of a crush on her, and was working up the nerve to talk to her... but tonight she brought her boyfriend along to see the show. She's not single in real life! I'm disappointed... and jealous.
I'm afraid that explains why I was slow to save her, in the precognitive dream. Willing to fish her out once, even twice, but... by the third time, my unconscious must have been muttering "Aw, let her new boyfriend save her, if he's so great!"
My dream-Nevia's strange look--a living world rendered in paintstrokes--anticipated the 1998 film "What Dreams May Come." Robin Williams plays Chris, who dies in an accident and finds himself in the world of his wife's paintings--literally a world brushed in. Some of the paint's still wet! The parallels go further: Chris must hunt through various planes of existence to save his wife, who killed herself. But when I dreamed this, the film was five years in the future! Nor did I know of the Richard Matheson novel it was (loosely) based on.
Coincidence? If so, a detailed one. "Chris finds himself in a painted world and tries to save a suicidal woman, searching through parallel planes of existence." Is this a summary of my dream or the film? Even the museum of old family horrors is echoed in the film--the hell where Chris finds his wife imprisoned is just their family home gone wrong.
The week I had the dream, I was floored by its detailed anticipation of a bizarre image a few days in the future; I had no idea its real horizon was years beyond.
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