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ALTHEA'S CHICKEN

Dreamed 1990/3/27 by Chris Wayan

I don't know if this is a psychic dream. Maybe it was just a subliminal joke. You decide.

My sister Althea and my dad Jerry come over to my house to tell me "We volunteered you to cook an all-seafood meal for our club." I'm not a member of their club! Plus I'm vegetarian. So I say "No! You should have asked me first."

My dad says "You're being irresponsible! You have to take your obligations seriously." What obligations?

I wanna cook for me now, not them later. So, I make a stir-fry, and don't offer them any. Althea complains "That's greasy and disgusting and you're messing up the kitchen!" My kitchen. "And besides" she adds, "I hired a guy to come cook for us tonight, and then do an exorcism. Your house has evil spirits, you know."

Oh. Well, maybe she's right. I could name two.

Althea's rent-a-shaman shows up, but he forgets to cook, he's so eager to get on with the ritual and cleanse my house of evil. He starts the ritual in my kitchen, ignoring me and asking Althea to consent for my house, to be a shield against counterattack, and so on. I move forward instinctively when he asks "Who'll be the Shield?" But he says "No, Althea must be the one, she touched the bowl of sacred water and you didn't." Uh huh. I have grave doubts Althea can shield anything with boundary problems like these! Oh well, maybe my doubts are partly just bad temper. And a bit of worry that my energy, native to the house and excluded from their rite, may imbalance it even if I restrain my annoyance and remain a passive witness--just as a skyscraper blocks high winds and creates them at ground level, I could disrupt their rite by my mere presence.

And so it does... or else Rent-a-Shaman just isn't much good. First all the doors start groaning and warping. I don't mind that too much, they kinda look cool and sculptural. I know that's not practical, but I can't help it, I'm an artist. The oven door is so cool. Useless, but hell, none of us bake anyway.

But next Althea and her shaman pull out hammers and bash at the corners of each room, knocking the clean dihedral angles into lumpy, cavish semi-roundness. Althea in particular whams my walls with ferocity, till my house resounds like a drum. I know who'll get to sweep up the plaster chips.

Next they go after the Lightning Spirits hidden in the wiring, by turning all the lights on and off till they disorient the little sprites. That works only too well: now the switches control different circuits, almost randomly. I map the changes, feeling disgusted--it's maddening when you hit a room's light switch and it turns off the lights in someone else's bedroom! Very inconvenient. And disturbing: Rent-a-Shaman's losing control.

And the demons know it. The room crackles with static as they wake up and congregate. Althea looks into a picture I painted, one of four in a row on the wall in the living room, and sees a grotesque figure--a Demon Chicken! Blob of a body with a big groove in it, like a disembodied human ass or oversize breasts squeezed too tight... standing on tall scaly chicken-legs, like Baba Yaga.

And then the image starts moving--steps out of the picture into the room! Its headless body turns to Althea, and as it struts toward her, she panics and screams "DADDY!"

I wonder what she expects Jerry the atheist skeptic to do about a demonic chicken hopping out of a painting... and I wake suddenly to find I'm looking into one of the four pictures on MY wall above my bed. The painting shows little creatures all with their mates, with a prayer I'll find my own soulmate.

Picture-poem showing animal couples in spring, with the words: Share? But who? And what? Who knows who's your mate--who's not?
But reflected and distorted in the plexiglass, (San Francisco has quakes, so we don't hang glass over beds), a floating chicken-demon shape that I never painted really IS walking through the picture--moving slightly as I watch! It's a reflection of something behind me! Uneasily, I turn to look, wondering if I'm still dreaming. No demon chicken. Look back. It's there, breathing. No, moving as my head moves. I finally figure out I'm seeing a distorted reflection of part of a painting across the room, of a girl leaning jauntily against her unicorn with an intimacy that makes it clear they're lovers. Body and soul united in love.
Brown girl leaning on white unicorn; stained glass style.
But as an isolated reflection distorted in the plexiglass, the front half of my unicorn soul looks like a chicken from hell!

At least it does if your eyes are open and the lights are on and the plexiglass is warped just right and the angle's just right! But how did my dream see that in my sleep? Did it cling all night to the last image it subliminally saw before I dropped off? But I'll never understand how it timed things so nicely that the dawn light would be just right, my head in the right spot, my eyes aimed just the right way, so that when they opened the first thing I'd see would be... my sister's chicken.

NOTE IN THE MORNING

My sister's not especially chicken. And Althea hasn't visited me recently, so I think she stands for part of me that IS like a chicken--simple, abrupt, focused here and now. The side that pecks at me and clucks "Gotta get-get-get on with things! Quit bein' squeamish and just DO-DO-DO it." Pushes me to do stressful tasks, ignore subliminal warnings... That is a bit like Althea. Though of course it's like practically everyone here in America, except me. Practical being the operative word. Damn the nuances, full speed ahead!

And we get what we get, for ignoring nuance. Our souls turn... chicken.

The forequarters of a unicorn, reflected and distorted, looks like a demonic chicken.


LISTS AND LINKS: another black comedy dreamed the same night: CrimeCon 90 - shamanic dreams - bird dreams - demons - Lean On Me - dream humor - mirrors and reflections - psychic dreams - subliminal images - Althea - power - my father - oops! dreams of mistakes - dream houses

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