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Dewclaw

Dreamed 1997/6/30 by Chris Wayan

six stages of a nightmare of blackish-olive bruises, infections & cysts; dream sketch by Wayan.


I wake at 5 AM, suddenly needing to pee. As I get up, in the dim light, I see a black, wet worm in my bed, 10 cm long, 1 cm thick. A leech? I panic, leap up and almost fall over. My heart's pounding madly. Turn on light and tear the bed apart. Nothing. My pulse races for minutes.

At last, I go back to bed.

I wake in the morning to find my penis is horribly bruised. The head is black, probably infected; the shaft and testicles the off-green of less severe bruising. This is the black worm in my dream, then! It was a warning. Horrible looking, and I fear the black is gangrene. How did this happen. How could I LET this happen?

When I steel myself to look closer... find I was half asleep and mistaken. It's not my penis at all. It's my left thumb!

It looks bad enough to amputate.

I look again--and I was mistaken, still half-asleep. Penis and thumb are there, untouched; the black and greenish bruised "thumb" is growing out of the underside of my left wrist. It's just my dewclaw! Being rather vestigial in us big cats, they often get infected--like wisdom teeth. A shame, but it can be removed without...

Wait a minute! The dewclaw is a feline thumb. And there's my real thumb above it, claw and all, fully opposable, perfectly healthy! That infected thing can't be my dewclaw. It's something ELSE.

So I look even closer, forcing myself despite my fear and disgust. The black part, maybe an inch long now, seems to be a parasite or cyst, and it's broken the skin--emerging? The sallow greenish area is behind and beneath. If I can remove the black thing, it may heal. Very slowly, I press behind the black thing, try to work it out. Fear it's full of toxic bacteria I'll squeeze into my bloodstream, so I take it very slow. Am I sure it's actually coming out, rather than just shrinking?

Yes--whatever it is, it moves as a unit. Not much progress for a long time because it slips back in whenever I relax. Try again and again and finally get it out.

The greenish part immediately looks better. I think it'll heal on its own now.

I try to put the black thing in a plastic yogurt container to take to the clinic for identification. But it promptly breaks up into small bits. Just a little olive-colored grit, now. At last I just wash the rubble down the sink. It's over.

Whatever "it" was.

NOTES IN THE MORNING



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