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FEVER HILL

Dreamed 1991/4/13 by Chris Wayan

I live in San Francisco, on a steep little spur below Diamond Heights. I went to bed with a fever, and discovered in the night (to my embarrassment) that the Buddhists were right--the world isn't made of rock, but thoughts. And as the fever stokes my mind to crazier and more prolific ideas, the hill I live on bulges like a lava dome--painfully swollen. Pipes groan and leak, power lines snap. The streets get scrambled and confused.

My feverdreams warp the hill I live on.

By dawn my fever's broken, but my new ideas had lasting consequences. Streetmaps will have to change! Tourists start coming and taking pieces of the hill as souvenirs. I don't mind at first--it's flattering they find my thoughts so fascinating. I hear a local firm is marketing some as art. Maybe I can hit them up for royalties, when I descramble enough to get it together to ask...

But as they strip away the outer layer of my mind, the deep layers look even more scrambled. My thoughts, my energies, even the neurons themselves, are tangled like dreadlocks.

Oh, God. I'm permanently warped!

A city engineer suggests "Give up your mind as a bad job--just clear it out and start fresh with a simple grid." I dunno--that's what the original San Francisco planners did, imposing a grid on these steep hills, instead of winding streets spiraling gently up the slopes like most cities. It's why the streets here are so spectacularly, dangerously steep.

On the other hand, as I am now, I can't decide, or act, at all. Tangled in thought.

Isn't there a natural way to smooth my thoughts down to reasonable shapes? A Taoist way?

Well, there's erosion... but that'll take a few million years.

How about psychic sandpaper?

Ow.



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