FIGHTING A VIRUS
Dreamed 1998/11/21 by Chris Wayan
In the evening, I get a headache, sore neck, popping joints, mild fever. I'm pretty sure I've caught the virus my housemate Alder had. So I eat only lightly, and take a lot of zinc, ascorbic acid, vitamin A, and go to bed early.
I dream I'm near the sea. Beautiful groves and lawns run down to coves.
My housemate Lily runs a department store here. It seems to merge with the park--unclear what's inside and out. Open-air aisles of clothes, but a stage and a movie theater too.
She introduces me to relatives who work here--her brother, her niece... at least two live in the store, in little booths with one-way windows--security stations? Old changing rooms? Lily commands a lot of people. I like many of those I meet, and help them redecorate for a holiday feast.
On impulse I slide along the polished wood floor toward the stage, as if I'm in a baseball game. Run into a young man about twenty, who acts outraged. Starts insisting in a strong Spanish accent that we go outside and fight! I don't even get it for a minute then argue with him. Why fight? He's not hurt, I didn't do it intentionally, I apologized--what's to gain by fighting? Honor? Or does he enjoy it? He can't seem to understand how I could NOT want to fight. Both keep awkwardly questioning the other, incredulous at the answers.
"What do you mean, it's fun to fight! Unless it's totally unequal, we both get bruised. We both get hurt, we both lose!"
"What do you mean, you don't play football? Every guy plays! How can you not like fighting? Danger's exciting."
"Not to me. It's a physical difference, don't you see it? You get excited, I get sick. I'm built to feel more fear than you."
On and on. He won't take no!
I finally cave in--afraid he'll fight me here, without constraints, and he has a big, ugly friend who hovers and listens silently, not saying a word but clearly ready to enforce matters. Walk out "to where the insult occurred" to let him "regain his honor."
The place has moved out of the store around a little point to a stage just above water, in a little cove sheltered by trees. It's pretty. Feel sad and scared we have to fight--until we do. He's so inept even I have no trouble defending myself! Wrestle him mostly, don't even hit.
Pin him down. I won!
Then behind me, a deep voice booms, "Ah, good. Now you can fight ME."
I shriek in panic. Alone, surrounded, no one knows where I am! It was all a set-up to rob and kill me, I just know it!
I wake in a feverish sweat, heart pounding in fear. Never saw my new challenger, only knew he was huge--and amused. Amused that I thought beating a wussy little guy like that meant a thing.
NOTES ON WAKING UP
Soon as I wrote the dream down, I started feeling skeptical it was an ambush--after all, I started it by sliding into the guy. And he seemed sincere, and too dumb for such a set-up.
I think I was interviewing a virus! It doesn't understand any life but fighting. LIKES it. Sorry, can't avoid this duel! I'm already infected. But... he's a wuss. All attitude, no strength.
But the dream warns: Watch out! After you've beaten this virus, you'll meet the REAL challenger...
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