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The Herbivore's Exception,
or,
Stay Your Course!

Dreamed 1999/12/6 by Chris Wayan

THAT DAY

In drawing class, it's surrealism week. A roomful of earnest surrealists scribbling away for a grade. Now THAT'S surreal.

A geeky guy I don't know well peers over at my drawing, like the class dummy copying off my test. He asks "Where are the little fairies you draw so well, you know, like... the Bondage Fairies." I start to feel creepy--the second person this month to compare my dream-pictures to that Japanese comic, which to me feels like coolly calculated porn. The fairies don't have much of a life outside sex. While my dream-beings are people to me--often they ARE me, literally, in different shapes.

Maybe I misunderstand the guy. So I talk to him a bit, despite the creepy vibe.

Misunderstand? Not at all. He assumes a winking, elbow-nudging, bad-boy camaraderie between us over what he sees as my raunchy fantasies... my art trying to record my dream-life. I hide my dismay, stay polite, but... it this what everyone sees in my dreams?

THAT NIGHT

I dream of a large herbivore with cream-colored fur, faintly striped and spotted on her back. Unsure since she's curled up in a nest. Slender and more gracile than a horse, shaggier and longer-tailed than a deer. Pretty. I wonder if she's an alien person at first, a variant of a krelkin perhaps, but this being is too small-headed to have much brain, and has thumbless paws not hands. Her aura feels simpler, too: animal.

Around her, in the nest, are small mammals, not her young but another species that often nests with this one, likes to sleep on top like cats do on humans. They form a patchy living blanket.

Although she's an herbivore, one of the small animals keeps pestering her until finally she snaps at it, and, possibly without meaning to, kills it in one bite. Sniffs and pokes at the little body for a while then picks it up. It won't quite fit it in her mouth; she shoves it in slowly with her clumsy paw. Bites and chews. A burst of blood. She licks the blood off her lips and paw. Ick.

Half my revulsion is horror that she'd betray these little animals that trust her, but I also identify with her. I taste that huge bloody furball in my mouth. And I have to chew it! Blood and guts and splintery bones...

The weirdest part is that her blanket of little furballs watch the whole thing calmly, then just go back to sleep!

They know she's herbivorous, and this is an exception.

I hope they're right.

NOTES

Our shared house has a vacant room; we interviewed a vegan candidate I liked. Joy asked her "Can you stand living with carnivores?" I'm vegetarian but not strictly vegan--it's not about dietary purity for me, I just don't want to hurt other creatures. So I'll eat some dairy products my body seems to need and even (rarely) animals with no brain, like oysters and clams. But my dream seems troubled--do I need to go vegan?

Wait. Is this really about food? I DID feel this creepy today, but it was earlier... in art class! That creepy guy... drooling in a predatory way over my sexy dream-drawings of myself and friends. He shook me. Made me want to hide my dreams. Like being ashamed of my body.

I think the dream is saying "Don't let him scare you--he's no trend, just a creepy blip..."

I hope the dream is right.



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