MOM THE MURDERER
Dreamed 3/7/1996 by Chris Wayan
There's been a murder in the family--my brother? I'm not sure how we know, since we haven't found him dead. We're still searching the house. I dread finding his body. I won't even look in one room. The detectives come and question us all, suspect us all.
Oh. The reason everyone's sure he's dead is that his ghost has been stalking the gas station on the corner every night. Like Hamlet's father--except that when the detectives question him, he says "I was murdered, but I didn't see who shot me." The cops suspect me, my sisters, my father--even suicide's an outside chance. The ghost could be lying. Though I'm afraid it's true and one of us is a killer.
At last my therapist hypnotizes my mother (younger, rather short, athletic, always wears a cowboy outfit, including a gunbelt) and elicits, first, buried memories of being abused as a child, then, a memory of the murder. My mother the pacifist shot him! In tears, she says "I had to, I had to!" But her reasons are incoherent, make no sense. Under the surface calm, my mother is certifiably insane, and may have been for years.
The therapist agrees not to tell the cops and spare the family the trial, if we'll commit my mother to a hospital she knows, that uses a new technique that may work. Not just a warehouse--there's a real chance of a cure. We can't afford it, but my therapist says she'll pay for it herself! "I have a lot of clients right now, a lot of income, could use a charitable tax deduction."
And so, my mom, the insane murderer, is taken away...
NOTES THAT MORNING
I go into our yard to find it covered in dry ashy stuff. Ask my housemates. Alder did it! It's poison--a snail bait, full of metaldehyde. I wash my hands and close my window but still get sick--from dust inhaled? Why'd she put it all over the plants, instead of on bowls or at least on the ground? And why'd she put it on vegs and herbs, especially ones the snails were ignoring like the mint and mustard? And why didn't she warn us? And worst of all, why'd she dump the WHOLE BOX on the yard? Alder's answer sounds like my mad mother's in the dream. "Something had to be done. I don't understand all that square footage stuff on the box." So she went ahead and applied a giant, random overdose!
And she's usually the one we all rely on--the house mom, really.
But that's what led her to do it. That sense of responsibility, that take-charge attitude. We weren't helping, obviously we don't care, so why consult us lazy children? Nuke it!
Rather like the current Secretary of State.
I got sick for a couple of days. Take silymarin (milk thistle) to reverse any liver damage. Metaldehyde breaks down fast in the sun and rain, and the yard does eventually recover (the snails came back first, of course), but I'm sure wary now about eating anything from our garden...
So was that really about my mom, or a psychic warning of our little garden apocalypse?
Either way, it's an American attitude to watch for. In me, in Alder, in my mom, in politics.
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