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THE NESS MAN,
or,
HOW TO HEAL

Dreamed 1994/4/13 by Chris Wayan

Female satyr lying by a forest pool where a businessman floats. Dreaming or drowning?
Centaur calls for listeners.

A multiracial land--dozens of peoples, only a minority human-shaped. The beings are all blurry to me, as if sketched in, cartoon style, though I hear them very clearly.

By a pool in a flowery glade, a big slate-colored shadowy Centaur says "Gather round. I have a tale and a riddle." The Centaur's known as a wise storyteller, so children and a few grownups gather, of many kinds, both flesh and spirit, including fauns, dryads, a baby dragon, even one unicorn colt. The black colt, oddly enough, is wearing galoshes. He pauses to stomp in a puddle, enjoying the splash...

The tale is strange. It's about a Busy Ness Man, a species that live in a world where there's only one kind of people. At least they think so! A scary tale, filled with danger, as the busy Ness Man fights office demons and tax monsters, seeking a treasure. The tale stops with him in crisis, tired and ill from doing things he doesn't really love, and working harder at it to overcome his fatigue...

A Businessman, howling in anguish
Black unicorn colt

The Teller halts here, and poses a riddle: "If you're tired and ill, what heals you?"

"Well" says a tree-girl, "you don't work and work. You rest and drink clean water and breathe sweet air."

"You get someone to pet you and love you. Praise and petting and making love, that makes you feel good. Feeling good makes you well." says a faun boy.

"You have an exciting adventure, seeking your true heart's desire. Then you'll forget about being sick." says the little dragon girl.

"You eat magic herbs and ask the healing spirits and..." the unicorn colt pauses and kicks a puddle with galosh number three. "But which of us has guessed the riddle? We can't all be right. And what did the busy Ness Man REALLY do? Did he get well?"

"No one knows," says the storyteller. "His story is still happening. But as far as the riddle goes... ALL of you are right. For the answer to my riddle is that there's more than one answer to my riddle."

I wake up sick: a bit of a sore throat last night, but now it's a definite infection.

Well? Will I live a busy life, a computer artist at conventions?

What'll it be, push or heal? So far I've been depriving myself of what even small kids know is essential for healing--

Dragon Girl suggests a quest for his heart's desire will cure the ailing Businessman. Love and praise,
petting and sex,
rest and stretching,
clean air and water,
hope and adventure,
and the quest
for my true
heart's desire.
Green-haired dryad on a walk.
I've turned this dream into a song for six voices. Challenging, to cast such a multi-character dream in song form. It's almost a mini-opera, though the parts interweave and repeat much less. Folk opera? The band I'm in, The Krelkins, has performed it a couple of times now. I'll add a soundfile as soon as we record a good take.
The Busy Ness Man

Summer. A pool in a flowering glade;
Dryads and centaurs recline in the shade.
All of them study, with curious eyes,
the heart of the pool, where
a dreaming business-person lies!

Is he dreaming or is he dead?
Soggy Homburg still on his head!
Centaur says "Elementary class--
how would you heal him?"

"Well!" says a dryad,
"You don't work to death...
Rest, and dig roots in,
and deepen every fresh-air breath."

"No!" pipes a shaggy-leg
faun boy in the reeds,
"Get a girl to pet him and love him,
that's all this guy needs!"

Little dragon girl hisses "No!
Rich adventure, that lights your fire!
Finding your deepest heart-desire...
Hotter than kisses!"

(dryad) "Rest, drink, breathe and dream."
(faun) "stroke a dryad till she creams."
(dragon) "Treasure! Adventure!"
(all, raggedly) "I know the cure!"

(dryad) "No way, it's rest, root, breathe and be."
(Faun) "Find a lover or two or three!"
(Dragon) "Stretch out your wings and..."
(all students) "That's how to be free!

Who is right? Who is wrong?
Teacher, finish your healing song,
and no more Socratics!
The monster's in a hell of a fix."

(Centaur)"You build a common plan.
How to heal a drowning man?
Or his pool will pull us in...
we'll begin dreaming with him."

Black unicorn colt in galoshes splashes up to say
"Let him sleep, green and deep;
his own dreams will lead the way.

"Is it not true that each illness hath a different cure?
Magic herbs, spirit guides,
who but he can know for sure?"

Here the unicorn leapt away,
spattering dragon girl in his way.
She took wing, flowering in fire...
(both) "finally, we made up."

(Centaur) "All of you have guessed my riddle:
how to heal is individdle."
(all students) "But Teacher, what about the
busy Ness Man? Will he die?"
(Centaur) "He may dream of us or gold,
but his vision must unfold..." (pause)

(All) "Dreaming us as we dream of him,
Gray and grim, sleeping Kraken,
Wake up! Wake up!
Wake up to dreaming."



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