ON HER FOURTH BODY
Dreamed 1993/11/25 by Chris Wayan
I dream I'm in a Star Trek future... but not the mainstream one. Some alternate universe. Mr. Spock has a dark blue-gray face, as if carved from slate, or a thundercloud. An Assyrian beard adds still more weight and angst.
Spock broods alone in a shuttlecraft, wrestling with some inner demon. Zero gravity: he floats, suspended in his psychological dilemma.
Why? What's he found out?
As he docks with the Enterprise, the mother ship's computer makes an announcement: a famous cabaret singer and erotic dancer has come aboard! I'm startled--not at the facts, but the tone: that computer-generated voice practically leers, with a smarmy tone that some guys use to hide how much women scare them.
In all these centuries, hasn't sexual politics changed at all?
Or is it only AIs that are puritan?
I meet the cabaret singer in the lounge. We get to talking about our childhoods. Hers was extraordinary. Basically, she was born a cow--not an English slang cow, the real thing. A calf of the dominant species on a rural planet. Medieval, and a bit xenophobic--the cow people feared and avoided aliens because many races are carnivores or omnivores, not vegetarian, like truly civilized folks.
But her dad was a progressive bull, interested in aliens; she grew up fascinated by the photos and trinkets he collected of interstellar travel and galactic culture.
She learned the language, polished her singing... and the first opportunity she got, she hoofed it out of cow town.
Ashamed of her roots, she scraped up the money to get genetic sculpting. She transformed herself... and not just once.
The first time, she streamlined her quadrupedal cow-body into a sleek horselike creature with a big gorgeous mane--still clearly a hayburner and proud of it, sort of defiantly waving her herbivore flag at all the predatores.
But not bovine at all. Like a leggy ballerina compared to her chunky, solid birth-people.
She was happy with the result. So was her public. But a couple of years later, reading did her in: she saw a National Geographic article on sharks.
She confesses to me: "I got all shivery and wet over their terrible grins... At first I went looking for a guy who had that wild predatory look, but he didn't make me happy, nor did the next sharky boy, or the next.
"At last, I decided that to possess what I longed for, I shouldn't just MATE with it, I should BE it."
And so she went to her gene sculptor a second time, and gave herself a long V-shaped jaw... with big sharp carnivore teeth.
Her very own shark-grin!
But for subtle reasons, it didn't work out too well. You see, she liked PLAYING with the impression that she was an elegant predator... but she really was too tender-hearted to hurt anyone. Her herbivorous heritage ran too deep in her character--she had the teeth, but not the belly for it.
All the Galactic guys misread her--or projected their fantasies on her. Sex as predatory sport? But it turned out that just wasn't her.
So she went back to the gene sculptors. She had money; her music sold no matter what she looked like. The only limits on her self-reinvention were time... and pain.
She invested both.
For her fourth incarnation, she had all her shark genes removed, and this time made herself over as a biped like us. Easier to get around in the Star Trek universe that way--no more problems with furniture. But aside from bipedality, she returned pretty much to her second self--a slender elegant equine with a big blonde mane flopping down in her eyes.
Adorable, hot, a big sweet loud boytoy. Now I can see why that computer drooled.
Only she's no Barbie. Cowgirl's been mulling over Spock's Dilemma ever since she heard about it, and she thinks she has a solution. Everyone else has been agonizing over it ineffectively, so they're desperate enough to listen even to a cabaret stripper.
Her answer is that it's all about a pass or saddle between low hills of spacetime. Events stack up there in the pass--they get dense, and cause the problem. How, exactly, I couldn't recall when I woke.
What I did know was this: the singer, the cow turned bimbo, who lacked the bite to be a shark... HER answer, not Spock's, turned out to be right.
WHEN I WOKE
I recognized that strangely mutated Spock. He looked a lot like a The Hedge King, a powerful dream-figure of mine who sets limits and boundaries--thorny, but protective.
And the singer felt like Silky, another recurring figure who's into sex, play, socializing, and singing, and is way smarter than her bubbly personality seems.
But why the cow, and the shark grin, and the mystery, and the low pass? How can you even have a pass in space? Bothers me all morning...
THE NEXT DAY
On impulse, my friend Alder invites me out to a Swedish film, House of Angels. I know nothing about it.
Turns out it's a comedy-mystery set on a farm belonging to an old man who died in a road accident... that might not have been accidental. All around the low pass where he crashed, complex secrets stacked and swirled. Did someone bump him off to get his farm cheap?
After his death, his granddaughter (Helena Bergstrom) a blonde cabaret singer whose face is rather like that of the singer in my dream (correcting for species, of course), shows up on a motorcycle driven by her gay/bi buddy/boyfriend, a raffish creature with a distinctly sharky grin. Everyone expects her to sell cheap and head back to the big city... but she claims the farm! Dodging cows and horses on her scooter and scandalizing the conservative farm community with her sexy parties, she sets out to clear up her grampa's suspicious death.
And she does. While incidentally clearing up certain questions of my own.
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