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RAVEN AT 5 O'CLOCK

Dreamed 11/30/1996 by Chris Wayan

THAT NIGHT

My new girlfriend Raven and I are both light, nervous sleepers, but tonight we've decided to try sleeping all night together. It may not work--but on the other hand, maybe we'll share dreams.

Raven keeps seeming to fall asleep then suddenly jerking awake. Over and over! I'm not even sure she DOES fully wake, but it's like no REM twitching I've ever seen. Some in-between phase, like a stuck record? Keeps waking me up all night.

Finally, toward dawn, I sleep long enough for one vivid dreamlet. Silhouette of a huge raven, looking in a window at someone in bed.

MY DREAM

A huge raven lands on my windowsill. She intones, "It's very important to wait until after the five o'clock KARRRK." And she flies off. I wonder what she meant. I did know she was referring to 5 PM, not AM, though I don't know how. And even though it probably IS near 5 AM by now...

THAT MORNING

I thought Raven was half-awake all night, starting to fall asleep and jerking awake, but she tells me: "No, I WAS asleep--and dreaming."

RAVEN'S DREAM:

"You were showing me round the City, but I kept falling asleep on the tour. I nodded off on the street, in the museum, in the elevator... So you'd poke me, and I'd wake up. And you'd show me another park or beautiful view and I'd nod off again until... POKE!"

Those were the clonic twitches I felt all night. So... Raven seemed awake, but she was asleep, dreaming she was falling asleep but I was poking her awake; while her dream actually DID just that to ME--kept poking me, to keep ME awake!

Except that one odd little dream about Raven giving me a message. When I tell her my dream, it makes no sense to her.

So why'd she appear as a bird to announce THAT to me?

NEXT DAY

Lucky me. I'm summoned for jury duty. So I bike downtown, to the Hall of Justice. More like the Bus Station of the Damned! Well, the Bored. Hundreds were called, but few are chosen: just a few dozen'll end up on the standby list for actual juries. The rest of us are just wasting our day. And they wonder why people try to avoid jury duty!

We all sit reading or talking for a couple hours; then, at last, their squawky PA system croaks at us, as rough as a raven's voice: "It's very important to call the message number after 5 o'clock."

And the moment I hear it squawking the words from my dream, I know that when I call to check, my name'll be on that standby list--odds or no odds, I've been chosen. That's what the dream was warning me. The Raven has spoken.

At 5 o'clock, I call. Yep. They chose me.

What, you were expecting a moral?



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