The Sea Wolf's Brain
Dreamed 1999/11/21 by Chris Wayan
For months, maybe years, the man known as The Sea Wolf used me as a slave-crewman on his ship. In between orders and beatings, he tried to convert me to his brutal philosophy--social Darwinism. Survival of the meanest. And materialism--when you die, it's over, so grab it now.
But in the end he let me go, with this scornful warning: if I don't want to be on call whenever he and his first mate decide they want me back, I'll have to fight him and beat him alone--prove my natural, Darwinian superiority. No weapons--man to man.
For years I avoid him.
Suddenly one day, I decide to challenge him. No idea why--he's much stronger and a vastly more experienced fighter; and he's never called me, so I have nothing to gain from it. Well, nothing to gain but closure. And self-respect. Maybe the Social Darwinians are right, we're as blindly competitive as dueling elk. At least here I am obeying an urge I don't understand--leaving northern Oakland, pulling onto the freeway, up the long bridge across the Bay. Heading west, toward his castle, like a lemming to the sea.
At the toll booth, I pass his first mate, who immediately pulls out a phone and calls ahead. So much for surprise.
I go on anyway. Don't know why.
Enter the castle on the sea-cliffs, and climb the tower. Meet the Sea-Wolf on the stairs. He's turned away from me, I can't see his face. I tell him "It's time for me to challenge you."
He's silent. I finally walk round him and stare at his face. His mouth is just a hole--lips and cheeks eaten away. Cancer? One hand is gone too. He's weak as a rag doll. It's reached his brain; he's slowly dying.
He's stoic, but I know he must hate this--fiercely independent, believing this world is all, and superiority must be proven by Darwinian struggle... and now this.
As a mercy, I decide to kill him. The top of his skull is open like a bowl; his brain looks like cubes of multicolored cubes of jello. I scoop some out into a TV tray. May take a little while for him to die, still, but now he will, and painlessly.
It's all I can do for him.
NOTES NEXT MORNING
SIX MONTHS LATER
A few weeks ago my dad woke up from a nap to find he was paralyzed. Guillain-Barre syndrome. He's in a hospital now, on a respirator, helplessly dying. So much for symbolism. The dream came true.
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