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SILK PINS

Dreamed 1992/5/13 by Chris Wayan

Velvet drapes hang in space, enfolding an oval stage: a solar system. I'm onstage, near the lamp-post sun, sitting on a raised round dais: a planet. An inhabited world, whose people I hope to sign a trade contract with. That's my job--I'm the trade rep for a world called Terra.

The local rulers asked me here today to meet the Fat Lady. I've faced her before; she's my biggest rival. A tough, clever, paranoid trade-agent--not a bad sort, I don't mean to say that--paranoia's something of a job requirement in our business. Trade agents do sabotage each other, and trusting agents get cheated. That means their people get cheated. Fat Lady's conscientious about her people, her world. So she's paranoid, and proud of it.

So am I.

We meet on the dais. I know she suspects me of something, and may attack me. But I try to reassure her that this time I'm not interested in fighting over trade rights. It even happens to be the truth, this time. I ask "Do you have any idea why the local rulers put us together, instead of negotiating with us separately, playing us off? What's their game?"

She says simply "It's good to see you" and gives me a big hug. This is a big lady, so when I say a big hug, I mean a planetary hug. I hug back of course, but stay alert. Yes, there it is--a slight prick on my back.

"I don't mean to be rude, but did you stick me with a drug pin again?"

"It's just a tranquilizer with a bit of truth serum." she says. "I can't trust you to tell me the truth." She even shows me the pin--a round ring with three small tines, like the legs of a flying saucer. A silk-pin, made to pin up silk yardage for hand-painting and batik. My housemate uses them in her arts and crafts classes. They're so small and decorative, they don't look like weapons... hence their popularity among us trade reps. Like the one in my palm, as I woozily answer her questions. The one I press against her arm. The one with a sleeping drug on it. I didn't intend to use it, but she's brought this on herself.

As we both slump into a stupor, sprawling across the planet-disk like the end of a Shakespearean tragedy, I foggily suspect the local rulers set us up. All they were after was a little time out, to decide what they want and who they believe, away from our pressure and paranoia and manipulation. Some peace and quiet.

So, like exhausted parents, they put the squalling babies to sleep. Or rather, let us put each other to sleep...

Two sleepers on a raised dais

NOTE IN THE MORNING

I have to laugh at this picture of my dreams as the tired managers of a theatrical world, trying to manage warring prima donnas--my high-strung, suspicious, conscious thoughts! Like big bratty babies who've gotten whiny but won't go to bed.

But my unconscious seems to have found the answer. Let my conscious exhaust itself talking to itself--today I did use silk-pins, I was painting a dream on silk, and worked to exhaustion. Tranquilizing myself with art... and sheer fatigue.

Oh well. I guess it beats booze or sleeping pills.



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