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A Vial Crime

Dreamed 1984/5/21 by Wayan

Ink self-portrait as a flying fox. Dream sketch by Wayan.


THAT EVENING

I saw a BBC show on Lady Nancy Astor: a rude mean snobby liar. Claimed the father of her son was dead when he wasn't!

Then my housemate Juliet has a dinnerguest over. They push salad on me. It has things in it I'm not sure I should have... yet I do, to be polite. I don't want to be Lady Astor, turning up my nose.

Wait--even if it makes me sick?

THAT NIGHT

I'm a flying fox or flying squirrel, as big as a raccoon. I seem to be living in England in the Edwardian period. I visit the manor house of human friends--a titled man and his fiancée. He's active in the House of Lords, and currently under terrible pressure from the Peers--yes, Peer Pressure!--to get rid of his young fiancée. It's not her youth or social class; they repeatedly call her "froggy-faced". Uglism! I can't see it--she's not green and never eats flies--but then humans all look alike to me. Bare skin, round ears...

They don't want him just to drop her; that might lead to gossip or even blackmail. No, they push him to poison her.

He's been honest with her, warning her of their mounting snubs and innuendos. She has no intention of causing him any harm, and he knows it. But his will slowly erodes under the barrage. Peer pressure!

She senses it and says "I'll go."

He: "No, no!" ...right up to the day he finally snaps. Even then, he could so easily have just said "I have to leave you, they want me to kill you, run for your life!" But he's weak--a mere man, no flying fox. They gave him flat-out orders and a deadline--tonight--and a vial to put in her water by her bed.

And he does it.

She senses trouble, but trusts that if she were in danger he'd tell her. He neither lies to reassure her, nor warns her. What a flimsy twig!
Badly drawn knockoffs of Peanuts characters try to keep me out of a tower. Ink dream sketch by Wayan.

She brushes her teeth as he goes to bed. In the morning, maid finds her in bathroom, dead of apparent heart failure.

The staff goes hysterical. I'm the only calm one in the house. I knew of the pressure and expected he'd crack soon; he was just too weak. Still, I thought he'd warn her, give her a chance to run.

My hearing is sharper than human; I can hear her slow heart beat. She's not dead yet! She has a chance. If I can reach the top of the tower and send off an emergency call right away, Poison Control may save her yet. With a good run-on and an updraft, I can fly!

So I swarm up a stone face on the windward side, hoping to be airborne in one rush.

But my way is blocked by... hostile cartoon people! They're wobbly--badly drawn--but vicious. They must be in the pay of the Peers!

They're bad knockoffs of the Peanuts gang, drawn without copyright permission. The plagiarist renamed them, but they're still recognizable--blatant ripoffs.

Scary, though. Snoopy with a ripsaw, Charlie Brown with a bludgeon, Lucy with... Lucy. She's inherently scary.

They hold this tower by SOCIAL power. They refuse to acknowledge I'm a small furry animal with the ability to climb, and their overwhelming numbers give their opinion weight, so much weight that I feel so heavy I can't make it up the stone face.
Snoopy drives a poisoned girl to a London hospital in a Rolls convertible; ink dream sketch by Wayan.

At last in desperation I leap off the tower wall into the air, away from them, and though I usually can't climb well in flight, I use the updrafts around the tower to fly in a slowly rising spiral up toward the beacon. Seems to take forever... but when I'm high enough to broadcast, I call for help.

But in time?

Perhaps. At least, help comes: the true Peanuts gang! They swoop in and pick her up. Snoopy drives their Rolls-Royce convertible along elevated freeways through suburban London toward the nearest hospital.

We may save her yet. May yet foil these... vial Peers.

Sorry.

NOTES




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