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WINDFALLS IN EDEN I'm a catgirl in Eden picking apples. A Christian in a suit points angrily at me and yells 'Drop 'em!' Dream painting by Wayan; click to enlarge.

Dreamed 2000/3/30 by Chris Wayan

THE DREAM

I live in a big walled estate. You've probably heard of it; it's called Eden.

Contrary to popular belief, Eden's always been a co-operative paradise. I'm part owner now, but I grew up poor, and it's hard to break old habits--like carrying a sack and gleaning fallen fruit off the ground. Don't like to waste it.

But at this season, most of it's unripe, rotten, or wormy. Today, a few hard mangoes are about the best of Eden's haul.

And then I find a patch of windfall apples under a tree! I'm overjoyed. They're small, but sound and good.

As I fill my sack, a stiff red-faced stranger comes up to me and yells "Leave my apples alone!"

He's a newcomer I haven't met, though I heard he was renting a room in one of the caretakers' cottages.

He says "My Landlord promised me the rights to all the apples here."

I say "Well, the estate is big. I guess I can leave the apples near your cottage for you. I'll get mine elsewhere."

But that isn't good enough for this character.

"That's not what was promised me. I own them ALL."

"All?" I snort in astonishment. "Well... your landlord had no authority to give away my rights."

And after that, I ignore him. If he's crazy enough to believe one Landlord built and owns all of Eden, or that apples aren't for all... his delusions are his own problem.

I was willing to let him have this patch, if it matters so much to him, but if he pushes me any more, he'll regret it. Because snakes don't spoil the garden a bit...

But hogs do.

And if this hog doesn't quit, I'll have to throw him out.

NEXT MORNING

Painting of catgirl's head, profile, looking sidelong at us; click to enlarge Painting of angry bearded man in navy suit, red tie, holding a book, pointing finger; click to enlarge.
Two red apples hanging from a tree
ART NOTE

Pencil study of a dream by Wayan: I'm a rangy, slender catlike being picking apples in a cooperative Eden. Click to enlarge. I'm a catgirl in Eden picking apples. A Christian in a suit points angrily at me and yells 'Drop 'em!' Dream painting by Wayan; click to enlarge.

When I woke, I wasn't quite sure what species I was in Eden; not human, I think, but some sort of intelligent, dexterous catlike person. I wasn't studying myself, after all--how often do you stop to check your appearance? Really? That often? My. Well, not me. I can forget for hours on end.

So when I woke, I didn't recall my exact appearance or coloration. Instead, in the sketch when I woke (left), I focused on posture, weight, gesture--trying to catch how it felt being me in Eden. Tall, slender, flexible, peaceful (how many cats do you know who are fruitarian?), easy-going... but still, at core, a cat.

Which means I really wasn't about to take crap from some hairless ape. Divine mandate or not. And I hope the other nonhuman species here in our cooperative Eden (you know who you are!) wise up and say no, too.

When I painted the dream at last I used a long leaf-shaped plywood panel; so tall and slender it was hard to show it all on screen; the oval above is just the center. Right: final painting.

ECONOMIC NOTE

I really do live in a co-op. And buy my food at a farmer's market. And invest in social funds (Ariel) that encourage ethical business. Even in America, you don't have to be be a hog.



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