Log cabins

My family is broken into two groups, and each group has its hands full, trying to move two large log cabin-type houses across a makeshift bridge made of wooden pylons and planks of plywood. The bridge is busted, segmented, and not meant to be traveled, it seems, although there is some construction going on, which makes our passage even more perilous. Below us, there is some dirty, shallow water measuring possibly two feet deep.

It's slow going, and I'm in the first group. I look behind me to check the progress of the second group, and see my mother trip and teeter and then finally hit her head on the edge of one of the pylons, and then fall into the water below. My father, who's the head of my group, yells to my brother and me to take off after her and make sure she's breathing, because she has a concussion.

Somehow my brother dives into the two feet of water. I drop feet first and get to mom before my brother does. She's lying on her back under the water, unconscious. I lift her out of the water — she's heavy — and wonder how I'm supposed to get her to breathe. I don't know CPR. "Shake her!" someone yells, and I do, and she starts breathing. I'm yelling at her to stay awake, because she's drifting in and out of consciousness. Not sure what I'm supposed to do, I look up to see the family continuing to carry the log houses across the rickety bridge.

I suppose they cross the bridge successfully, because soon they are all beside me as I stand there trying to hold mom up. One of my nephews or maybe my brother — I can't remember which — starts going off on me for leaving chairs out in some building, presumably where the log cabins were taken to be stored, which is why it took them so long. I yell at him to back off. I feel completely helpless with my mom nodding off in my arms. We're both waterlogged.

I look up to see another family carrying another wooden log cabin across that confounded bridge. Someone makes a misstep and the wood cracks and collapses around them.

Good luck with that, I think.


I have no title for this.

I'm helping Mom and Dad at the visitor center. I feel out of place because I don't have a nifty ranger uniform like them, but I'm not a ranger so I can't even borrow one. The phone rings, and I answer as I've been instructed to. It's Tamara's mother. She wants to know what I think of TB's upcoming handfasting (which is purley in dream-land). I jump up and sit on the big slate counter at the welcome desk and watch out the back panorama window, looking at the fountain while TB's mom vents her frustrations and worries. I have no idea why she's called me to discuss this, but I'm cool with it. For some reason, there's a a contraption now next to me on the counter that looks like a wagon wheel, only just about a foot and a half tall, and it has glass compartments over the spindles that look to be filled with assorted types of colwslaw. There is a box of toothpicks labeled "for sampling" on the counter. I don't really like coleslaw, but I go for it anyway. Tabasco coleslaw, seafood coleslaw, mixed berry coleslaw. Then she says something that makes me terribly angry (I don't remember what it is), and I reply with something like, "Well as long as she's happy, I don't think it's my business or yours." She starts yelling at me and I realize that my mom is gesturing toward me to turn around. I do, and the visitor center is full of people. Mom needs help in the bookstore immediately. I carry the cordless phone into the bookstore, listening to TB's mom. I start to ring customers up, noticing that the bookstore must have been expanded because it's huge and there is a ton of new stock, and mom hip-shoves me out of the way. She angrily tells me to go help dad if I can manage to get my name-tag on straight. I'm about to cry and I tell TB's mom I'll have to call her back.

Can't sleep, bad dreams will eat me

can't sleep, scary dreams will eat me

I can't sleep in my childhood bedroom anymore.

This has been a problem for a while now. Every time my head hits the pillow and my eyes flutter shut in the darkness, I see shit in the dark. Shapes of things looming. Eyes watching. When I finally get ahold of myself and drift off to sleep, this absurd cycle of anxiety-ridden dreams and nightmares gets started.

Just now I had entered that delicious limbo phase when the conscious mind starts powering down and starts churning out all those nonsensical phrases and imagery than turn into dreams, and I went through no less than three bad dreams that I forced myself to wake up from. The last one is the only one I can really remember. I am leaving a building — work, presumably, because I look down and see my badge on a lanyard — and walking briskly in a parking lot. It's dark out. The breeze kicks up and takes me with it — straight up, like I'm on an invisible elevator. I realize I'm dreaming and decide to just go with it and will myself ever higher (what's the worst that could happen?) and my eye level gets nearly flush with the top of the building, which is old and made of bricks, and I see something that I can't quite make out. It's moving, and it's menacing.

I woke myself up when I cried out.

That's fucked up.

But dreams like that ALWAYS happen to me in this room. I've documented some of them. I hate sleeping here. Hate it. The whole night is fraught with pointless peril and I have no idea why.

The thing is, there is no reason for me to have issues with this room. I don't recall anything bad ever happening to me in this room. (Or anywhere else, really. I had a good childhood.) Nothing bad has happened to anybody else in this room, as far as I know. I have made a lot of really good memories in this room. Granted, they've painted the walls and redecorated completely, so it doesn't look anything like the Pepto Bismol-pink monstrosity I adored as a kid, but it's still the same damn room. What gives?

Perhaps it's all this violent Civil War art all over the walls. Or the weird dissonance between that and the unicorn collection on the dresser. Maybe it's the furniture. Maybe it's the mattress.

I don't know. But it's 4 in the morning and I would like to go to sleep. But I'm scared of what's waiting for me on the other side.


Trippin' — South African edition

By the looks of it, I'm in a jungle. I'm following a long line of people who are traversing the tricky terrain, but especially on my radar is this young black woman with kinky hair that kind explodes from her head in all directions.

It kind of feels like I'm watching a documentary, or perhaps making one, as I listen to her talk about how much she loves the cacao bean and what kind of effect it has on her. I turn around to see her demonstrating, taking what looks like a standard black beanstalk (not what real cacao looks like) in her mouth and sucking out the insides. She becomes delirious — seriously, seriously high — and falls to the ground in a fit of ecstasy. The ground, I notice, is muddy and covered with trampled tropical leaves. Tall grass surrounds us. The young woman's eyes roll back in her head as she trips. Someone tries to help her stand — we've got to keep moving — and she simply keels over and does a straight-up faceplant into some mud and grass.

That's when I notice the bugs — giant, huge, ENORMOUS bugs, crawling over her at lightning speed, on their way to places more interesting, presumably. These bugs are everywhere in the grass. I can see them — roaches the size of lobsters, beetles the size of chihuahuas — leaping in and out of the grass and skittering over people's feet. I restrain my horror and think to myself So this is what South Africa is like.

(In all reality, wouldn't it be more likely that I was in South America, what with the cacao and the jungle? I dunno...)


Before Disassembling...D'oh!!

I have dismembered a body under cover of night, and have wrapped each part in white garbage bags and secured them with twist-ties. I am loading each piece into an open trunk. I apparently have partners in my crime, but it's so dark I can't see who they are. When I'm done I turn around and realize that I am right in front of a Walgreen's, and there's a security camera pointing right at me. I panic, but realize that there's nothing I can do. I am caught, and I am going to jail for the rest of my life.

3 Nights ago...

In my bedroom far...far away. I'm sorry. I couldn't resist. It's been a while since I've posted so you have to humor me...right?

I'm on a set of damp, cool concrete steps in a stone stairwell. A nice breeze is blowing through and the air smells sweet. It seems like above them there sits a nice outdoor courtyard full of trees, flowers, singing birds, pedestrians, and people taking their lunches outside. It seems that down below there's another courtyard...that's also in the sun. I'm not sure how that's possible, but it's full of the same things. The atmosphere seems almost collegiate, but I know I'm actually at work. I get the feeling I'm leaving work. I think I'm heading down the stairs, but I can't be positive I wasn't going up them. The important thing is that I bump into my old boss, the former art director of the C.A. and we start talking. He's in his biking shorts and a t-shirt and he's a few steps above me. He's very fit. (He's very fit in real life) He somehow knows that I have no vacation days or personal days left and there are still 6 months left in the year. He tells me that I have to quit for a year and go with him...that my health depends on it. He's a good friend and I trust he knows what he's talking about, but I'm baffled that he knows how many off days I have left when he's been gone for over a year.

Then I wake up.



I'm with my sister and a few other people. We're dressed in what can only be described as rejects from the Mad Max costume line.

As we drive through a field, we hear of a group of marauders running through the area. That's our cue to intercept the group and kill them.

We come upon a band of middle-aged and elderly suburbanites walking across a grassy meadow. There are the balding males with bermuda shorts, polos and sandals on. There are one or two grandmotherly figures in the group wearing pop beads and obscenely bright floral tops.

My sister, who is right next to me, has already pulled out her weapon. She's ready to roll.

I pull out an elongated knife (or maybe it's a short sword) and hop off the vehicle. We circle around the group that has now reacted like a herd of cattle. They're facing outward, wide eyed and panicked.

From the left, someone starts hacking into the group and I know it's go-time. Quickly, I dispatch two with a few deep cuts. They go down with very little noise and almost no blood issuing from the wounds.

As I circle around the back of the group, I see my sister bending down over an old woman who is on the ground near breathless after screaming, searching frantically for a way to get out of there. I'm strangely passive to her fear and nearly laugh as my sister asks her "do you want to go quickly?"

She repeats the question a few times before the woman finally nods. My sister steps on her chest and begins cutting in a way that would not bring quick death. The woman never screams. In fact, she lays there looking up at my sister patiently awaiting her last moment.

I come upon a middle-aged guy with his gut hanging out significantly over his shorts who continues to face me even as I circle him and says to me, "I never knew you were so good with those weapons." I slice into him twice very quickly. He drops to his knees as blood starts seeping into his mouth. As he falls over, he asks, "are you good with all of them?"

"Half," I reply. "I'm good with about half."

He nods and expires.


Always unprepared

The first dream involved the other side of a long-distance relationship finally getting his ass in my general vicinity. He finally comes to see me and my place is packed with people I keep trying to get rid of. I tell them all that he's coming to see me and they need to go away.

He arrives. They're still everywhere. I'm not ready for him to be here, but I do my best not to show it as I continue to try to shoo people away.

Somewhere in there, we're in a park sitting in this bench contraption that forms a square with two other people, one of whom is one of my bosses. The boss and my guest start up a conversation while I notice my guest has very strange feet. His toes are incredibly short and stumpy even though the size of his foot is normal. It's like his toes had to be cut from the slab of flesh at the end of his foot.

The boss ignores me completely and I wonder if anyone notices I haven't even taken a shower.


The second dream involved traveling to Europe with a group of people including my mother and a certain person of interest I can't seem to get out of my head. The person, we'll call T, is leading the group around a tour of Germany and keeps looking to make sure I'm right there with him.

I realize I forgot my watch even though we had been explicitly told before the trip started that we would need to bring one.

Then, I realize I forgot my camera. My mother begins to gripe at me that I should have taken more time to pack since I forgot two essentials of travel. This makes me wonder if I remembered to get my suitcase at the airport when we landed. I can't seem to find it anywhere.

Meanwhile, T keeps coming by and tapping me on the shoulder to get me to pay attention when the group moves.

I try to stay lighthearted on the outside and pretend I don't feel like a complete moron or worry that I'm disappointing him.


Sometimes I don't know my own strength

I am scraping something -- you know, just one of those general gritty annoyances you get from time to time -- off my tooth, and I feel my fingernail inadvertently take a chunk of tooth and catapult it from my mouth.

I search everywhere but can't find the missing bit of tooth.


Comedy and Musicality

I am working on a production with a huge company. We are going to play an open-air arena; one of the biggest in the country. We have a huge budget, and we keep adding hilarity and stretching out the show until the very last second. People who aren't writers start to add things. Brandon Holloway writes a skit and puts it in without my permission. What has been raucous laughter up until this point dries up and quiets as he and another guy put on a farce involving destroying an upright bass, singing falsetto opera, and other buffoonery. As soon as the rest of the regular show goes on, the laughing resumes. I'm in the wings with my headset and belt pack and I'm fuming to crew members about Brandon's intrusion. There are people from my high school in the production. Then I am way out in the audience, and there is a man with a gun holding up people for their belongings and souvenirs. I watch as he forces and father and son to remove their 2008 Olympics tee shirts. The father says, "We really were at the Olympics. These are irreplaceable." I decide to put a stop to it. I am suddenly center field, and the stage is gone, and there's just a football gridiron. I am speaking into a mic about the mean robber, and somehow my deciding to tell the audience at once causes him to lose his robbery power. The audience has dwindled, and the stadium is much smaller. I can see faces.

I am sitting in a big building whose walls and ceilings are a band room, but whose floor and
furniture are my grandparents' house. I am sitting beside Cindy Haffly, who has out her tenor and is examining three new altissimo keys that have been added to the sax, but in keeping with the auxiliary F key, not the palm keys. I have my tenor in my lap, and I'm looking, too. I start playing the notes and then using the new keys, comparing intonation. Apparently we are making a chart of which fingerings to use in certain settings. When we're done she straightens her collar and pulls at her button-down shirt and says, "I'm getting the hell outta here! I'm starving!" and walks out. I laugh, and continue to play. I am playing when I hear a staticky interruption. I stop playing and hear Rick Shaw's voice filtering through the speakerphone on the desk. "Tamara! Tamara!" he's shouting. "Yeah?!" I say, irritated. "Listen, I have some bad news for you." Bob Besant has joined Rick, wherever he's calling from, and is snoring loudly into the phone. He sounds like Butthead sleeping. "When you go in to play for Dr. Mroz, he's going be like, 'Okay, hi, where ya from?' and you're going to say 'Senior high,' but the thing is that I forgot to tell him you're coming, and he doesn't like to take senior high." I scoff. "Great!" Rick continues. "Just say, 'Dr. Mroz? I'm going to be your daughter-in-law-" Bob interjects, "'with your kind permission,'" and Rick continues, "'-so if you'd give me the chance to play I'd really appreciate it.'" I stand there, not replying, trying to figure out who the hell it is I'm supposed to be marrying that Dr. Mroz would be my father-in-law.


How did I get here?

I find myself at my friend A's place. I'm in my grey ARMY T-shirt and nothing else, and I'm unshowered, and it becomes clear that I'm there alone. Let's just say that I don't know A nearly well enough to be at his place in such a state, and I start to wonder where he is and when he'll be back.

The thought to leave never occurs to me, so I snoop through his things. One of the things I can vividly remember is his porn collection, which I remark is very classy: It's on vinyl (how that works exactly, I don't know) and instead of each cover featuring sex acts barely obscured by cartoon explosions or black boxes, there are simply artistic illustrations of bodily forms, designed with care and aesthetic calibration in mind. I approve, and think to myself this must be some really old porn. I can only hope the porn itself is as thoughtful as the packaging, if that's possible.

I look out the window and see a bus pass by. It's as if my eyes are equipped with zoom lenses because I hone in and see A's face in the back seat, laughing at a joke someone must have just told. Oh shit, I think. He's home. With friends. What am I supposed to do? I am acutely aware of how weird he is going to think it is that I am in his house.

I go to the next room and peek through the door as people file into the house. I catch A's vision and wave sheepishly, and he looks surprised to see me. I feel awful for being there. I sit down on some low-lying chair, trying to obscure my lower half, which is without pants. His friends come into the room, one by one, and occupy open seats. A takes a seat just on my right and introduces me to each person. I do my sheepish wave thing. His friend L sits down on my left as if she knows me too. I recognize her from the internet in real life and am happy she's being nice enough to sit next to me even though I probably smell bad.

A's looking at me, but I'm afraid to look at him or talk to him because I feel gross. I try to explain to him why I'm there and how I got there. "I think I honestly might have sleptwalked over here," I say, "because I cannot remember coming over here. I'm wearing my PJs and I haven't showered either," I say, embarrassed. A is leaning in to my neck, smelling my hair and the curve of my skin. I wonder if he's trying to get a whiff of my pheromones or something. I tell everyone, by way of explanation for why I'm there unannounced and possibly uninvited, that I've been reading this book called Snoop, about how to determine personality types by hidden clues in people's personal spaces (it's a pretty interesting book that I really am reading right now).

A surprises me with a kiss, and he runs his hands quickly but sweetly over my hair and my chest, before I pull away. There is no way I can make out with him when I've not even brushed my teeth.


Attack cats

I am hanging out with my friend T at his place, which is not his place in real life at all, but some sort of dingy, creepy, dark dream place that makes me uncomfortable. He has three cats (again, not in real life) and as I'm sitting on the floor, they are creeping nearer to inspect me.

One of them -- a dark grey beauty -- reaches out and just thwacks at me, for no reason. I've done nothing to instigate it. Its claws make contact and scratch me, catching on my clothes. The others get closer and more aggressive, and the grey cat continues reaching out methodically with the same paw, scratching me aggressively.

I yell to T that his cats are attacking me and think to myself how pathetic must a person be to get attacked by cats?