I had an excellent dream the other day, which I ‘rediscovered’ while I was going through the notes on my phone.  The dream was a bit long, and lots of stuff happened in a very short period of time, so I found myself needing to write in a very concise way at the beginning, in order to get to the real story.

* * * * *

I’m in my car, drive it off the road, roll it, get back in and continue on my way.  A piece of the interior trim is hanging in my face. I pull up to a left turn light and can barely see out of the windshield.  I push the piece of the trim aside and notice that traffic is completely stopped, and people are getting out of their cars, traipsing in an exodus toward the setting sun.  I decide to join the throng and find out the reason for the exodus.

The group walks toward the industrial area of a town, and I ask two young guys what’s happening.  One of them puts his arm around me and gestures at a pile of snow on the side of the road.  “Nuclear winter,” he says, as he keeps his arm around me and leads me toward a nearby building.  I hear music.  “It’s time for services,” he tells me, then adds, quietly and somewhat conspiratorially, “This isn’t nuclear fallout.”

“Oh that’s okay,” I start to protest. “You guys go on without me.”

I’m not interested in any kind of services these weirdos are likely to be involved with, so I extricate myself from the guy’s arm and walk back in the direction of my car.  I get lost and find myself in a rural section of the industrial area.  There is a farm with an adjoining warehouse, and I knock on the door of the warehouse.  Someone lets me in, and I am encouraged to sit at a table with ten or fifteen other people. They are mostly older than I am, with the exception of two very attractive young women who are talking only to each other, and two women in their mid- to late twenties who have varying degrees of developmental disability. The DD’s gesture for me to sit next to them, so I do so.  It’s lunch time, and the group has arranged large tables piled high with sandwiches, bags of chips and bowls of salsa, and trays full of vegetables.

The gathering of people appears to be a group therapy session or retreat of some sort.  A kindly older woman asks me what’s bothering me.  I start to cry, but attempt to pull myself together and tell her, “I don’t feel like talking about this right now, but I totally will some other time.”  She persists, and I decide to trust her. “You’re right,” I say, “the time to discuss something is when you’re feeling it and not waiting until later, so thanks for drawing me out.”  She gives me a gentle smile.

“I’d better eat something,” I tell her, but the tables are already being cleared, so I speak up to those people.  “Hey, I didn’t even get anything yet.”

I walk to the snack table, where there’s some hummus and a few unappetizing, dry vegetables left over. “I’ll just eat this, I guess.” I grab a generous handful of chips and dip them in what’s left of the salsa.  I look to my left and see dumpsters full of wasted food, everything from trays of sushi, pasta with meatballs, and a pile of sandwiches in a myriad of varieties.  I think about how much money they could save if they didn’t waste so much of their food, but I decide not to tell them this.  One of the other women starts talking about nuclear fallout, and I realize with some dismay that this is a doomsday cult retreat.  I sit down next to the DD’s again, and they take turns flirting with me in very strange and obvious ways.  One of them puts her hand on my foot and then pretends she didn’t, because she thought it was the other woman’s foot or something.  Total nonsense.  I start thinking about how to get out of there.  I have three cats with me (the three I recently stayed with in real life), and while they seem to be fine with their surroundings, I know it’s only a matter of time before they’ll need something.  One of the cats crawls onto my lap, and I pet her.  She looks up at me and her eyes slowly change from green to red.  I look over at the other two cats, and their eyes are already red.  I say to the woman, “Look, their eyes have changed color. . .and this one has an extra head.”  A new head and face begin to sprout from her little neck, just under her chin.   For some unknown reason, I don’t find this disturbing.  I reach into my jacket pocket and pull out my phone in an attempt to read the time, which makes the woman nearest to me very agitated.

“You can’t use that here,” she says, “it’s against nuclear code.  You see?  Someone’s already coming over to take care of this.”

In my peripheral vision, I see a man walking toward us, so I put the phone away. “I’m not USING it,” I say to the woman, “I just want to know what time it is.  Do you know?”

She replies, in a strange voice, “Nuclear time.”

Of course it is, I think to myself sarcastically.  This is becoming annoying.  I ask her, “What does that mean?”

“Well, I’d have to explain it to you.”

I sigh loudly with obvious exasperation, and start to lose my cool. “You can’t just—?“  I stop myself, close my eyes, and realize that I should try a more diplomatic approach.  I open my eyes.  “Okay, so explain.”

She looks at me penetratingly for a second, then says someone’s last name. It’s the last name of one of the scientists who developed the atomic bomb, so I respond by saying his first name.  She seems impressed, and she launches into a stream of gibberish.

“I don’t know what that means,” I say.  I look up into the sky.  The woman keeps talking, but I stop listening.  I start to wonder about the time again, and I remember that you can tell how many hours of sunlight are left in a day by making a fist, holding it vertically, extending your arm, and lowering your fist from the sun’s position to the horizon, counting the number of ‘fists’ it takes along the way.  Apparently, one fist at parallax equals one hour of daylight.  This is helpful if you’re hiking in the wilderness or something, and you may be out for a while.  I count the number of ‘fists’—five or so—which means that I have five hours of daylight, which means that it’s early afternoon.  I decide it’s time for me to get away from this cult, and I try to plot my escape.  There’s not a cloud in the sky, and there are only a handful of tall trees around the farm buildings.   There are no bushes or pallets or anything around to hide behind, and no other cover to speak of, so I’ll have to use my wits.

“I have to go pretty soon,” I tell the woman.  Way to use my wits.  She has no idea I’ve been thinking about parallax, time, and escape instead of listening to her stream of nonsense.  I gesture toward the three cats.  “I have to take these guys home, and I wasn’t planning on being gone all day.”

The woman gives me a disappointed look and says, matter-of-factly but with an undertone of threat, “Oh, you can’t leave here.”

Suddenly the sun begins to set, and the day becomes noticeably darker. “Did you see that?” I ask her. “It’s practically twilight.”  She seems unfazed by this.  I begin to plot my escape as the sun sets further.  By now, it’s almost completely dark.  My quick wits come to my aid again. “I think I’ll go for a walk,” I say, to no one in particular, and I start walking.  As soon as I get to the end of the driveway, I see a traffic jam that seems to stretch for miles.  I walk near enough that I can hear the car radios, all blaring news reports that a gigantic pile-up on the interstate has sent hundreds of cars onto the back roads, where I am, and lots of pets and farm animals are being run over.

I turn away from the highway and decide that flying will be a much easier way to get around.  I jump up and begin to fly, with some difficulty navigating through the trees at first, but then I’m free, floating slowly in the dark about thirty feet above the ground.  I fly to a nearby warehouse and land in its parking lot.  As I land, two young brothers run up to me.  The older one, about nine years old, has a portable camera/DVD recorder hanging from a strap around his neck.  Inside it, I can clearly see a blank DVD with the word “FLYING” written in black magic marker.  He says to me, “Here’s my question; when do I get my money?” He pats his device threateningly.

I laugh. “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.  I don’t have any money.”

I turn my back on the boys and reach for my phone, when two men working the night shift walk out of the warehouse and spot me.  They didn’t see me fly in, so they assume that I’m just an ordinary trespasser.  They walk toward me, but I float into the air again, which is a shock to them both.  They run to their car, and one of them pulls out a gun.  I float much higher and faster, noting my height (“Fifty feet, seventy five feet,”) as I ascend.  I fly fast enough that they’re unable to keep up with me, even in their car.  it’s becoming daylight by now, and I decide to go back to the nuclear cult retreat, retrieve the cats, fly back to town, find my car, and drive home.  I land on the edge of the property and walk up the driveway toward the warehouse. I’m not entirely sure this is the right place, but it feels right.  I walk to the door and peek through the glass. There are two people inside, neither of whom I recognize, but I knock anyway.  They turn toward me but make no further response.  I point to the door knob and exaggerate my mouth to mime the words Open the door.  Just then, a small group of people I do recognize walks into the room, so I knock hurriedly on the door to attract their attention.  No one notices.  I continue to bang on the door, and that’s when I wake up.