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That night was extremely restless dreaming dreams that didn’t seem like dreams at all. They were vivid, commercial-free, and with a clarity that captured depths beyond myth.

“You have commercials in your dreams?”

“You don’t?

I felt myself separate, from myself. I hovered for a moment above the bed watching Natasha, sleeping side-by-side with me, and was thinking how beautiful and innocent she looked as she..,

Then I was whisked away. Felt like I was going through some kaleidoscopic tunnel-slide at a Peruvian jungle water park; but I didn’t, as anticipated, splash-land into cool refreshing water to unite with my inner anaconda; instead I was dumped into a damp downtown alley in the cold of night.

Once I got my bearings I hear disturbance down the way and go to see if I can find someone to bum bus-fare off of, when I see those same white suits unloading some dude in stained t-shirt and striped boxers - arms bound and eyes blinded - from the back of an unmarked ambulance and joins him with others already filling three paneled vans in-waiting.

I watch covertly from the blackened back doorway of Wonton Jon’s as the suits slam shut and secure the transports; then the ambulance followed by the three vans head out the alley. Now almost lost to the smell of maggot involved egg-foo-young, I have to force my focus to continue my watch as the caravan then illegally turns left onto the boulevard and out of sight.

Then I lose it to the egg foo young and I’m back waking up in bed, drenched in sweat, shaking and too scared to close my eyes.

I didn’t say anything the next morning. The light of day reducing the lunacy to no more than a strong impression; and Natasha had ways of taking things and twisting them out-of-bounds; I didn’t need that; was already struggling enough trying to keep it together - maintain a balance; and I suppose it makes sense following a traumatic event, but..,

This became a nightly occurrence. It got so that I would fall dead asleep – like, pass-out - at the same time every night regardless of the day, and would sleep so sound I could not be woken. I’d have the same dream, the white suits in the alley filling vans with blinded bodies, the egg foo young, and then the illegal left turn. I’d return the same way; waking, shaking, covered in sweat.

Shit was getting bad, I was almost too afraid to go to bed, but wouldn’t let on, promising myself I would not fall asleep tonight; but prime-time T.V. was even more boring than rerun dreams.

Even sex suffered.., for me that is; Natasha, who thought it necessary to move in after the abduction, and who never felt the need until the late-nite T.V. feed, had to go at me while I slept if she wanted any; which didn’t seem to bother her and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that.

I didn’t know how I felt about anything these days. The last few weeks had been too surreal; so surreal that surreal was the only word I could think of. My brain was dead like acting on automatic pilot; no energy to write, no energy to look up the limitations of surreal; no energy to even think..,

But I was thinking - thinking about;

Same damn dream every night. I remember back years ago; out of rehab, just past the honeymoon - was bored - and fearing a trigger I tripped on new and improved ways to fuck with my head and wondered how it would react if I was to watch the same movie every night for a month. That’s when I came to appreciate – at the cost of my third six-month chip - the ebb and flow of life; the ups and downs, give and take.., the pendulum swing of a bi-polar reality suffered this side of Eden.

And that don’t have nothing to do with nothing but neither did anything else, not anymore. The dreams are like dreams that you know are dreams but you’re powerless to take control; just like in regular life but far more disturbing because it’s in an environment of my own making. It’s my dream I should have some say. But then the waking world is my reality and..,

Perhaps I was being unreasonable to expect some/any control over my own mind; and can dreams, considering layers – a dream within a dream - be surreal or is that just redundant..,

Dude says no.., Fuck him. He wasn’t even listening.

“People have freedom of thought, right?” Questioned Wizkey.

“Without question. We live in the freest country in-all the universe, so of course we have freedom of thought” I had answered with confidence.

This was months ago and Wizkey, running his mouth as usual..,

“Cause without freedom of thought, who gives a fuck about freedom of speech.., without freedom of thought – the right to cognitive liberty - freedom of speech is just the freedom to repeat whatever bullshit you’re taught to believe - which should not be mistaken as freedom. Everybody screaming for their freedom of speech, freedom to express themselves..,

“And perhaps with true freedom of thought – or freedom from thought - people wouldn’t have to depend so much on belief that depends so much on speech in order to exist. Might even find thought itself, especially thoughts driving inner dialogue, to be unnecessary and in fact destructive.”


“Inner dialogue just assures us we’re not crazy when we are – justifies our darkest sins. Inner dialogue - the shit you think - holds together a reality that eastern philosophy, and even the myopic ego of western science, will tell you does not exist.”

“But don’t you need to think to choose? Like they say you can choose to be happy.., happiness is a choice.” I remember I countered, sure I was right.

“Only a confused mind needs to choose. And if you have to choose to be happy, you have other problems.., having to choose to be happy simply demonstrates the depth of the disease.”

And I didn’t understand that at all; leaving me confused.., but with a choice.

Wizkey is a self-proclaimed Hoodoo guru that can heal all but himself; and claims he’s better than everybody who thinks they’re better than anybody.

“The only way you can truly stifle speech is by imprisoning thought; and freedom of thought cannot be secured without giving up the freedom you wish to secure. It’s like defining the indefinable.., then worshipping the definition.., but, not really.., and then again..,”

With confidence slipping I reply; “Why would freedom of thought even need protection.., I mean, we’re all free to think whatever cause nobody knows what we think anyway.., right?”

I hated it when Wizkey looked at me like that - holier than thou shit - And I don’t even know why I’m thinking all this bullshit; the bullshit one thinks to keep from thinking of.., bullshit. All day long just random thoughts sending me down paths looping through nonsense; just to avoid the threat of a setting sun.., and the inner demons that only come out at night.

It’s a mental melt-down Fukushima style and I just won’t be honest with myself about it. Playing the victim hasn’t helped me stay awake, helped keep me from falling asleep before getting intimate with Natasha.

Apparently I’ve had sex every night; much more than before she moved in; yet I feel deprived and starting to wonder/worry if I’m better asleep than awake, and wonder how I feel about that; maintaining a hard-on while you’re sleeping is kind of like.., you know.., growing hair after you’re dead. Is that something you can own - take pride in - seriously.

Need to get some focus, need some help; and decide on Thunderbird over Night Train – got a coupon in the mail.

That’s when I go to the store; that’s when I see Tommy Allen - alive - in the check-out line checking out the tabloids.

Tommy Allen had been a few years behind me in school; being a senior and he a freshman, I didn’t know he was alive until he was dead; till his suicide made the local papers and everyone was talking about it.., and, hey, I went to school with him..,

My claim to fame; I was the guy who went to school with the guy that hung himself in his closet.., was even included in my Facebook profile.., until I quit Facebook.

I couldn’t deal with this right now. I wanted to pretend I didn’t know him and he wanted to pretend he knew me.

“Long time no see..,”

Dude been raped by Brother Octavio and years later hung himself till dead - I even went to his funeral; and he says, “long time no see”; that shit stuck with me, and he says, “long time no see”; like nothing ever happened, and everything “couldn’t be better.” And if I wasn’t the guy that went to school with the guy who had hung himself in his closet.., who was I?

Stricken by an existential crisis and even as I didn’t want to know, I needed to know.

I cautiously brought up Brother Octavio, worried I might open the door to a darker dimension, releasing mad-repressed rage from the grave. But he was cool; never seen therapy this effective.., he was supposed to be dead and buried but instead was married with two kids.., what kind of drugs this dude on – enquiring minds need to know.

And still I feared I just might yet pierce those wounds – fucking Night of the Living Dead shit - corrupting corrective cosmetics exposing the demon behind a flimsy facade; I casually took a couple of steps back; ready to defend myself with a rolled-up Sports Illustrated – Swim Suit Edition.

“Brother Octavio? You mean the one that raised snakes?”

Yeah, that’s right, he did raise snakes; long and fat boa constrictors he fed rats to, I forgot all about that.

“The Brother that died of complications from SBS..,”


“Swollen Balls Syndrome.”

“Swollen Balls Syndrome?”

“Technically, Pathologic Testicular Elephantitis.., I think.”

“What the.., Fuck!!”

“They never did find the guy that did it to him.., or find out what would possess somebody to do such a thing.., you know.., to kick him in the balls like that. He seemed to be popular, very close to the boys.., but I don’t know, he died before I took his class. You must’ve known him better.”

“Sure you’re right.” And without statute of limitations.

I had to get out of there.., I was freaking out.., even forgot the wine.., fucking rehab.

I turned left at the corner looking for a lift all the while thinking, while I had no idea what to think, and couldn’t help but worry that this was all by design.., shadow government conspiracy.., nonsense to me but necessary to the benefit of sinister schemes.., twisted turmoil.., a grander plan.., and on and on..,

So many thoughts, so many conspiracies, making me dizzy; and how could anybody even believe that bullshit about office fires..,

And damn!., I almost run into Wizkey who’s selling tax free cigarettes, singles; and I don’t want to deal with him; and try to sneak on by as he negotiates the price of a menthol light, extra-long.

“Steve.., Steve! Hey wait up. Where you going in such a hurry.”