I have been sleeping a little better of late, which in any rational evaluation of my life should be a good thing. But more sack time has also led to deeper and more disturbing dreams, and here’s last night’s installment.
For some reason, there’s a party at my house. The house in question is clearly mine, but lucid dreaming me has no memory of ever having lived there. The floorplan is a condensed version of my current residence, but all done in browns, bronzes, and 70s furniture. There’s a fireplace where my television is (a clear sign that things are not real) There are comfortable chairs, and my friends and I are hanging out, having a good time.
The topic of discussion turns to writing, and it pops into my head that I still haven’t done anything with the OTHER science fiction novel I wrote in 2013 (before people get too excited, this is another divergence from reality). Since my first one flopped with publishers, figuring out what to do with the other was a priority. My friend and current editor/publisher Mark Teppo was there, but conversations between the two of us were on other topics.
I found it strange that the person most likely to address this clearly glaring oversight was a) selectively deaf, and b) content to sit on top of my subwoofer instead of in a comfy chair. I begin to wonder if Mark is real, then things start to shift in inevitable dream fashion.
It’s War in the Pacific, and I and some other scientists are island hopping ahead of the Japanese advance. Eventually we land on an island peopled entirely by Bradley Whitford and Philip Seymour Hoffman. This is not to say that everyone looked like them, just that whenever I was talking to someone, when I turned to look them in the face the character had shifted to being one of those two actors.
Bradley and Philip are in the army, and a quick look at my own clothes tells me that I am too. This island is the location of the SUPER SECRET MISSILE GUN, which fires MISSILES. Only they can’t get it to work right, and every time they test it the enemy gets that much closer to finding the base. Also, the missile guidance relies on a mechanically generated course dowel, which has to be carved individually for each shot.
Several missile shots go awry, and the base is not only exposed, but partially destroyed. There’s only one hope for us now–destroy the floating Japanese office building before they can launch an all out attack and obliterate us. Young White Male Scientist who is not me is gleefully firing off missiles, hoping to get lucky with at least one of them. I studiously avoid looking at the man, so he’ll remain a distinct character in my dream narrative. But Bradley Whitford is convinced that we need to evacuate immediately, and destroy the super gun so the enemy will not be able to use it against us.
I realize what’s gone wrong in all this. The gun crews are using a punch card system to program the dowel carver, and then verifying the results with a second mechanical computer. I tell them they need to remember why they are here in the first place, but Bradley Whitford will not be convinced. Standing up to him, I tell him I can run the calculations myself on a slide rule twice as fast as his “infernal machines,” to which ol’ Lemon Lyman responds that what I’m suggesting is just not possible.
So I’m slide ruling, only although I clearly saw a slide rule in the room (it was attached to the super gun, in fact, which gave me the idea in the first place), what I’m really doing is hand cranking vernier knives on the dowel cutter. It’s at this point that I realize that I myself am Philip Seymour Hoffman, a fact which does not bother me in the slightest. Once I’m done with the programming, Bradley Whitford steps up to take the dowel and run it through the computer, but instead I raise the section of the super gun I’ve been working on back into place and close it tight. Not caring about his complaints, I push the entire module up into firing position, and nod to male scientist who is not me.
But of course, he is me, and the rational observer part of my brain thinks that there may in fact be something to Bradley Whitford’s skepticism.
I slam my hand down on the big red button, and the barrel of the super gun starts moving. The gun itself takes out half the ceiling, and when the missile fires the building starts falling apart. There are now distinct women in the dream, but Myself, Bradley Whitford and a newly commissioned Philip Seymour Hoffman are more interested in watching the course of the missile as it flies.
Our Perfectly Programmed Projectile is arcing gracefully over the water, and for some reason is on fire. Its wings snap out into place, and then it sails down into the now docked on some other island floating enemy office building. There’s a non-nuclear earth shattering KA-BOOM, and just like that, the war is over.
Dream shifts to a few years later, where I and some female character I’ve never seen before are sitting with a General I’ve Never Seen Before. GINSB is telling us that because of our actions on the island, we stopped a major enemy advance. It seems that the office building was coordinating a good number of ships via radio, and once it was destroyed not only could the good guys blow them up, but the tiny models GINSB is moving around on a map that looks suspiciously like a reversed Aegean sea were able to land and give relief to our ground troops. She and I are heroes, and he’s very sorry that the world can never know just what we’ve done.
Hey, no problem, man. I’ll never tell anybody…