tonight’s dream

The world has ended, and the powers that be have refurbished a vast underground bunker (many many stories deeper than the above illustration) in order to house the remaining shreds of humanity. All of this seems okay with me.

I am one of the first people to gain access to the new living space. It is windowless and a little corporate, a warren of white-painted, grey-carpeted, mid-sized rooms stretching out into infinity and deep down into the earth, like an office tower built straight into the ground. It is stark and cold but not unpleasant.

I am hanging out in one of the rooms with my friend R. Sikoryak and a couple of other people. We’re talking about a project that we’ve all worked on, a textbook that is being published in order to familiarize people with their new lives inside this vast underground bunker. There is no furniture so we’re leaning against the walls or sitting on the grey carpeting. The place has that “new office” smell and there is still masking tape on the freshly-painted moldings. The room we are in has been set aside as a children’s playroom and there is a small arrangement of wooden blocks scattered about. We talk about the experience of contributing material to the book and the various production and editing headaches that we’ve encountered.

The book’s managing editor shows up. It is a female studio executive I’ve worked with before. She has a proof copy of the new book to show us. R. and I make fun of the cover, which is an ugly, purely-informative temp job done by some graphics-ignorant publishing slave. The editor assures us that this is not the final cover, although she sighs that the publisher (who is, I think, whatever government that exists) will not budge on the title, which is a long, meaningless gibbering of syllables that resembles the title of a software user’s manual.

As R. and the editor talk about production, I flip through the book (which is hundreds of pages long and has the heft of the aformention user’s manual) and note with pride that in addition to R.’s drawings, the book also has illustrations by Tony Millionaire. This makes both R. and I happy because Tony is a friend of ours.

At that moment there is a hubbub in the next room.  The building has been “opened for business” and a great, swelling tide of humanity has been ushered inside.  The editor opens the doorto reveal hundreds of people waiting in the next room, clutching their meager belongings and angry at us for hogging this room to ourselves.
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8 Responses to “tonight’s dream”
  1. Anonymous says:

    A dream that begs to be overanalyzed

    The environment is one I often dream of – corporate, carpeted, cubicled, soporific yet burdened by fluorescent overillumination. I appreciate the detail of the masking tape on the moldings. Is that tape by any chance blue?

    The Malthusian finale justifies the dream: the sudden collapse of the mundane. The bourgeois civility is humiliated and annihilated by an elemental upwelling of human ugliness. Vanity is pinned to the wall and suffocated. Dignity drowns in a sea of armpits. Wooden blocks vanish into the purses of women who were once soccer moms.

    My glib verdict: an allegory for 9/11, that symbolic deathbed of the swaggering 90’s.

  2. teamwak says:

    This sounds like Dilberts own personal Hell. Too many deadlines?

  3. I almost never have vivid, memorable, strange dreams anymore. I’m actually really depressed about it and slightly worried about what it means to my creativity. However, I was flipping through an old notebook and found one I wrote down about seven years ago, during a week of vivid dreams: I’m on a beach, surrounded by a circle of people who are awaiting my next feat (apparently, I had somehow drawn attention to myself before the dream cameras came on). I pull something from my ass, and it’s a G.I. Joe. One of those big, old ones with the real fuzz on their heads. Only this one is a G.I. Joe of Gregory Hines. After that comes a sort of squid-like creature encased in a viscous membrane. Please interpret this for me.

    • Todd says:

      I love how dreams have backstories. They never begin at the beginning, there’s always some pre-existing condition. In mine, it’s never that someone comes to me, asks me to engage in some performance and then I sign a contract and so forth, it’s always that it’s the day of the show and everything is up in the air and coming together and falling apart and no one is paying attention to the actual performance itself. Which is often how I find show business to be.

      As for your dream, I’m going to assume that you aren’t literally pulling these items out of your ass. Unless you have, in your past, had experiences of Gregory Hines being in your ass.

      Here’s what I see:

      GI Joe = 70s junk culture, which we all know you love more than life itself

      Gregory Hines = a friendlier, goofier, more feminine type of GI Joe, masculine yet still graceful, able to tap-dance or make light with the Muppets, or make a gritty action movie with Willem Dafoe. The “real fuzz” hair gives an added sensual aspect to the figure (especially as one pulls it out of one’s ass).

      Squid-like creature = Chthulu, one of the elder gods of pulp fiction, which has been residing in its crystalline prison (here rendered as a viscous membrane) not in space, as Lovecraft imagined, but in your lower intestine; meaning, God does not exist in some unreachable without, but in an always-accessible within (especially for artists such as yourself).

      On a practical level, GI Joe (macho childhood pop-culture figure) + Gregory Hines (slightly more recent pop-culture figure/guy with goatee) + Chthulu (slightly older, scary pop-culture figure) = Brock + Rusty + Weird Science = Smashing Recipe For A Late-Night Animated Cable Show!

  4. kornleaf says:

    glad to know that even when the world has ended, the publishing industry still lives on!