Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I get nightmares. Evidently. Or something like them.
Okay, beyond-odd confession. I've been having this recurring dream wherein I'm playing this computer game that somehow becomes real? you know? not like in Tron but sort of, but where all of a sudden the game pieces that I manipulate on the screen are duplicated in the real world around me? Anyhoo, this particular game seems to be a sort of board-game Dungeons & Dragons type, where you can generate archers, cavalry, peasants to till fields, etc., then deploy said pieces and watch them fight. (Note: This was probably inspired by the video game Trogdor.) It being a dream, the context is always a location that's almost familiar---e.g., it's the hotel where I stayed that one New Year's Eve when somebody still loved me, but out the window it looks more like Los Angeles in the summertime, and if you go around the corner, it's the sixteenth floor at my old law firm job. This particular time it was part of Treptower Park where I like to read when it's nice out, only in the middle of it was my father's house, and then next door there was a Hardee's. I believe this last point was a plot point my subconscious intended to develop in a later scene but somehow lost track of. Anyway.
One of the pieces available to the computer but not to the player (i.e., me) is a piece called the Black Knight, who can travel anywhere on the game board, has many different kinds of weapons like a mace and a sword, can attack every variety of the player's pieces, and is incredibly difficult to defend against. So when that piece appears on the screen, and accordingly, appears in real life, it is of course rather a nerve-wracking experience, as this armored and powerful figure is now trying to kill me.
Now, here's where it gets weird. The Black Knight character, when it appears, stops obeying the rules that govern real life. For the moment, kindly pretend that the "rules that govern real life" can be read to permit video game characters to leap out of your screen and chase you around your father's living room and/or old office building. Just humor me on this point; I'm hoping later to engage Ms. Pac-Man in an adult-themed fantasy you may wish not to think too closely about. But I digress.
Anyway, here's where it gets weird. The Black Knight, which as far as I can tell in the game is the one character who can use many different kinds of weapons---like a spear against cavalry, or a sword against peasants, or a torch against ... enchanted haystacks, I don't know---when he comes into my so-called real life abandons even that little bit of restraint, and starts using crossbows (not that weird) and ninja stars (weirder) and those stormtrooper-style laser guns from Star Wars (weirder...).
No, wait: Here's where it gets weird. The Black Knight, this faceless, hulking creature tramping around in six feet of black armor, like with wings on the helmet and stuff, flips up his visor to reveal that he's none other than 1980s and '90s pop star and former Smiths frontman Morrissey! And not current Morrissey, either, the one you can vaguely imagine being beefy enough to trudge around in a full suit of armor and angry enough to shoot a crossbow at someone. No, this is '86 vintage Morrissey, the one who wouldn't hit his worst enemy with anything deadlier than a gladiolus.
Interlude: When he pulls up the visor, Black-Knight Morrissey is singing this song, this song I don't quite recognize but that I can hear vividly in my memory even as I wake up, but of which I now can remember nothing other than the phrase "wonderful world" (not "Wonderful Woman"). And not a Smiths-era song but more one of those plinky-plinky songs from between Kill Uncle and Southpaw Grammar like "Sunny" or especially "Swallow on My Neck," like---but it still sounds like a really good song. And now I can't remember a damn bit of it other than those two words. You remember the story of how Paul McCartney originally dreamed "Yesterday" then woke up and played it on the piano and wrote it down and the next thirteen days kept asking all his friends if they'd heard it before because no one gets so lucky as to write a song in their sleep? Yeah, this is, uh, a different story. To say nothing of a different song.
So here's the thing. Apparently the only thing that can hurt the Black Knight is this crossbow that's a real pain to wind up and only shoots this dinky little arrow, so I'm winding it up and aiming carefully and shooting at him. Meanwhile, Morrissey the Black Knight has abandoned his sword and mace for---and I'm not making this up----an M-60 upright machine gun. Wikipedia says it fires 600 rounds a minute, which are now coming more or less directly at me, as I'm trying to squeeze my entire body behind whatever cover there is, which is invariably something like a big bush. (There may be variants of bulletproof bush in the computer logic of the video game, but not in quote-unquote the real world.) So I'm hiding, trying to duck machine gun fire behind the shrubbery, winding up this pain in the ass crossbow, and then I duck out, point and fire, and the arrow hits him, but apparently you need to hit the Black Night three times or something, so he starts firing back and me, and I just sprint and leap behind this really short stone embankment that barely covers me as I squeeze into the corner where the bank meets the ground, I can feel the air being torn by ten bullets a second passing just millimeters over my shoulder blades, which just. won't. squeeze down any farther, and without moving my arms enough to push myself over the bank I'm fumbling with the crossbow to try to reload it and it just won't fit right...
... and that's when I wake up. So I gotta stop eating before bedtime. I think, perhaps, maybe for a solid twelve hours before bedtime.