[Written and posted here eleven years ago, and reposted for no good reason.]
was up last night late–late for me anyway, on my current schedule–to try to see the new year in. The new year, 2006. I didn’t make it, of course, but the explosions and shouting outside woke me up, as did my dog. I don’t think she liked the sounds; they worried her somehow. We staggered off homeward, she hiding under parked cars and making random bolts for obscure alcoves, and I pitching a little as the sidewalk tilted abruptly under my feet. It wasn’t actually raining at the moment, so we made it back relatively unscathed, and I collapsed safe and sound in my own bed.
The trouble is, when I awoke this morning and sprang to my computer to throw a few words at the word mangler here, the rest of the world had vanished. There was no blogger.com, no yahoo, no google. There was only one explanation, of course–during the night, while I was sleeping, a mysterious display of red meteors had turned most of the population into dust and reduced the rest to brain-eating zombies. I didn’t really feel prepared for that, so going back to bed began to seem more and more attractive.
I suddenly recalled the message I had received in my sleep a night or two ago. It had seemed vitally important, and I had made a point of trying to remember it until I could wake up. I had been standing in an ocean of water that came up to my ankles, a shallow ocean with no shores at all as far as I could tell. The water teemed with arthropods of all sorts, none more than ten inches long or so, and most much smaller. Brine shrimp size–sea monkeys, for those of you who may have wondered just what sea monkeys are. At that moment I heard a doom-laden voice make an announcement of such surpassing importance that I knew I needed to remember it until I woke up. I felt quite certain that when I woke up I could do something about it, but not till then. I fixed the words in my memory and dreamed on.
Well, of course that ocean and its clawed inhabitants dissolved into the dream-stuff of which it had been made, and new images surfaced. A sort of informal conference assembled in an outdoor campus-like setting to discuss the matter, and I told my story. There was a subdued discussion, and a man with an oversized top-hat assured me that the message indeed sounded important, and that my plan of remembering it until I woke up was a sound one. A girl suggested that I should make a point of repeating it to the people I encountered in subsequent dream-sequences so that I would not forget it. I was somewhat concerned about it becoming garbled in transmission, because the dream environment was not a good one for ensuring accuracy of the text. Keep repeating it, was the advice I received, and hope for the best.
And so I did. Later on I repeated it to members of my family as we stood in a dark-paneled room with an absurdly high ceiling. A brother–not a real brother, a dream-person who was labeled as my brother for the purpose of the sequence–a brother laughed, and said that it didn’t sound all that important to him. I agreed that it seemed sort of humorous now, but suggested that might be an effect of the dream-environment that we were in. My dream-brother said it wouldn’t do any harm to remember it, but it didn’t matter if I forgot it either.
And I repeated it again at some sort of party to a group of guests who were strangers to me, and they merely looked puzzled, and wished me good luck in my quest.
And I repeated it to myself while riding on a public-transportation device that resembled a raft on rails. I wasn’t sure now if it made any sense or not, but I figured that I had got the message this far, so I could get it all the way to awakening-time. I didn’t think it would be much longer now.
And it wasn’t. Not long after that (as far as I can tell) I woke up, my small dog barking at some imagined menace. I found my glasses and started to get out of bed, when abruptly the message came back to me. No, it was rather that I remembered there was a message. It took me a moment longer to remember the actual text.
The doom-laden voice was that of President Bush. The president had said, “Our forces have defeated the crustaceans of Anthrax IV. Our surviving army has surrendered.”
High time, I said to myself, to go out and face those brain-eating zombies. Or maybe fix a triffid salad.