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07/26/2011 03:59 PM
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There are explanations from modern psychology to explain some of this, but those are not for this book. I only find one thing troubling about the whole matter, and that was it’s conclusion. You see, these were dreams, were they not? They meant whatever dreams mean, right? And in the end, one night while my mother, Joan Murphy, tucked me into bed, I told her, I hope I get to see my skeleton family tonight, and she did not pat me on the head and say have a nice night, or sweat dreams, she yelled at me violently, and for the first time she struck me and demanded I tell her what this was about. She grabbed my shirt with both her hands and pulled me to her and shook me and said “WHAT? WHAT DID YOU SAY?” My father came in the room and I looked to him for help but he only looked at my mother and said “What happened Joan?” And she shook me more and ordered me “You tell him, you tell him what you just said”. I was too terrified to speak and I didn’t know what to say, I just cried as a child would cry. And my mother let me go and she told my father what I had said. She said in a harsh and violent tone, “He meets with his family at night does he?” And she shook her head up and down as a robber might do when he held what money you had given him and said “Is that all you’ve got?” I looked in my fathers eyes for help, but he just looked down at the floor and said “They’re just dreams Joan.” And she stood and she shook her finger at me and she said “Well we will just see about these dreams then won’t we?” Yes, and I suppose she did see about them, for I never saw those people again, I never saw that dessert world or swam in those pools, nor played with my sister or my mother and father, instead, I was left to spend my days with Joan Murphy and my nights alone.
Wow, writing that thing kind of leaves me sick, and unfortunately, it really was not a dream, I did go somewhere, to a place where for a few hours a week I could have joy and a very strange, very sick woman, a woman had been entrusted by the state over my care, did indeed take yet one more beautiful thing from my life. Thanks Joan.
The next dream was a lot less interesting, and I have never really understood the purpose for it, but I did have it, maybe six hundred times in my life prior to age seventeen. The story was like this; I was walking along a modern freshly built two lane dessert road on a beautiful day, not too hot, not too cold. I was backpacking somewhere and was as a happy as any man on any vacation, where he has no troubles in his life at all, just a wonderful walk. A walk taken from nowhere to nowhere, just for the joy the walk itself offered. Incidentally I highly recommend this sort of vacation to anyone who is into this sort of thing. The world is a much more interesting place when you see it on foot. Anyway, so there I am walking and I come along to a large valley at the bottom of which there appears to be a dry lake. The road stretches down into the valley, across the flat floor and back up the other side. A perfect plane, with a kind giant canyon in the middle. I happily stroll down to the bottom and began what might be a several mile journey to the other side. The road I see is on a raised rock structure, which indicates to me that perhaps this dry lake might on occasion fill, but it was only ten feet up, if that, and it was just a passing casual note in itself. Of course the weather gets cloudy and rain begins to fall, stronger and stronger until a full blown monsoon is at hand. I hadn’t concerned myself with any of it because of course the road was raised above whatever the lake might ever hold, but I saw it was filling, and worse yet there were waves, fierce waves that were striking the highway and huge splashes, sending water everywhere. I paused then, in that terrible rain and realized if I were to be washed off that road, I would surly die. The storm did not let up, not at all, and in fact it began to rain even harder and the wind blew worse than one could have thought. I was in a bad spot, my life was in danger, soon the road would be covered with a few feet of water and the waves, well, I didn’t think I could stay on the road all the way to the other side, I would end up swimming, and with no knowledge as to the overall motion of the water, who knows, I might be swept out into the middle, I had to turn back and I had to hurry.
And this of course is the whole point of the dream, and it is the one thing which was always the same, when I turned around to look back, I was in the absolute dead center of the valley. And I ask you this, which way should I have walked? I always made the same decision and sometimes I lived and sometimes I died, but indeed, I always eventually dropped my pack, leaving all that weighed me down behind, and I always ended up swimming for the shore. There is an answer from philosophy and basic logic as to which direction to take. With no knowledge of the currents of the water either way holds the same exact chance of survival or death, and so, you go forward. The only thing that one could do to help improve their odds was to drop their things and run. It is difficult to do that and so I sometimes waited, thinking the road was built for these occasions and I had nothing to fear. I sometimes ran with my pack realizing my danger but not understanding I was holding myself back. After all what good is a shirt or a pair of boots, or a tent or any of it, even a million dollars if you are dead? I will say, the worst thing that could happen in that dream was to be swept off the road while wearing the pack itself. Usually that did happen. I would walk faster and faster and when I started to see the really large waves breaking over the road I always dropped all my stuff and tried as best I could to hold myself either on the road or if I were swept off, get back to it as fast as possible.
Yeah, I had that dream hundreds and hundreds of times. I can tell you one good thing from that dream, there is nothing in the world that feels as good as surviving that which is unsurvivable. On those times when I made the distant shore, which was about a third of the time or so, I would crawl up into the wet dirt with nothing but my life and that was not just good enough, it was all I wanted in the whole world.
A third recurring dream was pretty weird and totally political.
The dream would open with me standing inside an industrial refinery near San Diego on the Mexican border. It was in a future world and the United States was no longer a democracy. I had run afoul of the government and it had been a really small matter, kind of like the Alameda thing started, but each government layer tried to cover-up the affair and each time, they had failed. At each step of the attempted cover-up they had demonized me more and said, it like I like I was a bigger criminal than before. I had lived in Minnesota, and had run from my town heading south for no particular reason, only thinking that I had to just reach a higher authority, like the state police, and then when they were corrupt and demonized me, I had run farther, thinking I could reach the federal authorities, but then it was a whole bunch of careers at stake, and the lies they told in the papers, increased with each day I got farther away, and soon, in a matter of only a week or so, I was the most wanted man in America, even though I had done nothing wrong, nothing at all. If I surrendered, they would never allow me to tell my story, and yet, my name was now so big there would be no way they could explain my silence, well, except one way, my death. And as I had run south, passing through each state, the nation became more and more fascinated with my case and there was nothing the government bosses could do but kill me, it was more than just their careers now, it was the Machine itself.
I was a dead man walking and I knew it, but there was one hope, and that was Mexico. In this dark future world, the Mexicans were still as they are today, and in that world, Mexico was seen as a liberal democracy, which had become used to screaming Americans begging them for political asylum. And I knew, that if I could just cross the border, I could live and that was all I wanted, just to live. So, some days before, on the course of my journey, I had obtained and memorized a map of this refinery. The refinery was located directly on the border and it closed operations at night and the thing about it was that they had access ladders leading up the wall we had built along the Mexican border. The refinery was huge, but if I remained focused I could reach a ladder, and I could hop the wall, and as far as I knew, the Americans were not shooting across the border. I had arrived in San Diego early that morning and they knew I was in the city. The entire city was alive searching for me, as they might a horrible serial killer of mass proportions. As the night had worn on, the men in command of our nation were in a panicked state and San Diego was like a giant prison, I had to be caught.
I begin the dream having gotten inside the refinery complex, but I am confused and I have become lost. I was pouring sweat off my face and I could see and hear helicopters passing overhead with searchlights looking for me. They knew I was in the refinery and the police had swarmed inside. I heard voices calling to each other and I heard dogs barking, and I saw flashlights hitting the walls near me. On the giant cement walls of the refinery buildings were giant numbers, painted and encircled in red, these were my markers and for just a few moments, I had been lost. As I hear the dogs, I focused my mind and I looked on the buildings along the wide lane where I stood and I saw then, I saw the last critical marker. Why I was one building from the wall! I ran then and I passed the first access road to my left and it was full of cops with dogs and machine guns. I ran so fast all they could do was shout “There he is, we got him!” I ran and I made my first right turn, and as if a mantra from heaven, I saw directly before me, at the end of the road, the wall. On the wall was a giant number nine encircled in that giant red paint, and right up the center ran my chosen access ladder. I sprinted for the wall and I ran as fast as I could, for these men would not allow me to get over that wall. I was only at the most two hundred feet from the last turn in the road, and I jumped up the wall passing the first five rungs or so and scurried as fast as I could, but then the cops came, and they were screaming, “STOP, STOP, OR WE’LL SHOOT!!” I climbed more rungs and now I was only a few feet from the top. I needed only a few seconds to escape, maybe three, that was all I needed, and those copse fired their guns, not into me, but next to me, spraying the wall, as a warning, they were giving me my last chance to surrender, and I would hesitate then, just for a moment, not that it mattered. Their guns were trained on me already, and I would have the briefest flash of surrendering, but I knew, what even the cops did not, I knew there was no surrender. And I would continue my climb, maybe reaching one or two more rungs, as I listened to the frustrated voices of men who had been given orders of ‘shoot to kill’. And they always did, and I always died in that dream. In a flurry of machine gun fire my body would fall from the ladder and sometimes I would live long enough to land and look up at the stars in the night time sky. Sometimes they would ask me “Why did you run?”
I had that dream from age nine to seventeen, maybe three or four times a week. Why, I bet you, that if you counted all the minutes of all of those dreams, I bet you I have spent a solid two weeks of my life in that dream.
I did live once, when I was almost eighteen, I guess whoever was doing that to me thought they might try something new, and that time, when the cops turned the corner and started shooting I had reached to top of the wall, and I jumped to sounds of machine gun fire, but I was not hit, and I landed on the dry dessert ground below. On that one occasion, I had successfully run and escaped and it’s so funny, because I still remember it like it was real, like I had survived such a thing. I ran past the sagebrush and away from our floodlit border and into the darkness of a new life in Mexico. I remember how that felt, I was exhilarated, and all I had were the clothes on my back, and my life, but it was pure glory, for I was alive.
That dream stopped before I turned eighteen, but it changed. I always died, except that once, but after that time, I stopped running from the police and from then on I would fight them. That didn’t work very well, but I at least would tell them the truth so, they would know, and sometimes they would join me and together we would return to the city and in some theoretical sense, we would become the beginnings of what might have been a revolution. That final portion is quite astounding and you know, it means a lot. Of course, here I am overseas writing to you about revolution, it doesn’t sound so heroic, this time I made the wall, of course this is real life, not a dream, and I suppose things are different. In real life the cops don’t become revolutionaries, and the wrongly accused don’t go home. Though I suppose, I always could.
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