Dream Journal : The Attack on Happiness

April 25, 2017 2:45pm
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I was on a flight that was getting ready to takeoff, trying to assure my Mom over the phone that everything would be fine despite a crash that had happened recently with the same airline. The plane was actually transparent so we could see the sky as we began to takeoff, and then just as I reassured her that everything was fine and went to say my goodbyes before I lost my cell signal, it happened.

The crash was quick, and surprisingly without injury.

One minute we were looking up at the blue sky and the next we were back on the ground, a group of maybe twenty passengers trying to shuffle our way away from the wreckage – which was still falling from the sky – as quickly as possible.

I had been flying with the twins, so somebody soon called me over to a stroller that they had been pushing and showed me that the babies had survived ok, and told me to call right away to let everyone know that we were ok…

When my Mom answered the phone the second time, I could hear the news playing in the background and she was mostly in shock. I simply told her, “Yes, we were on the plane that just crashed. The babies are ok. I’m with a group of survivors and we’re trying to find shelter.”

I don’t think I heard a single word from the other end of the phone before I had to hang-up so that we could keep moving.

The accident had happened over downtown, so there was lots of debris and it was vital that we find someplace safe, however the more time that passed and the darker the sky got, I think we all started to get the feeling that something else was wrong here.

Pausing to sit and rest on a few park benches, we all talked about what had happened and that’s when a few people commented that they’d seen something flying towards the plane moments before we crashed. Considering the idea that whatever happened had somehow been deliberate, we pressed on and talked about heading to my apartment on the other side of town to take cover, though we never actually made it that far.

Disappearing into a tunnel that ran through one of the tall buildings, we began coming across other people that were also running. One man was very cautious and immediately pulled his gun on us, though his itchy trigger finger soon confirmed that it was actually empty and we were safe as we left him behind and ran in the opposite direction.

Inside an abandoned shopping mall, we came upon a stage that was setup for a rock band – instruments and all – so very much at random, one of the guys in our party jumped on stage and started belting out some old tune. Several of us soon joined in at a brief attempt to blow off some steam, with myself grabbing a guitar from an Elvis dummy that had been on the stage, and we played and made all sorts of noise until one of them finally appeared…

It took on a recognizable shape – one of a giant Bill Cosby, but made out of Legos – and its strength was quickly confirmed as it threw members of the audience around like nothing until I approached it … guitar still in hand … and saw it cringe as it heard the music that we were playing.

It reached out to grab the guitar from me, but then my other bandmates appeared over my shoulder and our collective music knocked it back. Then taking the offensive, we all swarmed it until it was nothing more than a pile of red and orange bricks.

Realizing that we might’ve stumbled onto a key to fight whatever these invaders were, we turned and headed back towards the city, walking carefully along the edge of the chaos until we came across sort of a makeshift hospital up in one of the tall towers. Thinking it would be safer for the babies, we went inside and found a small medical crew treating some people who had been injured, and left the twins in a soft-looking room away from all of the chaos.

This was also our first chance to catch up on what the rest of the world was seeing, and we watched as the news described the attack that was currently underway. Strange, blob-like creatures – in all colors and sizes, that could take the shape of just about anything – were falling from the sky.

A dozen of them had taken out a passenger jet trying to takeoff…

So far, resistance had been futile and the military was organizing their own attacks, but nothing had been successful … except for the strange reaction that we had just seen in the mall.

As we attempted to communicate this finding with anyone of authority, somehow the aliens knew and began to swarm the building we were in – entering through ducts and vents, and some even transferring themselves through the walls.

We fought back as many as we could before deciding that it was time to leave for higher ground, however as we ran down the corridor in retreat, I noticed that one of the babies had somehow been infected by one of the green blobs.

He otherwise seemed ok, so we just kept going.

Back outside again, we were destined to come up with a solution to defeat these invaders because the military’s attempts seemed ineffective at best, and through brainstorming several of us finally determined that it wasn’t the music, per se, that had quelled the beast, but our enthusiasm for the music that had disrupted its destruction, which is why we came to the conclusion that being in Florida, our best bet was to mobilize Disney’s cast members to put on their biggest smiles and win our alien invaders over with impeccable kindness in order to stand a chance at defeating these monsters.

The dream faded with a phone call to Disney devising a plan to have their cast members deliver pies to the enemy…

Dream Journal : Fear Journal

January 18, 2017 2:34pm
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I found myself apparently stuck in a time traveling loop.

It almost played back kind of like the movie Memento, but way more exciting and creative because it was in an adventure-like setting with wizards and warriors. Eventually I realized that the storyline was some sort of puzzle to solve, and each time I was on the right track, the story would reset and I’d have to do everything over again, but now knowing an additional step of the way that I needed to complete.

Although I’m fuzzy on most of the details, there was a lot of running and hiding from whoever was chasing me until finally one time when I reset I found myself as a different person altogether, which was when I realized that I must be making some sort of progress because I’d reached the limit to where the first person … who I thought was me … could progress in the story. Now watching the entire story unfold from a different perspective, I needed to figure out what that character’s role was in it so that I could move her storyline forward.

All I wanted to do was go home, but first I had to figure out how to get there…

* * * * * * * * * *

Staring up at a wireframe tower that climbed hundreds of feet into the air, for whatever reason – possibly “to work on the lights” – me and two friends needed to scale this gigantic tower all of the way to the top.

It was reminiscent of the Empire State Building, but not nearly as sturdy looking. More like a radio tower, but even taller.

My friends tried to convince me that we’d all be on safety harnesses so the height wasn’t a big deal, and they even “fell” in front of me a few feet off the ground to prove it, but all I could picture was myself scaling this tower to hundreds of feet in the air, and then looking down at the city below before losing my grip and falling to my death.

We had no experience doing this, yet they were both gung-ho about the prospect and how cool it would be from the top, yet all I could think about was falling.

* * * * * * * * * *

My wife and I were renewing our vows, and I was running incredibly late.

She had booked a ballroom at the top of this hotel overlooking the water very similar to where we first got married, however I was several landmasses away and needed to cover a lot of ground in order to get there.

This dream segment was also loosely tied into the previous one, in that if I wasn’t willing to climb that gigantic tower which would somehow help me get closer to my destination, my other option was to take a series of bridges that were entirely too close to the water’s surface. And traffic was at a near stand-still, so I just sat there in my car staring at the waves lapping dangerously close to the side of the road.

Eventually the first bridge was behind us and we stopped to grab lunch at Arby’s, which was a particularly bizarre choice both because A) who stops for lunch when they’re late to get married?!, and B) this was one weird Arby’s, with a menu that featured some sort of crab dip sandwich that I actually got because it looked intriguing, though I never ended up sitting down to try it.

While we were waiting for our food, I wandered off into a room on the side that was apparently a child’s bedroom filled with GI Joe-sized action figures. I played with a couple for a while, and then I tried to eat one, upon which I remembered that we were there for lunch, so I went back out into the dining room as I found one of Sara’s sisters – who was escorting me to the vow renewal – waiting, having already finished her food.

Back outside, I was riding in a very small car with Ted Danson! And he wanted to drive, so of course I let him – it seemed only fair because he had been wanting to drive earlier and I was happy to not have to deal with the remaining bridge that we still had to cross.

By the time we made it to the venue, my groomsmen – the guys who wanted me to climb up the crazy tall tower – were already dressed and waiting, though they didn’t seem too shocked about my late arrival. I took a second to admire the view, which did look impressive even with the ominous concrete bridges criss-crossing the water that we had taken to get there. Then I took my suit and disappeared to get ready myself.

And that was it. 😕

Dreaming Fact & Fiction

December 11, 2016 3:24pm
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I’ve always been kind of curious about dreams, hence for the past several years I’ve occasionally blogged the more memorable ones here for entertainment and posterity’s sake!

Last night I had a particularly interesting one, in that it was peppered with details that were both true and untrue – enough to lead me to wonder what exactly it is that makes up the content of our dreams … sometimes they’ll be completely fictional, sometimes an erie re-creation of past events, and every once in a while they’ll be like this one where fact and fiction seems to be sort of intertwined … and even more strangely enough, there were definitely a couple of moments where I knew that throughout my dream… 😕

I had returned to the auto parts warehouse where I used to work back in my hometown, and it was as if I was already working there again, but I also seemed ready to make my departure … again.

Walking into work one day, I found a note from the boss saying that I wasn’t supposed to keep personal items at work. It had been left in this upstairs second floor that the building had – which was true, however the part about getting in trouble was false.

The note had said that I could get my things – presumably some t-shirts and other clothes – from the manager who was holding them, but when I finally hunted him down, a bunch of my co-workers had gathered into sort of a dinner-type setting because they were all throwing this goodbye dinner for me.

This definitely didn’t happen, although the faces were all real!

What was particularly strange was that both old and newer employees alike were present – in reality, the warehouse got acquired by one of our competitors midway through my time there and some people left while other new faces joined – and yet here was a mix of both, though for some reason it sounded like somehow the original company had returned and managed to make a comeback.

At one point I found myself prompted to give a speech, and so I re-told a few anecdotes from working there through the years which everyone enjoyed, including a rousing story about the actual acquisition … which was booed, but then later applauded when I shared how the actual brand behind that company had still managed to survive.

Parts of this were actually true, in that the brand technically did survive and exists elsewhere today, though it no longer has nearly the presence in Michigan that it did before the acquisition. In fact, I even remember a few of my co-workers hoping that maybe someone else under the same brand would come in and “save us” from being acquired, but nothing ever came of that…

Eventually it was time for me to go, and I was packing up my things – which ended up being far more numerous than just a couple of stray t-shirts – though it was strange because around my desk were mementos from Florida, some rather personal from several girlfriends whom I certainly couldn’t have been dating all of at the same time! 😕

The references were real, and peculiar, and we’ll just leave it at that. 😛

As I was putting everything in bags, I started thinking about my future and about how instead of sticking around, maybe I should just hit the road and head back down to Tampa the very next day. Presumably there was some indecisiveness in my itinerary despite leaving my job up north, though the dream didn’t do much to elaborate.

I had vague recollections of a life that I once had down in Florida, but nothing definitive, and I think I thought that maybe once I got down to Tampa, more of those memories would come back to me.

This is a dream fragment that I have a lot, though admittedly not much as of recent – I’ll be back home, knowing that I used to live in Florida, but now I don’t … and I’m trying to put the pieces back together because I can’t quite remember how they fell apart and I had to go back home.

Mind you, none of this is factual, but I used to have nightmares about it for a long time – I think because moving was one of the most pivotal moments of my life.

The dream essentially faded away here, except for one other random fragment that was just too weird not to share because it involved somebody somehow flooding the warehouse – like an aquarium and we were all just swimming around underwater having a grand time until I finally had to come up for air because one of my children … it was unclear which one … was swimming with us, too, and he was having trouble and just needed to get flipped over!

While I was doing that, I had a pleasant chat with the manager who I’d worked with all of those years reflecting on everything that had transpired, so that was nice. 😉

And though I don’t recall a specific conversation that aligned with this one in the dream, I do remember leaving on a high note where he wished me luck and whatnot whereas it had taken many years for our working relationship to get to that point.

I guess it’s just both interesting and a bit odd to me to look at these subconscious, creative stories that happen inside of my own head and wonder how exactly they get put together in there … though now that I think about it, that’s how most of my creative work gets written, really. I either start with something outlandish and occasionally sprinkle in pieces of reality or maybe focus on a moment of truth, but then exaggerate it into a story that’s more funny or shocking or generally enjoyable than the original ever could’ve been on its own.

I’m not sure what the stats look like now, but I know that when I moved to Florida back in 2003 something like 700 people moved to the Sunshine State every single day. And as I sat there in my stately motel room, eating pizza and trying to write freelance articles for the newspaper that was now the polar opposite of the new world right outside of my motel door, it kind of blew my mind to think that in one form or another, there were another 699 people around the state – many of them right there with me in Tampa – who were going through the same thing!

So while the story itself wasn’t particularly unique, there were certainly bits and pieces that when blown a little out of proportion like any good humorist does make it a fun story to reflect back on, and so maybe that along with its significance in my life is why it seems to keep bubbling up time and time again while I’m trying to get a good night’s sleep, too.

And it makes me wonder if other creative folks find themselves dreaming like this as well. My wife, for example, says that she almost never dreams, which I’m about 95% sure isn’t just because she’s up every 2.5 hours to breastfeed the twins yet again! Despite all having the same general biological stuff on the inside, it tends to function a little differently for each of us … beyond that, though, there’s a reason why I’m a writer and not a biologist!

I did perform Dream On by Aerosmith in the talent show during my junior year of high school, so maybe that has something to do with it??? 😉

Dream Journal : Alien Invasion

November 23, 2016 1:04pm
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I was an astronaut sent with five of my companions on a very important mission.

It hadn’t been long since they had shown up, their gigantic ships hanging ominously in the sky but otherwise not yet giving any hint to their contents, and so that was my team’s job to try and figure out from above. We would launch into space to get a better view of the situation and try to determine the fate of mankind…

We were a tight-knit team that had been up together many times before, however with so much at stake there were suddenly many new voices in the control room which all wanted a say in how we were to do our job, which ultimately led to our downfall … quite literally.

I recall the argument being about something as seemingly innocent as where each of us would sit in our own craft.

Astronauts train for the very worst of conditions using the buddy system much like kids do in the swimming hole at summer camp, though it’s a much tighter bond because up in space we trust each other with our lives and in those emergency situations each pair of astronauts really needs to be able to function as one for our best chance at survival.

As such, it makes logical sense that we sit facing each other on takeoff … but the voices that be had other plans because one of them had made their own seating chart that they expected us to follow, and even after insisting that we ultimately followed the command of our captain, not the people back on the ground, time was of the essence and he eventually caved so that we could get to work.

The last thing I remembered was reaching that point where the sky was both blue and black at the same time, and then suddenly I was waking up from blacking out and we were all floating in the ocean.

My buddy, the captain, and I were the only ones that survived, and we were lucky to even make it out of the water because by the time the helicopter made it out to sea to rescue us, there was nothing behind for it to return to because they had taken our liftoff as a sign that it was time to strike. We sought refuge in an abandoned building as best we could, but as three astronauts without a ship we felt especially helpless to fight the situation at hand.

But astronauts above anything else are problem solvers, so our new problem became how we could find ourselves a new ship.

Dream Journal : Humor for Rent

October 10, 2016 11:26am
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I’ve always fantasized about making Just Laugh real by having an actual office and employees and whatnot, so this was a surprisingly fun dream to find that I had not only found an office to work out of, but also someone to share it with in our humor writing adventures!

Apparently the “space” that we had found was more of a spare room or two that we’d found in the unused wing of a local hospital that we’d somehow convinced them to let us use for cheap. 

VERY CHEAP!

For the most part we had the place to ourselves, though occasionally we’d hear doctors and nurses walking by our hallway late at night on their way out to the parking lot.

This became noticeable after being awoken one night overhearing them outside … because apparently I was single, so why wouldn’t I just sleep in this awesome place where I worked into the wee hours of the night to make humor for the masses, anyways?! 😉

Well, the next day i came in to find plastic draped everywhere because our wing was now under construction, and upon confronting the lady with the clipboard in charge, she made it clear that they were ready for us to go so that they could start using our space for actual hospital business again…

I argued that we had a lease, even though it literally had us paying something like $5/month or $50/month whereas the lady claimed that something closer to $5,000/month was what was fair for the space! Eventually the guy who our agreement was with showed up and sided with her, but said that if we really wanted to stay we should make a realistic offer for the space.

At one point he snickered that if we didn’t like the $5,000/month, maybe we could give them a percentage of our gross income, which even he knew sounded ridiculous … but that’s when my co-worker pulled me aside to point something out…

They didn’t actually know what our gross was – they just assumed that it was big because they saw us as this Internet company mooching off of them and not a couple of guys writing humor on the Internet and sleeping in our offices.

So I went back and told him that we’d do it for 1% of our gross, but there had to be some guarantees. Namely, we wanted it locked in for several years and if they wanted to reclaim our current space, they had to find us a better one – possibly over where they had some unused offices that had direct access and didn’t require walking through the hospital to get to them.

The guy snickered again because he thought he was pulling one over on us, whereas in reality we were just barely making enough money to pay for Hot Pockets and server fees and that was about it! We figured that 1% would actually be a decrease from the rent we were already paying, and if things really took off we could still handle it for a couple of years…

So in the end they fell for it and we got to move to an even better office that we stayed in until we were able to bring on two more people full-time. And even though the construction lady was being kind of a bitch, even she admitted that she read our site and thought we were really funny, so that was pretty satisfying, too. 🙂

It has been billed as The Ultimate Superhero Movie, meant to put viewers in the middle of the action like never before … and that was certainly an understatement, to say the least!

It started out like any other Marvel movie – we watched as Galactus slowly gained powers while the Avengers muddled about … a little 3D here, a bit of audience interaction there … until one way or another, the audience itself found ourselves all gaining mild superpowers – mostly limited flight or something non-threatening like that…

The battle started in some sort of mall and was a lot like the Spider-Man ride over at Universal Studios where Spider-Man keeps warning the guests to stay out of the way because it’s too dangerous. We seemed to spend most of our time flying around the area, dodging projectiles and trying to get a better vantage point to view what was happening on top of shelves or buildings or whatever they were. It was after the Avengers themselves were nearly defeated by Galactus that things really took a turn for the worse and we saw the ultimate angle that the show had been boasting about.

Our audience watched in awe as the theater itself seemed to open up into a much larger area that combined the audiences of several theaters together while we watched Galactus himself grow to the size of a small building before turning his attention to us and causing the audiences to run and scatter. Balloons fell from the ceiling, which we were told to pop in search of power-ups that could help us to defeat Galactus, though it was tough to focus on them because the giant would randomly pop up from behind the buildings that had appeared for us to take shelter behind, glaring down at us menacingly as we did whatever we could to avoid his gaze.

Occasionally if we were lucky enough to make it up to a rooftop, we could see the likes of Iron Man and Thor and Captain America planning a new assault on our foe, though it always seemed to fall short as he just continued growing larger and more powerful still…

At one point I actually found myself crawling underneath one of the buildings to evade detection, as the buildings in real life seemed to be inflatable like the decorations people put outside of their houses for Halloween and Christmas. Making my way to the back of the stadium, I frantically saw a corridor in the rafters and flew up high to take shelter in what appeared to be a storage area where a couple of other audience members had already taken refuge.

It was then that we all watched through the cracks as Galactus gathered his power into a laser that fired from his head in all directions at once, pretty much taking out every superhero around him as he slowly stormed out of the building, though we were lucky to miss his death rays on account of being all cowardly and hiding and whatnot!

Eventually as he disappeared into the distance, several of us decided to follow just to see what would happen next, commenting how the technology that enabled what we were watching was neat, however due to how expansive the arena was we really had no idea what the actual plot of the story was at that point because we weren’t always able to keep our eyes and ears on the main heroes on account of all of the running that we did ourselves.

In fact, when we finally reached the next area where the heroes had planned to confront Galactus one more time, by the time we arrived the entire scheme was actually in motion and although it looked like maybe some of the audience members were enlisted to help, it was still hard to tell.

What we thought was the last confrontation took place on a rooftop that I was able to fly up to see just as Iron Man was finishing shrinking Galactus down to a normal size and disassembling him, thus stripping him of his powers … though one way or another, Galactus enjoyed one last laugh as the heroes were celebrating their victory by emitting his rays one last time – now weak enough not to injure, but instead to strip the audience of the mild superpowers that they had gained at the beginning of the show.

…of course, the main heroes were able to avoid this blast…

The dream ended with masses of us walking back to where we first starting watching this epic movie, discussing both the highs and the lows, with just about everyone agreeing that it was definitely cool, though we all needed to watch it again in a normal theater to actually be able to follow along with the story that we had just participated in ourselves! 😕

Dream Journal : Best View Ever

June 20, 2016 2:44pm
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I had rented out office space in a really cool tower downtown to work on my writing, and had just shown up to do some work, however as I was getting settled I noticed some other people gathering in the shared space nearby, gazing out the window, so I went to see what was going on…

The most breathtaking view could be seen out the floor to ceiling windows of the skyscraper – a luscious display of gigantic mountain tops with a blanket of green forests at their feet and the clearest blue skies overhead. I never really made the connection why we saw these images that weren’t at all local to our area, at least until I took another step closer.

In addition to these amazing windows, the building also featured an observation deck that overlooked the same view … two long and curving walkways extended out from each end of the floor and eventually came together to meet in the center where we could climb up to experience the even more expansive view that was now impressively immersive. I stared in wonder and even took a few photos for online bragging purposes later, until my ear caught one lady who seemed to be curating the area and was explaining everything that we were seeing.

It seemed that the incredibly realistic scenery that we were now almost surrounded by, despite our offices being 50 feet away, was actually computer-generated. We couldn’t wait around to see it because they specifically only changed it up at night to avoid giving away the illusion, but the entire viewing area was surrounded by this sort of IMAX dome projection screen – but way higher resolution – and this woman could program it to show whatever she wanted … luscious mountainscapes, endless oceans, even the moon!

Eventually we all walked back down the dual walkways and disappeared into our own personal offices to toil away at whatever it was that we did there. It sure seemed like a hell of a bragging right for having found the perfect office space to inspire my creativity, though, that’s for sure!!!

Dream Journal : The Inescapable Maze

June 7, 2016 8:30pm
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It all started with me working another year at scout camp … reluctantly.

It had seemed clear after the previous year that I didn’t really want to return, and yet there I was, with the pitiful paycheck compared to the real world to prove it. There were a couple of upsides, though – for one, somehow my veteran staff member status had attracted me a fair number of fans, many of who came bearing gifts for me when they first arrived at camp, so that was cool!

And also, I had significantly nicer accommodations than ever before, in that my room was comparable to a suite at a nicer hotel, and I didn’t even have a roommate to share it with, so definitely a step up from the tents and even later cabins that I’d called home while I worked there before.

That said, it was still a really weird experience because everything at the camp I had once known had been redesigned and moved, and nobody could produce a map … well, one guy did, but it was literally a map of the USA, but divided into boxes, with each box being a campsite or area or dining hall or whatever. So it was basically useless, and I spent a lot of time just wandering around, trying to find my dinner because they’d also changed how everybody ate – instead of the staff eating with the campers, all of them got to go first … and the food was buffet-style in another room which I never did end up locating.

I did find the dessert tables and treated myself to a small piece of chocolate cake, but I never got around to eating it because I wanted the rest of my dinner first.

So one day it was announced that the staff was going on a trip – a bit of a team building exercise – and so we all boarded this futuristic-looking train and rode for hours and hours until I eventually started to get the feeling that something didn’t feel quite right. It was almost as if the scenery off in the distance around us was on some sort of loop, like it didn’t really exist in the first place, but before I could question it they suddenly announced that we had arrived as we approached this city that looked like it was having some sort of celebration…

In fact, right as we were passing over this pond on our way to the terminal, or so we thought, we saw a rocket that looked a lot like a missile launching out of the water that appeared to be aiming straight for us. Instead, it just sort of hovered next to the train before exploding overhead in a bunch of fireworks, but it still felt wrong because by now the train had stopped entirely and our host was walking down the aisle, asking if we were ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

It was then that I noticed the significant restraint system built into each of the chairs that we were all sitting in, and for some reason as I looked down at the water below us, I got the instinct that we were about to get dropped into it, which terrified me as I scrambled to buckle my harness as most of the people around us did the same while our host just sort of laughed at everyone before finally saying, “Good luck…” and then, she was gone.

Or we were gone, possibly, because despite everyone buckling in, we all soon found ourselves underwater anyways, fighting for survival as the group was presented with a couple of different paths that we could take … none of them being back up towards the surface.

After about twenty of us or so made it down one corridor and were eventually able to surface, we found ourselves staring at a large, brick wall blocking our path until suddenly we heard a great cackling and a very large, red man appeared … who bore a striking resemblance to Mon*Star from the old 80’s cartoon, Silverhawks.

*ahem*

It soon became clear that he was our adversary in this bizarre “adventure,” as he laughed maniacally and then proceeded to explain how part of our group had already perished. It seems that one of the paths that we hadn’t taken did indeed appear to lead to the surface, but before you could get there you had to climb a large staircase. Mon*Star then waved his hand and the brick wall behind him showed the illusion of a staircase. At the top of this staircase, he explained, our friends would find a special cache of weapons to aid in their escape, however ultimately they wouldn’t matter because in the time that it took everyone to figure out how to use them, his minions would’ve ripped everyone to shreds.

Mon*Star then waved his hand again and the illusionary staircase became an open corridor, to which he beckoned us to proceed and said something ominous before disappearing in a cloud of smoke.

Eager to get away from the treacherous waters before they presented any new dangers, we all ran forward down the corridor much like herded cattle until we ended up in what was very much a giant maze. Almost systematically, it seemed that our group thinned out smaller and smaller with each turn. Somehow I got separated off from the rest and wandered for a bit inconsequentially on my own before I eventually reconnected with some people who were all streaming seemingly towards a dead-end at the end of the hall.

When one of my friends saw me dipping back into line, they discretely patted me on the back, which was when I noticed the wings that everyone was now wearing and saw that my friend had donated an extra pair to me.

The line soon took another dark turn when suddenly our foe appeared again, this time cackling from above as he threatened, “I see you found the wings, but do you know how to use them?! Better learn quickly…” 

Suddenly the floor beneath our feet began to smoke and catch fire, with screams erupting throughout the crowd as many soon found that flying was more difficult than they would have anticipated. I was one of the few who escaped to the next floor of the maze where we oddly enough found a bit of assistance in the form of our favorite superheroes, each of whom were able to lend their powers to one individual if you touched them. I first encountered The Hulk and envisioned smashing Mon*Star through the wall and ending this sick, little game of his, but then after careful thought I came across another hero – The Mighty Thor – who seemed even more beefed up than usual as he handed me Mjölnir and then also offered to take me to “someplace that I might find interesting…”

Eager to put the famed hammer to use for flight purposes because my own wings had since vanished, I followed Thor out the window that looked much like that of a castle … surprised that this level of the maze even had windows … and then found myself on a landing one level up where we looked out onto the clouds, with many other castles poking through the sky just like the one that we stood on. Thor then explained that each was a separate level of the maze, featuring things that people would recognize from popular culture. All of the towers were linked by the maze, as I would soon find that in fact the level beneath us that was previously his realm could now be revisited to discover the lair of Mon*Star himself…

The God of Thunder then disappeared without another hint and I proceeded to hover back down, determined to end this bizarre dream, however as I hid behind one of the columns in the large hallway, even holding the mighty hammer still in my hand, one look at Mon*Star as he came walking down the hallway with his goons convinced me that I didn’t have what it took to down the evil beast … at least not yet.

Unfortunately, several of my companions who had found their way to Mon*Star’s lair on their own didn’t feel the same lack of confidence and proceeded to blitz the red armored creature from their own hiding spots, which quickly became an ugly bloodbath that I knew even my own participation wouldn’t have changed. I did, however, see an opportunity to explore more of Mon*Star’s lair while the others kept him occupied, and slipping away down the hall past the fray, only to discover a lightly guarded warp zone that the boss man himself used to transport himself to the far reaches of his maze.

After quickly throwing Mjölnir to dispatch the guards that stood nearby, I jumped inside as soon as I heard Mon*Star screaming in victory and went off to explore the rest of the maze in search of a weakness that I could use against him.

Dream Journal : Bad, Badder, Worst

May 21, 2016 2:50pm
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For whatever reason I had returned to my hometown and was walking down the small street where I grew up when I saw my neighbor walking with a younger girl who was frantically approaching mailboxes randomly and removing the contents.

This seemed weird, but not enough to stop and ask what was going on until I reached my own and found that it was full of loose change piled around the other mail. As I was counting it, the two walked up and that’s when I noticed that what the girl was carrying was a large envelope filled with change, along with upon further inspection a traffic ticket or something that carried a pretty hefty fine … of which the girl had tried to pay with change.

As I asked her why in the world she’d tried to mail so much coinage and didn’t instead just go down to the police station to pay the fine directly, she hinted somewhat scared that she didn’t have any other choice and that she was the victim of some new people on the block paying a prank on her…

And it wasn’t long before I would find out exactly who those new pranksters were…

…because apparently they were a gang.

The thugs had taken up residence in the house kiddie-corner to my own, and soon two of them had come out into the street to see what the fuss was about, causing my change-toting neighbor to bolt and leave me to fend for myself. It started with some verbal harassment, along with noticing the graffiti that they’d done to colorfully change the name on the mailbox as well as a couple of signs in the front yard for a business we were running.

I don’t know why, but I guess I had a feeling that a fight was going to erupt anyways, so despite my nature I threw the first punch and knocked one of the thugs on the ground.

The second guy honestly never really did much of anything except watch and egg his buddy on, who thankfully (and surprisingly) wasn’t much of a match for me! Although we struggled for a while, I always managed to keep the upper hand but it never slipped my mind that eventually more of this guy’s buddies were going to show up and that was going to be the end of it for me…

That said, somehow the struggle subsided and we ended up arguing some more that devolved into these thugs negotiating their bribes that they expected from us to get them to just leave us and everyone else in the neighborhood alone. Now we were back in their house and their demands were ridiculous – they wanted me to pay for a solar system to get them off the grid at their house, and I said no.

I countered saying that I’d give them an XBox or Playstation if they’d just drop it and let it go, around which time someone much more senior – possibly a father figure – arrived and sort of chuckled at the exchange before he put the fear back into me and confirmed that there would be no bargaining.

To show this, he pulled out a box cutter and began cutting up a section of the carpet, as if to show that the alternative was just to kill me right then and there, and roll my body up in the carpet before disposing of it out of sight.

The old man’s counter to me was that I was going to help them sell drugs, and although I had no idea how that was going to work, at the time it sounded better than getting rolled up in the carpet.

* * * * * * * * * *

Flash forward, but back in time – I lived in a society that was heavily monitored by … someone.

I found myself in a small camp that very much just felt like a normal state park, except that there were cameras attached to some of the buildings and whatnot and we all knew that we were constantly being watched.

I was sitting at a picnic table with my family just enjoying everyone’s company, and spirits were generally upbeat until I for some reason had to go back inside for a minute. Ducking to the side of the building, I was trying to time the camera so that I could sneak in unseen when this guy walked by and, noting what I was doing, he mentioned that he sold tools that people like myself could use to avoid being detected by the powers that be…

I didn’t quite know what this meant, but he didn’t give me much time to figure it out because suddenly he had to leave in a hurry and eventually I just went back inside, cameras be damned.

There I found another family meticulously counting a pile of coins that had been dumped on the table, and shortly after I entered another of them came in – presumably returning home from work – and deposited more change for the family to get to work counting. As I helped them stack a few rows, I commented that it seemed weird that only coins and not bills had survived because bills were so much easier to carry and use … only to be countered by one of the older women who simply explained that they didn’t pay us enough to warrant using any larger denominations anyway … as she continued carefully counting out the pennies as if their food and shelter depended on it.

And then … word got to me that I was being pursued.

I quickly said my goodbyes and took off running long before they showed up, disappearing into a nearby field that was filled with that very tall, iconic wheat that made it very easy to hide in. A couple of men approached on horses, however they proved to be friends – one of them handing off their horse to me and pointing me in the best direction while they took off in the opposite to hopefully slow down my hunters.

Eventually making my way through the fields, I came to a small town on the water where I was able to momentarily relax, and in my quick explorations I found an enemy tank that had been left by the side of the road and happened to be remote controlled.

Needless to say, I had some fun with this, using the remote to send the tank tearing off down the road until it accidentally got derailed on a bridge and just sort of stuck there blocking foot traffic.

That’s when they showed up again, and I was able to duck underneath a rail bridge just before it crossed a large body of water between two countries – myself running one way undetected while my pursuers could be seen through the slats above rapidly running the other way looking for me. I knew that all I had to do was get to the other side and somehow I would be safe, but with the bridge above me covered with troopers, that was going to involve a lot of swimming.

* * * * * * * * * *

And then in a very much unrelated tale, we were at Disneyland with Cleo trying to get around a parade route and somehow she ran off following one of the floats and ended up getting hit. A worker brought her back to us, pointing out that she had broken her back leg, and we were left trying to figure out what to do about it.

Dream Journal : Sirens’ Call

May 13, 2016 2:56pm
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We were vacationing at this really nice beach resort – the kind that boasted all sorts of activities along the beach like live music in the evenings and games and whatnot – so I was just lounging around enjoying listening to one of the acoustic guitar players when my ears perked up to hear another type of music that was playing further off in the distance…

Eventually the beach turned into a rocky area that was elevated up from the sand, but also very flat so that you could still walk on the rocks along the shore. There were a few people wandering off in this direction, though not nearly as many as on the beach itself, so I decided to do a little exploring and made my way along the rocks, the music – that of a saxophone player – growing louder as the other people grew fewer, until I was the only person left on this peninsula of rocks jutting out into the ocean, the source of the saxophone music nowhere to be found.

As the rocks seemed to transform into this series of caves, I pushed forward out of curiosity despite the feeling that it was getting more and more dangerous with every step. I soon found myself staring at sort of this puzzle within the rocks, almost like out of an Indiana Jones movie where much larger rocks now rolled back and forth, and you needed to time it just right to make it through the opening without getting crushed.

After waiting for a while and timing out the rocks, I finally decided to throw caution to the wind and went for it, ducking through the last opening to find myself in this bizarre cave that was made up very much like a house and just so happened to be filled with video games!

There I was greeted by three people that seemed nice enough, and they invited me to stay for a while and play some games because they didn’t get many visitors where they were. I browsed their gaming collection for a while that happened to span several walls until I noticed that all three of them were congregated in the kitchen … and something just didn’t feel quite right.

The three of them – a woman, a man, and a younger child – invited me to sit down for some food, but by then I was growing cautious and it quickly became clear that they knew this as well. It was when the youngest made reference of “having Chinese” the night before and witnessing the nearby pots that were filled with something not so much resembling chicken that my gut confirmed that these people were the real danger in this cave…

…because, in fact, they weren’t actually people at all!

I never did find out what they really were – I didn’t want to know – but seizing the opportunity, I first knocked the youngest one unconscious with a nearby pot and then struggled with the other two until I was able to subdue them and make my escape. Grabbing the towel that for some reason I had brought with me, I made my way back through the caves and along the beach until I returned quite frantically to the resort and tried to explain to my wife what had happened, though I think that she was even more confused at that point than I was!

We sat in sort of a ballroom area where other family was gathering for the next activity that we were going to do together, the whole time my eyes remained locked on the same door that I had come in, convinced that these things were chasing me and would eventually track me back to the resort. Admittedly I sort of freaked out when at one point I turned around to find that the ballroom had not just the one, but three open doors for my aliens to sneak through in their pursuit and I certainly couldn’t be watching all three of them at the same time.

For some reason, it was then that I pulled my wallet out of my back pocket and opened it up in shock to see that in my hasty retreat, I had somehow grabbed the wallet of one of their other victims instead of my own … meaning that they had all of my information at their fingertips, including my home address where I slept at night.

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