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R. D. Kimball
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skewerthedream.jpg
Art by Lee Kuruganti 2011

Skewer The Dream People

 

by

 

R.D. Kimball

 

 

At night, I dream of screwdrivers. Great, monstrous screwdrivers, sharp and inconsolable, they lumber toward me, wheezing in their murderous intent.

It wasn't always this way. There were many dreams, before.

White walls, white rooms, and everything was white. An entire universe made out of cotton balls and paper Dixie cups. Even the people were white, white-faced and mild-tempered in white-starched uniforms. (I shouldn't call them people, they aren't real people, real people aren't white, these are just wild whiteness monsters all bottled up in people-skin. Slavers, that's all they are, they keep you around the white places with pills. The pills, the pills are white.)

I might have forgotten colors then, had it not been for my own self. The me in this strange snow palace was a half-eaten Easter Bunny, a single splotch of dark in a pillowcase world. I even imagined myself melting. "A Hershey bar self-liquefies and slides from room to room and stains the whole damn place. Brown like me, brown like me."

Nighttime was different. It started with a paper Dixie cup with two little white pills in it to swallow. Lights out and it was all black then, escape from the white-on-white. It was nighttime when the dream people came.

I knew right away that these were the true people, the ones who came disguised as dreams. I knew it because they whispered true things to me. The whiteness ignores truth; it wants you to forget the truth because the truth can be something that it calls "disruptive." White wants to forget what you did, who you are, but the dream people didn't want that. They made me remember things I wanted to un-remember so bad.

They came night after night. They were many colors, they flashed and strobed and blued and rainbowed in my eyes. They liked to mock me. They thought they were better than me. Murderer, they chanted, Murderer and Sister-Raper. And that last part is a lie or at least it is mostly, and when they said it, I decided to kill those dream people.

They're hard to catch, dream people. Try, ever try and corner a dream-man? They just turn to dust on you, or butterflies, or else you'll get your hands around their throat and next thing, you're a Captain in the Spanish Civil War and you don't even know Spanish. That's what I found out about 'em. They twist and move and make you so mad you just want to kill over and over and then you wake up and everything is fucking white.

The key is, I found, to know that you are dreaming when you're dealing with the dream people. Lucid Dreaming, they called it in Group. Those white-starched folks gather us splotches together once a week to talk about our splotchiness, and usually I just nod there and think of it as a break from the white but that one time I just started talking about bad dreams. Try Lucid Dreaming, they said, just be aware of it and you'll be in control. But us half-eaten Hersheys, we aren't much good for Lucid Waking, and Lucid Anything takes practice. So it took me another month and a half before I finally caught up with the dream people.

"You're the dream people," I told them.

You're the Murderer/Sister-Raper, they told me back.

And then we were in my shed where all of it happened, and I laughed. Well, they made me remember it, so I made them live it. Just like with her it was first ropes, then pliers. Saws came after that and then finally it was the screwdriver, which I had made special myself. It was a Phillips-Head but I'd sharpened the end down so it was just a sliver of a thing. I'd made it for the eyes.

I took them out slow.

The last dream-man stopped twitching, and his dream-blood was all over my hands. And then I woke up, and it was all white again. (Dream-blood goes away in the white.) They had to give me more pills that morning because I just kept laughing and laughing and couldn't stop and they didn't know why. I couldn't tell them how I had beaten the dream-people. White-people just don't understand about dreams.

Now, it's normal again. White-white-motherfucking white.

But sometimes the white things are better. The white things will let you forget. And they give you all the pills and pillowcases you can eat. It builds you up some, makes you important, being a splotch in a white-world. Now, everything is even. Everything is solid and pure and purposeful.

But nighttime, nighttime is different. They turn out the lights and it's all black, and then those white pills kick in and I dream, endlessly, of screwdrivers.

 

 

 

R.D. Kimball is a religious scholar, a Hawaiian shirt enthusiast, and one hell of a model American. His short stories and poems have appeared online and in print, in places like decomP and The Red Cedar Review. He enjoys fishing, black coffee, well-stocked haberdasheries, vinyl records, and a good cigar. He lives in Portland, Oregon. Online, you can find him at http://curiousorthodoxy.wordpress.com

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