My entire life has led to this moment.
I’m sitting on a stool in the study of Professor Charles Xavier. I’m decked out in a blue and yellow leather outfit and seated next to me are Storm, Wolverine, Angel, and Beast. The X-Men.
I’ve dreamt of this for so long! Now I’m on the team and we’re about to take on our first mission. Wolverine starts going over the details:
“Okay everyone, let’s go over this mission.* Storm, you create fog to cover our movements. Angel, you drop Beast over the fence, while I cut a hole through the bottom. Together, we’ll take down this Sentinel factory! And before I forget, our newest member, Timmy, is coming with us on this one. He’s going to…”
Then Wolverine turns to me.
“Hey, what is your power, anyways?”
“I…I have the power to…I don’t know.”
Wolverine and Storm look at me, then shrug.
And then I wake up.
No explanation needed here.
Dreams are assholes.
*The wooden and overly expository dialogue is exactly how they spoke in my dream, it’s not because I don’t know how to write (hopefully).
I am Superman. I have the costume, the cool haircut, and everything else. I am Superman.
And I’m fighting a big gorilla. He is PISSED, too. All the chest beating, all the fangs-baring, all the “ooh ooh ooh OOH OOH AAAHHH!” sounds, the whole nine yards.
This is a knock-down drag-out fight too, but not like those crappy UFC fights where they just hump eachother’s legs on the ground for twenty minutes. This is like if Godzilla and Gamera were in the fight from They Live.
Actually, it’s exactly like if Superman and a big gorilla were in the fight from They Live.
So we battle it out for a good long while, and I eventually subdue the gorilla with an uppercut to the stomach, pick him up over my head, and jam him into a little metal garbage can. His head is down in there, but his gorilla arms and legs are just kind of sticking out of the can willy-nilly. Doesn’t matter. I am victorious.
A few years later, we fight again. Same alley, same moves, and the fight ends the exact same way except now I throw the gorilla into one of those big Rubbermaid trash cans.
A few years after that, I throw him into a dumpster.
A few more years later, it’s a landfill.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? I get that it’s a recurring dream, but I have shit to do, man! Why should I have to spend my time thinking about the “Riddle of The Ever-Changing Gorilla Disposal Method” from something that happened while I was asleep?
Oh. I know why.
Because dreams are assholes.
I’m six or seven years old, and my brother Joe and my Dad and my Uncle Mark and I are driving in a brown station wagon somewhere along the Northern California seaside. The waves are crashing against the rocks, and the canyon we’re driving above affords breathtaking views of the ocean and the setting sun. It is really beautiful.
Just when things couldn’t get any more perfect, we come upon a fair on the beach. Delightful pinstriped tents dot the sand, each one containing games, toys and candy. A fun little roller coaster encircles this tiny village of delight. This has really turned out to be one of the best road trips ever! Uncle Mark is even here! He never comes along.
That’s when the fifty-foot Charlie Chaplin shows up and destroys everything. He waddles over the mountains, slamming his foot down on the roller coaster. He silently twitches his terrifying little mustache as he does one of those somersaults he always does, crushing entire families and destroying the fair. The perfection of the white sandy beach is blemished by splintered tent poles and pools of blood.
Dad guns the station wagon and we tear off down the highway. Our escape is in hand. I breath a sigh of relief and then make my biggest mistake: I look in the rearview mirror.
He’s twirling his cane.
Any remaining signs of life are decimated by the gigantic Little Tramp’s vaudevillian cane. Ponies and carnies fly through the air as he casually bats away their lives. The terror is only made worse by his deafening silent gaze and his horrible little mustache.
The fair is in ruins, and Mega-Chaplin finds a new prey: our brown station wagon. Dad guns it as Uncle Mark and Joe start screaming. I’m not screaming at all; my throat is paralyzed. The highway ahead of us stretches into an impossibly steep hill without warning. There’s no way the brown station wagon can make it up there. We’re doomed.
Chaplin waddles. The cane twirls. The mustache twitches. Death approaches.
And that’s when I wake up.
What the fuck was that all about? Why was this dream so scary? Did I enjoy being terrified in my sleep? No! Did I learn anything? No! Did I ever watch a Charlie Chaplin movie again? No!
And did I mention the whole thing was in black and white too?
Why was this so scary?!? What’s the purpose? Why can’t dreams just be nice?
Because dreams are assholes.