Jean Kirkpatrick Is Asking Me Something

A psychiatrist asked me to tell her my dreams, and, because I wasn’t paying for this, I made them up on the spot:

  1. I’m walking about with a Wiley Coyote hole in my abdomen from a shotgun blast… courtesy of the shotgun my father is carrying around.
  2. A fall into the Seine panics me because of the untreated sewage, but I feel better once I realize it’s ink, and I immediately inhale.
  3. Using a trowel–

But it was unecessary to continue. I was quickly prescribed, if not a little pouty because I was going to work in a reference to the Prince of Wales in the banquet section of a Lyon’s restaurant. Only drug dealers sit back there, man.

So, sure. Within a few months, I started dreaming the dreams I manufactured for the psychiatrist. I chortled nervously through them, unwilling to tell all the characters that I had conceived of them earlier and that the tableau was so very contrived. I thought they might… turn on me for breaking a basic dream rule of always being in the passenger seat of one’s unreality.

Years later, I learned that this was a good thing: lucid dreaming. Enlightened dreamers kept encouraging me to establish a threshold of consciousness in the dream by doing something ordinary like checking my watch. If the watch is a rhino, for example, chances are one is afloat. I tried this once, having decided that my threshold would be opening any red door. The doorknob, perfectly formed in brushed aluminum, felt like a *human finger*. The revulsion I felt rocketed me into a state of wakefulness that rather instantly culminated with me leaving the bed, running downstairs, charging through the kitchen, ejecting out the back door into the winter night so I could shudder and watch my breath shoot across the yard in a column of frost.

Sometimes I think I’m still dreaming that dream, and in a blink I’ll be back on the tufted leather sizing up that nut with the prescription pad. I’ll leave with a discreet envelope of product designed to carry me until a pharmacist can fulfill a greater order. I’ll immediately go to a phone to confirm that a small sale can be negotiated now.

I’ll keep the details in my head.


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