My dreams keep feeling weirder and weirder. Tonight I slapped the shit out of a heavily pregnant woman. She and I were both patrons at an Applebee’s-type restaurant atop David Lettermen’s studio in midtown. I was dining with my eight year-old niece, who incidentally came to visit me this past summer but who lives a thousand miles away.
I was eating. The other lady was eating. Out of the blue, there was a verbal back and forth between us that got progressively heated. Suddenly, and in a true sign that this was a dream, I unleashed the most diabolical insult I could think of at the perfect time on the perfect person. The whole room responded to my insult the way an audience does when a comedian hilariously insults the blind, deaf, mute person in the front row at the comedy show. OMG, you shouldn’t laugh, but you’re bursting at the seams trying to hold it in.
Sensing the fortuitousness of my moment and not wanting to push it, I grabbed my niece and headed for the door. But that wasn’t the end of it. The woman was humiliated. She was with a cadre of ‘hood folks, each one more ghetto looking than the next. She couldn’t get insulted like that and just let it slide. So she followed me down a spiral staircase and all the way to the front door.
This part of the dream must’ve been silent or something because I don’t remember what she said to me. But I do remember me swinging around with all my might and fury and letting my open palm hit her face so fiercely, so swiftly, and so friggin’ loudly that the room went into what I like to call the “silent shiiiiiiiit.” You know that moment. It’s when something around you happens that’s so simultaneously unusual, entertaining and unbelievable that you want to look around to see if everyone’s seeing what you’re seeing; only you can’t tear your eyes away from the scene to check. Instead, you let out a low shiiiiiiiit to underscore the moment; not too loud, though. You need to hear what happens next.
Well, that’s what this room did. A silent shiiiiiiiit.
As soon as I hit the lady I knew I was in trouble. The look on her face was one part shock and two parts revenge seeking. I could tell she didn’t want to fight me. She’d just wanted to save face in front of her crew. But I’d done the unthinkable in a room full of people. Fighting me wouldn’t be her best option. Getting me arrested would.
Naturally, my mind raced. Somewhere in the flurry of insults, I’d given my first name. (Rookie mistake.) I also realized I was with other people. Not, like, other people in the room. I mean other people in my dining party. (Where’d they come from?) I was cool with these folks, but they weren’t exactly ride or die.
So, pulling my niece’s hand behind me, I ran out onto Broadway hoping an empty cab would be rolling by. None were. The matinee theatre shows were letting out and there were taxi lines everywhere. I knew no taxi would break the line to come get me, especially with my panicked expression, wildly waving arm, and child in tow.
I decide to hoof it to Central Park. I needed to get lost in a crowd.
Once I hit the south end of the part, the whole dream took on a “Law & Order” kind of vibe. Dark, gritty, tense. It was the first scene of an episode when the random bystander stumbles upon the crime scene. Somehow my dining party and niece were gone as if they’d never been there.
Like a good, smart criminal, I took off my jacket and baseball cap and threw them in a hooded garbage can. In case the restaurant had called the cops, I didn’t want to be recognizable. I was on the run!
By this point in the dream, I was aware that I was having a dream. It was like watching a movie that I starred in. I swear I was fifteen pounds smaller. I was so aware of the dream, in fact, that I wasn’t really sleeping anymore. My increasingly awake self was trying to help my dreaming, unconscious self get away with my crime. I was kinda hyped that I’d had the balls to hit the lady, pregnancy be damned. The only thing I was ashamed of was having done it in front of my impressionable niece…who never reappeared in the dream, by the way. I think I wished her presence away from the whole thing.
Anyway, I kept trying to fall deeper into my sleep so that the dream would continue. I really wanted to see what would happen next. Unfortunately, the more I tried to do anything—continue to sleep, manipulate my actions in the dream, question the strangeness of things (like me in a baseball cap)—the more I realized I was starting to wake up.
And here we are at 4:36am with me sitting here wondering if I would’ve gotten away. Probably not. New York City has cameras everywhere. And the lady I slapped seemed like the type to take this all the way to the Supreme Court.
But I find it interesting that my first thoughts upon waking were ALL fixed on what I could’ve done to cover my tracks. Is there a way to fake an evil twin? Or an alibi: is there a way to change the time on a toll receipt? Who do I know that would swear I was with them all afternoon in another part of town? And how can I prove it?
This went on for several minutes. My heart’s still racing a little bit with anxiety.
Curled around my laptop in the dark when I ought to be sleeping makes me feel a lot like Cliff Huxtable when he ate that late-night sausage hoagie and dreamt he birthed a navy boat and a bottle of orange soda. But I have to admit that I’m hoping one of these dreams sparks the beginning of a fantastic long-form story that will give me a Stephanie Meyer’s moment. Her books are shit, but damn, I wouldn’t mind the success.