I haven’t been getting enough sleep this week, and today I started to feel sick–a little cough, sore throat, sinus pressure, haziness. So I took a nap.
As I slept, I dreamed.
In the first dream, I got Chris Dotson to help me build an awesome computer on the cheap for Ben. Chris is the son of an old friend of my dad’s. He’s several years older than me, and I always thought he was cool for that reason. Plus, he knows his stuff when it comes to computers–he used to call companies like IBM when he was troubleshooting a problem, and they knew him by name. I don’t know if he still does that, or if they still know him, but I always thought that was awesome.
I don’t know why I didn’t just get Sean to help me make a computer for Ben, but that thought apparently never occurred to me in the dream.
The computer we built was neat, and weird. It had five flat panel monitors, and they were arrayed in a half-circle–two of them lined up next to each other, then one right between them at a 90° angle, and the other two coming out at the 45° angles. The monitors were connected to each other by plastic spokes, and the monitors coming out towards the user were double-sided, so their picture could be seen from the left or the right.
There were these small round things with blue and green lights–not LEDs, but almost opaque plastic–on top of each monitor, and I remember thinking they looked like USB hubs. There was also a bag with five webcam and microphone sets on it. I remember trying to explain to AJ why exactly this computer was cool, and I said, “Now we can call anyone we want to anywhere from Ben’s computer for free!” (This part of my dream obviously came from A9.com, which I had been messing with right before I took my nap. Check out their new Yellow Pages, and you’ll see what I mean.)
After that, I was hanging out for lunch at a university. It might have been UK; I’m not sure. There was something like a jungle gym there, and people in their twenties and thirties were casually lounging around on it. Chris Dotson came there to hang out. There was a guy who he obviously knew who was in a bad mood, so Chris took it upon himself to cheer the guy up enough to smile–mostly by teasing the hell out of him. I don’t know if Chris acts like that in real life or not.
After he’d finished helping his friend’s mood, Chris revealed that he was actually in need of some cheering up himself. “Meal time has been replaced by pagan time,” he said bitterly, and went into a rant about his father’s new wife, and how she uses every opportunity to preach her pagan/occult beliefs. (I don’t know that his father actually has a new wife. I think this was just a dream thing.) From his impassioned speech, I got the impression that Chris’ Christian beliefs were affronted daily, but that he could do nothing about it out of respect for his father. (I don’t even know if Chris is Christian in real life.) I recognized how tormenting this must be, and I gave him a big hug.
At this point, something happened to where I was on a quest. (I had been reading The Illearth War immediately before I napped–almost to the end.) There is more to this, but I can’t remember the details. Ghosts of what I dreamt keep playing at the edges of my mind, but I can’t seem to grasp them.
Somehow I ended up at a gate at an airport. It was a secluded area, accessible by a bank of escalators that led back down to the main airport. Chris was there, as well as various other people. As we waited for whatever we were waiting for, suddenly terrorists started coming up the escalators.
They weren’t turban-wearing, robed, bearded Middle Easterners. They were, for lack of a better term, “white people”. Some of them might have had some “foreign” features, but nothing that really made them stand out.
I don’t really remember what they started doing. I think they were threatening us with something. But we fought back. I remember vividly kicking one of them back down the escalator.
After that encounter, I was loath to move out of a fighting stance. Duncan Fraser showed up, and at first some of the others at the gate were suspicious of him. They engaged in an extraordinarily brief fight that left Duncan in a low stance, with someone’s ridgehands (hands held flat in the “karate chop” position) dangerously trapping his groin.
“Okay, can I get up now?” he said humorously, looking up at everyone. I think the guy with the ridgehands was Eric Thigpen, another old kung fu classmate. They let Duncan get up and he joined us in the watch for terrorists.
Shortly thereafter I saw a line of men wearing airport uniforms, with large gold medallions that said “United” on them. I knew immediately that they were terrorists, even though they too were “white”. Watching them ride stiffly up the escalator, I shifted into an inapparent stance, trying not to tip them off, but I was already moving to intercept them.
One of them said, “James,” and raised his white umbrella.
I instinctively knew that those umbrellas contained some kind of lethal chemical gas or powder. I took a breath and held it as I moved forward to try to attack.
I must have really held my breath, though, because this woke me up.
As I awoke I remember thinking that it had been too long since I was in kung fu, that I was rusty, and that though I had been able to kick that one terrorist down the stairs, that was more luck than anything else. I remember thinking that I needed to train.