The Hellcat

Dream:  I was at my kitchen table reading the paper when I came across an article about a free lecture being given that night at a school near my house.  The article claimed that Paris (Texas) was being invaded by Hellcats and the lecturer would provide information to those who attend regarding what one should do in a Hellcat encounter.

I decided I needed to go to the lecture to find out more about the Hellcat threat so that evening I showed up at the school and was shown the way to the auditorium.

The room was packed but I found a seat in the fifth row while my fellow audience members chatted away.  A woman of Japanese descent, sitting in the third row, was fidgeting and kept turning from side to side, then looking over her shoulder as if she were scared of something or someone.  I leaned forward and asked, “Ma’am, are you alright?”

“I don’t know,” she said.  “I feel like … this isn’t a safe place.  Something’s not right.”

I wanted to help calm her nerves but didn’t quite know how to go about it in a crowded auditorium, so I offered her a piece of cinnamon gum, which she accepted graciously.

Finally a man wearing a pinstripe suit appeared on stage and demanded everyone’s attention.

He began to speak about a number of dangerous women who were living in Paris.

“These women call themselves Hellcats.  They’re some of the most dangerous people I’ve come across in the twenty years I spent in law enforcement.  They have no physical weapons, which is what makes them so dangerous!  Their weapon is magic!  We know of at least a half-dozen citizens who have been turned into tadpoles already.  The only way to avoid the transformation, once the spell has been cast, is to swallow a handful of flax seeds immediately after the witch utters her spell.   This is how they do it.”

I was stifling laughter as the former police officer took off his suit jacket and snapped and flailed it about – as if he were shooing flies off a picnic pie – to demonstrate how the Hellcats turn citizens into tadpoles.

I couldn’t hold my laughter in any longer.  I laughed so loud that it seemed to echo through the auditorium.  The Japanese-American woman, two rows in front of me, stood up and turned around.

“Don’t laugh!  Please don’t laugh,” she pleaded.  “I’ve had this dream before!  If you don’t stop he’ll…”  Then she turned around to face the speaker.  He stood behind the podium, enraged.  He reached over to a small table beside the podium and picked up a mallet and with a wide swinging motion he struck the gong behind him, which I hadn’t noticed until now.

The sound of the gong was deafening.  Everybody in the auditorium covered their ears and the woman who had warned me to stop laughing slumped into her chair like a rag doll.  The lights in the room lowered until I could barely see my hand in front of my face.

I stood up, preparing to escape the auditorium, when I noticed the air had become thick with fog.  I heard a train in the distance, turned around and realized I was outside – alone on a dark, deserted city street.  A few lamp posts lit the street, but the light was rather dim.  A figure moved out from the doorway of an old store across the street.  The figure was dressed in a long, black flowing gown with a tall, pointy black hat.  She slowly crossed the street, walking toward me, as I stood frozen in fear.

As she moved closer to me I noticed she was carrying a small, black kitten.  When I was able to make out her features, I spotted two warts – one on her chin and one on her upper lip.  She stopped, now standing directly in front of me.  I said nothing.

“Well?” she asked.

“Well what?” I replied.

“What do you have to say for yourself?”

“I have no earthly idea what just happened.”

“I have orders to turn you into a tadpole,” she said.

“What are my options?” I asked.

“I’ll spare you if you agree to be my slave for the next seven years.”

She seemed quite serious, but once again I was having to stifle my laughter until I could no longer contain it.

“How dare you laugh at me!” she exclaimed.

“You’re no witch!” I said, accusingly.

She took a step back, spreading her free arm to the side, showing me her costume in an attempt to prove her claim and intimidate me.  Then she began to recite some sort of magic spell, which sounded like gibberish.  I stood there and listened as she slowed down and stopped.

“I just have two more lines to go and you’ll be transformed!”

“Well, please continue.  Don’t let me stop you.”

She continued reciting gibberish – much slower than before.  It had already occurred to me that she was bluffing, so acting on my hunch, I reached for her face and grabbed the wart on her chin.  It fell right into my hand as she gasped in horror.  I quickly reached for her other wart.  They were both nothing more than putty.  Stage makeup!

Her voice trembled as she asked, “How did you know?”

“Because no respectable witch would dress like that unless they were going to a Halloween party.  You’re no witch!  You’re just part of the scam.”

I grabbed her by the wrist and informed her I was going to turn her over to the police.  She begged me to let her go and then showed me the ring on her finger, offering it to me as a bribe, if I would only let her go free.

“I’ve seen this ring before,” I said.

“Of course, you have!” she said proudly.  “I saw it in a vision.  Your mother showed it to me. I had it specially made.”

“That’s another lie!” I exclaimed.  “My mother wouldn’t have shown you that gaudy, bejeweled monstrosity!  She was a simple woman with simple tastes.  Just a few minutes ago you were trying to make me your indentured servant.  Now you’re trying to bribe me with visions of my mother and the ugliest ring I’ve ever seen.  What’s your game?  And what part does the guy giving the lecture play in all this?”

Just then the Japanese-American woman broke through the fog and started walking toward us. The so-called witch fell to the ground, moaning.

“Oh, stop faking a heart attack! I’m turning you in!”

The woman from the third row stood next to me as we both stood over the witch, watching her as she appeared to be writhing in pain.

“I don’t think she’s faking,” said the woman, “I think this is real. She’s been found out. She can’t hurt you anymore.”

“Who are you?”

“My name is Rose. I’ve been in your shoes. I had this dream before but I agreed to be her slave. I was scared. But in my dream she threatened to turn me into a toad. I didn’t have the nerve to stand up to her but I think you came better prepared.”

“Yeah, I think real life prepared me for this one. But what does it mean?”

“It means you’re free.”

She repeated the words, “you’re free” several times, as they trailed off into a faint echo.

End of dream

I awoke with a pain in my stomach – a pain I couldn’t identify and that worried me. For the next couple hours I worried about my stomach pain and finally decided to eat something.

The pain was hunger – a sensation I hadn’t experienced since early in November, in spite of having skipped between ten and twenty meals for every one consumed throughout most of that time.

I reckon I’m healing.

It’s about time!

White House Haunted by Cub Scouts

Posted in:  The Dreamy Side

I was in the kitchen preparing to make a cup of coffee.  I opened the sugar canister and found it was empty, except for a note in the bottom of the canister that said, “Turn on the radio.”

img_20170128_054412I went to the living room and turned on the radio just as the announcer said, “The Three Hissing Spinsters will return in just a moment.  In the meantime, are you out of sugar?  Do you refuse to drink your coffee without sugar?  Then hop on your bike and come on over to Dollar General where we have four-pound bags of sugar for $2.00 each … and don’t forget the milk!  The Three Hissing Spinsters shop at Dollar General every day, don’t you, ladies?”  A trio of hissing women confirmed the announcer’s query.

I put my backpack on and biked over to the Dollar General.  In the vacant lot next door to the store, a new billboard was being erected.  The Riddler, from the 60s television show, “Batman”, was shown on the billboard introducing “The Riddle Curriculum”, a new national plan being enforced by the Department of Education.  After reading all the details on the billboard, The Riddler turned 180 degrees and pointed at the store and the text on the billboard changed, announcing that more details about the new curriculum could be found inside.

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I walked inside, retrieved my milk and sugar, and at the end of the aisle was a cardboard display of The Riddler housing a stack of pamphlets touting the benefits of the new riddle curriculum.  The caption bubble over his head said, “Take one!”, so I took one and started reading.  The new plan, which was to be implemented at the start of the 2017-2018 school year, would require teachers to pose all questions on tests and worksheets in the form of riddles.  Likewise, all standardized tests would also follow the new curriculum.  The pamphlet claimed that the riddle curriculum would improve the I.Q. of students and in 20 years the majority of the population would have I.Q.s of over 140.

I left the store with my purchases and biked back home.  As I was walking my bike across the yard, the mailman walked up to me and handed me a letter.  “You better open it now,” he said.

Still standing in my front yard, I opened the letter, which said, “Something awful is happening at the White House!  Turn on your radio!”

I put my bike up, went inside and turned on the radio.

img_20170128_054636“It was reported this afternoon that the White House is being haunted by a pack of cub scouts,” said the reporter.  “One of the ghost scouts was reported to have grabbed and kicked President Trump.  The President is on the phone with the army now and it is suspected that martial law may be enforced.”

I listened to the news in a state of panic and decided it was my duty to find out who these cub scouts were and when they died.  I immediately started researching the newspaper archives in an attempt to identify the deceased cub scouts.  Only then, I concluded, would we find out what they wanted and perhaps find a way to appease them.

(End of dream)

The Titanic Meat Loaf Incident

Category:  The Dreamy Side – my unconscious adventures

img_20170119_071133Somebody had given me a little black kitten, which I had named “Barf Simpson” – even though she was a girl.  I had played with her for a while, showed her to her litter box and decided she needed some milk.

I was in the kitchen giving her a saucer of milk when she suddenly started scratching.

“I’ll bet your itchy because I haven’t dusted in a year or two,” I said.

I started dusting and the air became so thick with dust that Barfy shot out the back door and started running down the street.  I chased her for what seemed like a mile or two until I ended up in a part of town with which I was unfamiliar.

Iimg_20170119_071115 stopped in front of a popcorn factory called, “The Popcorn Palace”.  I looked through a window and watched the employees emptying a giant popcorn machine and bagging the popcorn on an assembly line.  Suddenly someone grabbed me from behind and took me inside.  I was taken to a room where I was told to “sit down and wait.  Big Pop wants to talk to you.”

Big Pop was a man in his 30s, dressed like a 1970s big city pimp.  “Why were you spying on us?” he asked.  “Are you working for the Kernel King?”

I assured Big Pop that I wasn’t a spy and that I had just been curious as to what they were doing with so much popcorn.  I explained to him that I had always hated the smell of popcorn and found the odor to be almost as offensive as an open sewer.

“Oh, that’s bad,” he said.  “That’s real bad.  We need to do something about that.  You got any ideas?”

img_20170119_074234“Meat loaf!” I exclaimed.  “I make the best meat loaf!  We’ll set up a little kitchen in the back and make meat loaf.  We can direct the smell out to the street through vents to counter the popcorn smell.”

Big Pop was impressed by my idea and hired me on the spot.  I went to work making so much meatloaf that the employees were soon tired of it and had gone back to brown-bagging their lunches.  So Big Pop opened up a meatloaf and popcorn restaurant so that we could profit off of both products.

The Meatloaf and Popcorn Depot was a success.  People came from all over the state of Texas to dine with us.  We had received a lot of publicity, but Big Pop wanted to do something big to take advantage of all the free publicity we were getting.

“I know!  I’ll make the world’s largest meat loaf!” I suggested.  “We’ll call the Guinness Book of World Records and we’ll be known all over the world!”

We went to work making the world’s largest meat loaf, to which we had given the name, “Titanic”.  Once completed, we suspended the Titanic on a platform hanging from the ceiling, but it was too heavy and everyone watched in horror as the meat loaf came crashing down, crushing several employees.

“We have to save them!” I yelled.  “Everyone grab a fork!”

Employees, vendors and strangers off the street all came in to help eat the giant meat loaf.  Local news stations reported the event and asked that people bring forks and appetites to lend a hand in the aftermath.  Within hours we had saved the lives of the five employees who had been crushed by the Titanic.

breaking-news

Business boomed even more so after the Titanic tragedy.  We didn’t make it into the Guinness Book of World Records, but we did make international headlines.  The restaurant was renamed “The Titanic Diner” and we created two new menu items – the first, “The Titanic Special” – a platter-sized meat loaf, which was accompanied by the slogan, “It never killed a soul” and the second, “The Tip of the Iceberg” – essentially a fancy snow cone served in a glass banana split boat.

The dream ended with me busily serving customers at the diner and being hailed as a hero for my quick thinking and hearty appetite.  It occurred to me after awaking that I never did find Barf Simpson.

The Shapeshifter

Introducing a new category: The Dreamy Side

I normally write stories based on my own thoughts and experiences.  The following story, however, is fiction to the extent that it never happened, but it is an accurate recording of a series of dreams I had recently.  Some of the people in this dream exist in real life, so the names have been changed to protect the innocent and oblivious. Although I believe that our dreams are often a means for our subconscious minds to show what our conscious minds have been missing, I also believe that some dreams are just plain weird and too fantastic to be taken literally … as is the case with this dream.

The Shapeshifter

The room I had just entered was quite large, housing several long tables, all scattered with books, some lying open and some stacked.  Tall book shelves lined the walls and several more shelves had been added to display the overflow of books.

I walked about one-third of the length of this massive room and stopped at a very large, perfectly square table.  Seated on the other side of the table was the woman I had come to see – a psychic who I had been referred to by a friend – in hopes that she could help me to understand some recent interactions with my ex-girlfriend, Bella.  She was dressed in a drab-colored, loose-fitting dress and was quite eccentric in both appearance and behavior.  She bore a strong resemblance, if not an exact resemblance, to Helen Roper, the sexually frustrated wife of Stanley Roper, from the 70s and 80s sitcom, “Three’s Company”.

I don’t remember whether or not we introduced ourselves or whether we may have met on some previous occasion, but I did not know her well.  I had been instructed to meet her at this location – her private library – and to bring copies of the private messages Bella and I exchanged.

I stood opposite her at the big, square table, where she was busy studying a mysterious-looking book.  I gazed around the room, taking in all of the many curiosities scattered about the room, including the old freestanding globe in one corner, old dusty knickknacks and the thousands of old and new books on shelves and piled high on every available flat surface.

“Did you bring the messages?” she asked, breaking the dead silence and giving me a start.

“Oh, yes,” I said, handing her a manilla envelope which contained about 200 pages of online correspondence between Bella and me.

“And how long has it been since communication was ceased?”

“We haven’t spoken at all since December 20th and only had a few short interactions between late October and the 20th of December.  After a month of silence we had several online interactions … one a week for about three or four weeks.  I managed to get a paragraph or two of information from her, all total.”

The psychic thumbed through the pages for a moment and without looking up, she stated very stoically, “Come back in three days.  I should have something for you by then.”

“Three days!” I exclaimed.  “Why so long?”

“I’ll need at least one day to read this massive amount of correspondence you brought, another day to pray and the third day to meditate.”. After a brief pause, she continued, “Come back in three days.”

I left the psychic’s library and as I was walking past an ice cream parlor, I noticed my friend Kate inside, reading a book and sipping on a malt.  I back-tracked, went inside, ordered a hot fudge sundae and sat down with Kate.

“I’m glad to see you,” she said.  “How did it go with my psychic?”

“She told me to come back in three days and then we’d discuss things.  She didn’t ask many questions.  I’m not even sure if she’s aware of why I went to her.”

“She doesn’t ask a lot of questions.  Her guides will lead her and she’ll tell you what you need to know.  Besides, I told her a little about your story when I told her about you.  I told her that Bella doesn’t have much time and that you felt like there was something she wasn’t telling you.”

“Well, I sure hope she’s good.  I don’t want a repeat of that experience when I consulted with those empaths.”

“Well, she’ll figure it out.  She’s good!  She’s kind of strange, but she’s good.”

“Yeah, what’s up with that anyway?  She looks like Mrs. Roper from three’s Company.”

“I noticed that too, but I really don’t know her that well.  I know she has a black cat named Smokescreen and a lizard named Firecracker, but that’s about all I know about her personal life.”

Three days later I returned to Kate’s psychic.  She was at the square table again, scribbling something down in a notebook when I walked through the door.  She didn’t even bother to look up to see who had entered when she said, “Lock the door behind you and come in.”

I locked the door and walked slowly to the table, listening to the floor boards creak with each step.  The room was unusually dark, except for a candle she was using to write by.  I sat down at the table and waited for her to finish.

After several minutes of silence, still scribbling in her notebook, she said, “Bella loves you, you know…”

“I’m probably wrong for coming here. I’m probably just wasting your time. My intuition isn’t very reliable and…”

Helen held up her free hand, motioning for me to be silent.  “I didn’t say you were wrong,” she said.  “I simply said she loves you.”

I resisted the temptation to ask her to clarify, hoping she would get around to offering an explanation.  The air of mystery she exuded was rather intimidating.

“Kate told me you had a gut feeling.  You feel like you only have half the story.”

“That’s right,” I said.

“I want you to take a look at this book.”. She opened up a book and slid it across the table.  “Both pages,” she said.

I looked at the right page first.  At the top of the page, in bold print, was the heading, “Shapeshifter”.  I glanced at the left page which bore the heading, “Bondi”.

“Are you saying she’s a shapeshifter?  Like she transforms into a wolf or something?”

“Just read,” she said.

I awoke while reading about shapeshifters.  I never had the chance to read about the “Bondi”.  I told a friend about the dream and she said that the shapeshifter reference could mean that “Bella” was not what she seems, or that there could be a side to her of which I’m not aware.  We were both clueless as to the meaning of the word “Bondi”.  I looked up the word online.  Besides being a beach in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, the term “bondie”, according to the Urban Dictionary, is a person who shows up at a party empty-handed and exhausts the party of its resources and the party-goers of their patience.  The next night, in a rare revisitation to the same dream as the previous night, I returned to the library table, sitting across from the Mrs. Roper look-alike.

“She can’t be a shapeshifter,” I said. “That’s impossible! I mean, shapeshifters are a product of science fiction. They don’t…”

The psychic held up her hand, took a deep breath and picked up her glass of water, setting it in the center of the table. “What’s this?” she asked.

“It’s your water.”

“A liquid?” she asked?

“Yes.”

She then picked up a glass, half-full of ice cubes, sat it in the center of the table and asked, “What’s this?”

“Ice,” I replied.

“A solid?’

“Yes.”

“What has to happen to turn this liquid into this solid?”

“It has to be frozen.”

“And to turn this solid into this liquid?” she asked, holding the glass of ice cubes.

“The temperature has to get above 32 degrees Fahrenheit.”

“So would it be fair to say that energy would be required for this process to take place – to turn a liquid into a solid or a solid into a liquid?”

“Oh, I see what you’re saying … I think…”

“Energy changes us. Good energy, bad energy – it all changes us. Bella loves you, but she has a dark side.”

“We all have a dark side. I mean, even I…”

Your dark side has a common name,” she interrupted. “You carry the weight of the world and the weight of your past on your shoulders. Your dark side, my dear, is called depression. Bella’s isn’t so easily defined.”

“I don’t really understand what you’re getting at.”

“Bella is an empath. She soaks up energy. She can’t help it. Some of that energy is good, some of it is bad.”

“I get that,” I said.

“Do you remember in the beginning of your relationship when Bella told you that you’re a good soul – the best person she ever met? And she wanted to be a better person … for your sake?”

“Yeah, I remember.”

“She truly loved you, but she thought she was unworthy. After her heart attack she pushed you away … for your own protection.”

“I don’t get it.”

“She wanted you, but she wanted everything … everything you have.”

“But I don’t have much at all. She knew that. I’m not well off … I’m not even comfortable…”

“Listen to my words! She wanted everything!

“I’m afraid I still don’t…”

Goodness gracious!” she exclaimed, as she banged the table with her fist. “How are you not getting this? Your soul! Your source of energy! She wanted your soul!