For a long time I didn’t dream much, or at least I didn’t remember the dreams I had. But then I started taking some medicine to help me sleep and the dreamgates have opened up.
Last night’s episode:
Calvin and I were spending a weekend at my grandmother’s house in Kilgore, Texas. My grandmother died in 1984 and I didn’t meet Calvin until almost a decade later, but the dream seemed to occur in modern times, indicated by the presence of my iPhone. Also, Grandmother’s house only had one story but last night I added a second floor.
Grandmother had to go somewhere for the weekend so we only saw her for a minute on Friday evening.
Calvin and I passed the weekend looking through drawers and books, both of which Grandmother had lots of, and they all held interesting stuff. Old photos, trinkets, games – it was hardly a dull couple of days.
We pretty much just hung around Grandmother’s house all weekend except for one Sunday-morning excursion to a lake. At this lake, out on a floating dock, was a covered shed under which fisherpeople sat on folding stools with their lines in the water. I watched a few bluegills being pulled up.
Nearby, also out on the floating dock, was a picnic area with several food counters: one for ice cream, one for sandwiches, two for baked goods. Under the glass of one bakery counter sat some flaky triangular items that I didn’t (and don’t) remember ever seeing before, but in the dream I recognized them and was excited. They looked a bit like glazed Pillsbury turnovers but they were partly ajar, and in each was what seemed to be a candied vanilla bean.
A little card behind these flaky things read, in red crayon, “Something Something Vanilla Bean Somethings…by Brad Listi.”
This detail deserves some examination. The pastry thing makes perfect sense; those are right up my sweets-alley. But Brad Listi?
Brad Listi is a novelist, editor and podcaster whom I have never met. I follow him on Twitter for his clever tweets and interesting, well-chosen retweets. He happens to be not unattractive physically but he is only one of several such people I follow on social media. I have never engaged with him online and definitely not in person.
This part of the dream is a mystery.
While I waited at the counter to be served a gruff man wearing a bloody sleeveless t-shirt – I think he’d come over from the fishing shed – nudged in front of me. He was missing three or four bottom teeth in the middle and several upper teeth on the sides so that when he opened his mouth he looked like a beaver. He raised his hand for service but I elbowed my way back to the counter and said, “I was here!”
The pastry lady came over and spoke to me in either Dutch or Afrikaans. I pointed to the vanilla bean thing and she wrapped one in waxed paper and took my money, and I stepped away after scowling at Beaver Guy.
Calvin had wandered off along the lake shore and I scanned the crowds looking for him. Then a terrible thing happened. Before I had a single bite my pastry slipped from my hand and fell into the grass at my feet. Considering its imminent deliciousness I was fully prepared to snatch it up, blow off dirt and eat it, but when I looked down it wasn’t there! A couple of inch-square pieces of phyllo-like pastry nestled among the blades of grass but nothing else.
As I stood in dejected amazement I suddenly found myself back in Grandmother’s house, walking into her kitchen. For some reason I hadn’t been in the kitchen all weekend until that moment. It surprised me but wasn’t especially bothersome to see an assortment of raw meats sitting out. On the kitchen table was what’s known in the food-service business as a Steamship Round, a whole leg of beef. You see them at large-scale buffets or carving stations. This particular leg – raw, mind you – had large chunks of meat hacked from it, as if small sharks or large piranhas had snacked on it.
Farther back in the kitchen, in cabinets over the sink, there were a pig’s head and a pig’s hind quarter…again, raw. Despite the lack of either refrigeration or air conditioning, there was no smell. (I forget, though, whether we smell in dreams at all.)
As I stood in Grandmother’s kitchen surveying the raw meat, I woke up.
PS: No, I will not tell you what my new medicine is.