That Dream I Had

I had this dream about ten years ago, and it still makes me wonder about its' interpretation and significance even after a decade. I present it for you here, though, not out of a desire to get other interpretations, but simply because it's good for a cheap laugh.

The dream was in two very distinct halves: the first your typical, standard dream-world kind of a dream; and the second startling in its' clarity and attention to detail. Even now, a decade later, the lucidity of it surprises me.

Part One picked up just as I was chasing the enemy agents through the fields. For weeks I had been pursuing these international saboteurs through the alleyways and the city streets, trying to uncover their diabolical plans, and in the end I finally had traced them here, to a field in the night countryside, and their secret underground hideout.

They vanished into the ground. I followed, eventually locating one of the traps which opened to reveal an entrance to their underground lair. Down the black stairs I went, slinging the light portable submachine gun from over my shoulder, moving to the heart of the great complex. My nerves are steel. Stealth and alertness, awareness and tension, accompany me. There is no room for fear, for regrets. Only power and our strategies have meaning.

I am forced to kill two sentries in one of the winding passageways. The alarm has been given. For a moment, it appears they will take me -- but I sidestep and twist and fire, and then hide from those who follow. The fast, hot battle has changed and become a cold waiting-game, a deadly round of cat-and-mouse with the many seeking the one.

Wait. Look. Listen. Watch the shadows. Move. Turn. Duck into hiding. Two of the agents are following me. I lean into a doorway. They look for me. They stop. They listen. They turn into a different corridor. My chance. The pursuers become the pursued. I pull back the bolt. They turn, too late. A burst of gunfire. I take the clips from their weapons. I leave quickly, knowing that their deaths will lead the others ever closer to me. I head for the center of the complex.

At last, I reach the heart of the conspiracy. A great room all of polished marble, a great oval room, shaped in beautiful Art Deco styling. At the very heart of the room, a weapon the likes of which I had dreaded to find: a giant brass-and-chromium laser, a huge seventy-millimeter laser projection cannon, powerful enough to tear the very planet apart.

The fact that it's a 70mm laser cannon seems particularly significant to me (as opposed to its' being, say, a 35mm laser cannon).

The guerilla battle now begins in earnest. I cannot reach the machine from here. I try fighting my way through the back corridors to destroy the laser's power supply, but the shielded four-aught cables resist my efforts to destroy them. The conspirators are now massing, preparing their final search. I realize their search this time will be fatal. There is only one choice.

I race recklessly through the corridors, only stopping once to gun down three sentries caught unawares who still turn and nearly kill me; at the west entrance, I race into the great marble oval. The saboteurs sight me, but a quick burst from my submachine gun forces them to scatter. They will regroup and fire within seconds. I must complete my task.

I race to the central dais. I grab the controls to the giant laser, pivot its' sleek deadly barrel downward, into the earth. The enemies realize what I intend to do. They open fire with all their weapons. Luckily, I stand on the other side of the great laser, its casing deflecting their fire. They move for new positions. This time there will be no error. But they are unprepared for the sacrifice I am prepared to make. They scream and fire scattered shots as I activate the great laser, pointing it into the ground, assuring the destruction of us all.

The blue-white light blazes into the floor; an explosion rocks the building to its foundations and beyond, ripping the earth to its' very core, tearing the very Earth asunder...

Darkness. Void. I know all the enemy agents are destroyed.

God is here. I know it, though I can't see Him. There is no conversing; He simply has a thought, and I understand.

There is a trial, a judgement. He notes that I have sinned, have taken the lives of others and destroyed much which others built. In my favor, I did all this in the name of preventing still greater evils. With this, and all other things, weighed, my judgement is decided.

No eternal condemnation; no Heaven, either. My sentence is to do some good for life on earth, to advance God's plan; He gives me a specific task to fulfill.

Sort of the heavenly equivalent of community-service work.

And with that, Part Two of the dream begins; the Void fades, and I find myself sitting by the edge of the great abyss to the centre of the earth. What was at first a typical dream now takes on a remarkable clarity and lucidity; the events are real, clear; even my thoughts during the dream are clear and well-ordered.

My task upon Earth is to create three new forms of life.

I know that God doesn't want anything obtrusive. "Keep it simple," He indicated. "No giant ants or thirty-foot reptiles. Just some living things to replace a few of the species which Man has thoughtlessly destroyed. No surprises. Keep it low-key." And so I think about what would fulfill His work-order.

I reason that it shouldn't be just some new species of cow, or yet another breed of domestic rose. But, at the same time, it shouldn't be something wild or bizarre that won't fit into the food chain.

I lean back and look at the sky. It will take time to reason this out.

Where to put these new forms of life? The question of natural habitat seems a natural starting-point. The land-based species are numerous, and well accounted for; to create new ones might attract too much attention. Sea-based species are already far too numerous to count, and new ones would be of little use. Even the air is teeming with birds and insects; there seems to be no demand for new species in that environment. Where to place three new forms of life if land, sea and air are so thoroughly populated?

The great abyss to the center of the earth acts as an answer to my question. The surfaces, seas and skies may be heavily populated, but beneath the earth- - beneath the earth, there is no native life to speak of. And if there were, Man in his travels had not yet discovered or categorized it. At last! I see the opportunity I was waiting for.

I designed some little green guys (I never bothered to assign names to these new forms of life; "little green guys" was quite adequate for me - I left it to those who would eventually discover these new life-forms to name them), about the size of a fingernail, with pointy heads and short little legs - - a strong resemblance to the pointy-headed aliens in the "Space Invaders" video game. These little guys were limovores - they ate dirt, in order to digest the minerals within - and reproduced at a fairly high rate of speed, a fact which I compensated for by giving them a short lifespan.

Three or four of them were now jumping around in my palm. I closed my hand carefully and jumped down the abyss to the centre of the earth, so as to see how they reacted to their new environment. I set them into the earth, and I watched them for a few generations (a few of their generations); they jumped around, and they ate, and they multiplied, and they seemed quite content.

I jumped to the surface of the earth. (This jumping in and out of the earth was very simple. I never felt any difficulty or strain; it was just a way to get from one place to another.) I sat down and contemplated the situation. Now, I wanted to come up with a second form of life - one that would help maintain the balance of nature.

I designed some purple worms: short purple worms about half an inch long, with slightly slower metabolisms, and carnivoric. Their job was to eat a certain amount of the little green guys, to act as a population control. The little green guys bred quickly enough to avoid extinction, and had a short lifespan in any case; the new purple worms bred slowly, barely enough to maintain the species, but I compensated for this by giving them a longer lifespan.

I jumped down into the abyss. The little green guys were eating and breeding and multiplying rapidly. Seeing this I was pleased, and set down the purple worms to join them, and leaned back and watched them for a few generations. Sure enough, the parade of life went on; the little green guys bred on, and the purple worms ate them, but the green guys bred at a faster rate and thus the balance was preserved. Content, I jumped back to the surface again.

Only one more species needed to be designed.

Some sort of plant, it seemed to me, seemed appropriate. Maybe a microbiotic fungus of some kind; it could act as the plants on the surface do, as a natural stabilizer for the ecosystem I had created - eating waste and decay products, and recycling them into the environment in usable forms. Perhaps the little green guys would eat them, too. But there were still problems to be resolved; for example, how would the fungus operate seven thousand miles underground, since photosynthesis was clearly out of the question? How would it work? I put my chin on my hands and sat there contemplating this.

And as I sat there, thinking, I was suddenly distracted by the snapping of fingers and a Brooklyn-accented voice saying, "Hey! Hey, Mac!" And I turned and gaped in amazement, because a purple worm - a purple worm three or four feet long, snapping its little tiny fingers - had crawled out of the hole to the center of the earth and was addressing me. And it flashed through my mind in a split second: the realization. My God, I thought, I forgot to allow for the possibility that they might evolve.

The purple worm went on talking without a pause. "These little green guys," he continued, "well, they're okay, but they just aren't coming out right on our pizzas. So when you design the next ones, could you make 'em taste a little more like anchovies?"

And I was just sitting there, my mouth hanging open in astonishment, amazed both by the colossal miscalculation I'd made and by the worm's insolence, when I woke up.

I regret that, in conveying this dream, I was unable to include a few items from the first part of the dream without creating large gaps of continuity in the narrative - such as the room full of naked, bound, eager young women or the fact that the laser-cannon was also being used to project a 70mm print of "Superman" into an adjacent theatre. Perhaps, someday, I will rewrite this narrative so as to accurately include them. For now, however, perhaps they are best left to the reader's imagination.

Then again, perhaps not.

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There was another dream where I learned how to play golf in four-dimensional time,
but that's another story.