The Real Deal
I slept so much that I had extra to donate to the Clinic for insomniacs. The Clinic gave it out in transfusions to their patients. But those who got my sleep found that they were also sharing my dreams. This made the donees uncomfortable because they were encountering people wandering around in my unconscious who they didn’t know. I had to provide them with names and descriptions like a birding manual. “My parents,” I said, “they’re harmless. My uncle, he’s okay, just don’t talk politics.” This helped until the feedback from other people sharing my dreams caused my own dreams to become over-stimulated. It was like I was on dream steroids. I started generating whole novels worth of fictional characters whenever I fell asleep. For the sake of everyone’s mental health (the donees were dreaming fantasy romances) the Clinic informed me that I wasn’t allowed to donate my sleep anymore. They got a court order and everything. Of course, this didn’t stop me from dreaming, but because I had no way of bleeding off my excess dream characters, I started dreaming within my dreams. Specifically, I developed Morphean Reflux, also known as Hall of Mirrors Syndrome, which is characterized by multiple entities of the same person appearing in the same dream space/time. In every dream, I would encounter four of five versions of myself, all of whom claimed to be the real originator of the dream that I was having. I stopped recognizing my authentic self in my dreams. Last night, someone called me “Eddie” and, before that, someone said “I really like the way you dress,” and I realized I was in a ball gown. I’ve got to find my way out of my dreams, but I need to sleep. If only I could dream myself as a dream of someone else, so that when that person awoke, I would be out of my own dreams and into those of the person I dreamed. Then, my dreams might leave me alone like a pack of hunting dogs that can’t pick up the scent of the prey they were chasing. Only as someone else’s dream will I ever be free from my own.
Chris Bullard lives in Philadelphia. He received his BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania and his MFA. from Wilkes University. Grey Book Press published Continued, a poetry chapbook, and Moonstone Press published Going Peaceably to the Obsidian Knife, his chapbook of environmentally themed poetry.
You can see more from Chris in 6.1