As you might expect from a guy who dreams about superheroes, I spend some of my dreaming life surrounded by comic books. They may live on the shelves of small comics libraries in deep, dark basements, or they might show up as box after box of comics which have never really been published. They even make an appearance when I go shopping for giant-sized Godzilla books!
Excerpted from Three Years Dreaming, a dream journal memoir now available on Amazon.
It’s night, and you’re driving the truck. Traffic is bad. You have to be careful about positioning your vehicle around all the other cars.
In the daytime, you ride your bike up to a comic shop. It’s a bookstore with bookshelves and the comics are filed in with the books. The owner tells the customers that everything in his store is complete product, the original product and the complete product, with all original materials. He has a book with a hard cover Jimi Hendrix comic book. He explains it has ALL the original material and is complete. You figure that means it has the original CD and the dust jacket.
You browse. Everything is in sections. Godzilla books are all together. You’ve never seen so many paperback novels about Godzilla. All the nature books are together. They are HUGE. The size of a kitchen table. Massive photo books. One has a picture of a tree on the cover. A big stump with gnarly root systems and burls. Other books feature animals.
They make you think about your GF for some reason. You remember you two used to read big picture books together, about nature and animals. This one about cats; you read it before together. Maybe you should get some of these giant books to read together.
The store even has a couple of life-size figures of Rorschach from Watchmen. Check him out. He was your favorite character of the series. The tag says $100 in large black marker on a white card.
You try to adjust a two-sided folding shelf. You get it all wrong, even though this girl tries to help you. You just want to make a small adjustment, but you do not at all comprehend the mechanism. You fold it up over yourself, get caught, and end up on your hands and knees on the carpet. You attempt several configurations before you manage to fold it into the shape of a chair with all of the books off it. It becomes a bench.
The girl seems pleased with the bench, and together you put a blanket and pillows on it. Now it’s more like a futon bench. You make a little arrangement of mini-pillows on the arm of the couch but stop because you think you may be overdoing it. This chick is going to think you are a flamer, decorating with tiny pillows like that! But she thinks it’s cute, and you sit together on it.
In your aquarium you have two fish. A third fish—a mudskipper—and a lizard are there, too. The fish and the mudskipper are dying. You dump them into the trash, using a net to scoop them out of the tank. You save the lizard and the fish.
But, you have a terrible feeling that maybe the other animals weren’t dead. Maybe you threw them out when they were still alive. You imagine them gasping and choking.
Go to the trash can. Look for them. But you already took them all the way out to the dumpster!
What a way to ruin a night that started off reading comic books with your GF. You had just got a bunch of new posters and were taping the posters all over your office. Dreadstar. Robocop. Stuff like that. Cool stuff.
You find yourself in a small space indoors, an enclosure you’ve created. The walls are all shelves, and they’re all filled with comic books. This little room in the basement is very tall but barely wide enough to turn around in.
You sit on the floor, reclining, stretching out your legs. Despite the small area, you don’t feel claustrophobic. In fact, you feel safe, secure, protected, comfortably enclosed. With a little library ladder, you can climb up and see out into the rest of the basement. It’s dark and huge, but not scary. The welcome seclusion of a private space.
Later, you take a trip to another room, but this one is above ground floor. Massive windows span the length of the room, and you can see clouds. It’s like a large penthouse.
You meet a guy who has a box of comic books to sell. One set of collected trade paperbacks he has looks really nice, and you want them. You say you value the whole set at $120, but he says it’s probably closer to $15.
Now that’s exciting! You are going to get a great deal! You look through the books some more.
You make a connection with an illustrator for the comic book you are scripting. You work with him on a college campus, producing your book.
It’s just you and this other guy. He has dorky blonde hair, a kind of bowl cut with a part, and a tweed jacket. You know him from somewhere. He tries to get you up from the couch, but you resist. You use one hand to hold on to the couch and grapple with him with the other hand. It isn’t violent, just playful and silly.
For a moment, you see the whole scene as if a child drew it. You feel loose and sloppy, like you’re drunk. Finally, you get off the couch to see something he wants to show you.
He shows you a large box in the next room, the living room, by the door. You could fit inside the box it’s so big. He sits at the dining room table in the front room, out of sight but within conversational range.
You open the box. It’s full of Star Wars toys, still in the original packaging. They’re larger than any produced in real life. They look expensive, and there are a lot of them. It’s a nice gift even if you don’t really have much interest or need for all these X-wing fighters and so on.
Then you notice there’s a short box of comic books, bagged and boarded. You flip through them. Now this floats your boat. They’re all in superb condition and grouped together, some early Micronauts, Spider-man, and so on, all of which have never been printed. Your brain is making these covers up just for the dream.
You’re thrilled. But, as you discuss them with the guy, you don’t know how you’re going to take them all with you “when you go back.” How will they fit in the car with all your other stuff? Do you have room in the trunk? Can you ship the spaceships and bring the books in the car with you? You thank the guy and chat some more.
You’re looking for comic books and dinosaur books in a bookstore. It has tons of shelves, both library style and bookstore style. You have an armful of maybe four books. Then you discover a giant Godzilla book. It must be three feet wide and three feet tall.
You open it up. The pictures are awesome, from every Godzilla movie ever made and every Godzilla appearance ever. It’s a giant-size Godzilla blow-out! It’s bigger than any book you’ve ever owned. Since it’s so big and you want to shop a bit more, you leave it on a table.
Then confusion sets in. You look around for where you set your other books. Your browsing takes on a frantic tone. Then you see a guy reading the Godzilla book. Fuck! You go up to him and say, nicely, that you really want to buy that book. He gives a noncommittal response, like maybe you’ll get to buy it and maybe you won’t.
How far are you willing to take it? What if he tries to buy it? How forceful should you be? You want to buy it badly enough that you’re willing to fight him for it. But he eventually just walks off. You buy all the books and go out to your car.
On the way to your car, you encounter two people who seem to be the parents of the girl in your neighborhood when you were a kid. They look like grandparents now and it occurs to you how long it’s been since you were a kid.
As you get ready to drive away, the point of view shifts. You see from an aerial view outside the car. You see the store and parking lot on the side of a huge rock, a mountain. Fuck! Where are your books?
You stop and look around inside the car. Did you leave them in the store? Is your Godzilla book missing in action? Will someone else get it? No. They are on the floor in the back seat. You move them up front.
The location cuts to a shopping center in your neighborhood. Your sister is with you, and she’s driving. You arrive at a home you share and awkwardly bump into each other putting your stuff down. You talk and then go outside, because you left some of your books in the car.
The dream begins as a violent mass of chaos, bodies. You fight them off for survival. They all have an infection that makes them crazed: driven to rape, torture, mutilate, dismember. You could become infected from them.
Next, your friend is with you. You’ve both escaped the mob and gone into a subterranean passage, a giant tunnel strewn with rocks. A creek runs through it.
Figures shamble around in the darkness. Are they infected or not? It’s hard to tell, but you decide to be cautious. At one point, the two of you try a pathway up the side of the tunnel but are confronted, boxed in, by some creeps. The may not be infected, but they threaten you anyway.
Soon, you both emerge into a safe haven of un-infected people. They’re having a party on a large system of wooden decks that connect all the dwellings and serve as a communal space. It seems to be built into a surrounding network of shopping centers and apartments.
A woman plays a piano and sings jazz songs. She has chocolate brown skin and curly black hair. Indoors, she wants to have sex with you. You worry because she seems to exhibit signs of being infected. This village is supposed to be free of infection. Should you tell someone? You want her but worry you’ll get infected through saliva or sexual fluids.
She says you can’t get infected that way. But, she would say that, wouldn’t she? She wants to do it in the shower. She starts up the water and gets in. Your stomach aches and there’s only one place to shit: in the bathroom by the shower. She is grossed out and leaves the room. But when you get in the shower, she comes back in and gets in with you.
Later you dream of another tub in another bathroom. Your friend is there with you, dressed in black. In the tub is a female body you can only see from the navel down. He uses his fingers to demonstrate a method of stimulating female sex organs.
Later, you come home to a rectangular multi-story brick apartment building adorned with columns. Metal stairways wrap around the building. You have some old comic books you are excited to check out.
In the parking lot, this bald guy swipes them from you, but you catch him. You brutally pound his face into the brick walls and pavement. He seems to have stashed the books somewhere and also ripped off one of the covers. It lies on the ground. He doesn’t want to tell you or give you back the books.
You shout, “WHERE ARE THEY,” smashing his face into the bricks repeatedly. The bricks shatter. That motherfucker. You keep smashing.
You and Chris go camping together. You start your journey in a vast underground concrete tunnel or passage. Eventually you come to a concrete wall with a narrow opening, a break in the rock rather than a carved opening. He makes it through to the other side. You follow. It’s very narrow, and you really have to squeeze to get through.
The two of you camp for days in the forest. One day, while walking around, you encounter a small western town that seems right out of Little House on the Prairie. Even Michael Landon is there.
But, the house is being sucked into a giant hole in the ground, a kind of violent sinkhole that draws in all the buildings and people, and even your tent! It occurs to you that the tent sucked anyway. Your phone almost goes in the hole, but you rescue it. As the town sinks, you comment to Chris that the town was too stupid to live anyway.
The two of you walk back as you review all the stuff you lost. Finally you come back to the crack in the wall. This time, instead of squeezing through, you wedge yourself in and push. It reminds you of Samson and the pillars. You worry the whole tunnel might collapse like in the Samson story, but you succeed in widening the hole with will power and muscle power. Now it’s big enough for you to walk through comfortably!
Further along the tunnel you find a book fair. Chris wants to stay and help set up. You’re only interested to see if they have comic books, which they don’t. When you mention comic books to one of the organizers, he says, “They’re called graphic novels now.”
From a large chest you bring out a copy of a big book of “Action” games with Superman on the cover. That’s the only thing remotely comic book they have. You and Chris leave, heading towards a large exit to a brightly lit city full of cafés.
Excerpted from Three Years Dreaming, a dream journal memoir now available on Amazon.