The dream engine delivers at last

by , under dream engine, life

These scary pills I’m taking have “strange dreams” on their list of side-effects, and I was kind of looking forward to the strange dreams but none appeared, at least not stranger than what the dream engine usually produces. This one, though, is strange enough to qualify.

We (just my other half and me, no daughters in evidence) were living in quite a small apartment that seemed to be on the top floor of an old house. We could sit in the (admittedly very large) gutter just outside the front-room window to read, or just to look out over the street, as I used to do in one of my rooms in The Hague. On the other side of the street there were an office of some sort and a school, both devastated by fire, which I knew had happened at different times. The school had been abandoned two years ago, the office was evidently going to be rebuilt because it had builders’ signs all over it.

Then a letter came for my other half from a person who must be Korean because one of their three names was Park. It read something like “I must come and have dinner with you because I know that you are an excellent cook.” (Which is, in fact, true.) And soon after that, a package was delivered to me: a thing like a flyer only made of cardboard, with the name of Subway or Starbucks (I forget which, or perhaps it was one of those fluid dream-things) and photos of different dishes that looked like chicken. Also, there was an insulating bag containing samples of each. I sat in the gutter tasting the samples: a deep-fried batter-covered piece of breast with thick skin, two more pieces of the same colour but different taste, a rolled-up pancake containing not only fowl meat but also a vegetable that was most like flowering broccoli and some other things, and a miniature spring roll in rice paper. The more I got to the bottom of the bag, the more Asian and the more delicious the food became.

(I can actually taste in my dreams; I’ve heard that most people can’t. And I dream in vivid colour, which seems to mean that I get enough vitamin B12.)

While I was eating, the roof of the burned-out school collapsed and the front wall, made of red brick, toppled into the street. Nobody seemed to pay any attention to this, though there were several people in the street. I saw chairs and tables uncovered by the collapse and considered going over and getting some of the chairs for our house.

Suddenly there was someone in the gutter of the house to my right, a youngish-middle-aged man with a broad flat face who I immediately knew to be this Park, and I also knew that he’d sent the food as well as the letter. It turned out that he wanted us to come and live in Groningen with his sister to start a restaurant. I think we talked about it; I don’t know what we decided.

As an afterthought, in the dream the meat seemed to be chicken but I’m now practically sure that it was duck, especially because of the thick fatty (but eminently edible) skin of the first piece.


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