The dream engine eats my bank card

by , under dream engine, life

First of the Worldcon anxiety dreams, I suppose. (ETA: Had another one but it was much less detailed and involved mostly food.)

It started innocuously enough: I had one book out and another ready to reveal at Worldcon (which is in fact true, except that the first isn’t wildly popular and the dream one was) and had a meeting about that in my own town, in the cafe where we never go opposite the one we hardly ever go any more since it’s under new management.

This turned into a sort of LARP where I was pursuing, and being pursued by, a villain who I eventually hit so hard while he was invisible that he disappeared completely, leaving all his stuff behind. I picked up what I could use (not much because most of it duplicated my own gear, but there was a really good short dark red hooded cloak) and some things I particularly liked, reproductions of fantasy art and tiny earrings. I had the tiny earrings in my hand, though the shirt I was wearing had a breast pocket and I thought about putting them in there but didn’t do it.

Then I passed the shop where, in waking life, I bought my wallet and had my handbag and the girls’ school rucksacks repaired, but it was a laundry in the dream. I needed both hands for something, and when I was picking up my bags again (three or four by now, at least one a laptop bag) I realised I didn’t have the tiny earrings and went to search in the dirt in front of the shop. There I found not only everything I’d dropped, but also several earrings that have long broken or disappeared and the nice metal IDIC pin I wore in high school! Now I put them in my breast pocket.

The people from the laundry gave me two different calendars with their own book covers: they preferred one (I think with wolves) but I preferred the other, a man and woman standing in shoulder-deep water with a splendid sunset behind them.

I arrived at the Worldcon venue not long after that, still in LARP gear with all the bags. Clearly, I wasn’t in Kansas Deventer any more. It looked like a dingy office or hotel with short staircases leading to different areas. I recognised many people, all Big Name Fans and writers I was too shy to speak to (Charlie Jane Anders among others).

At the back there were registration desks, and I was told that everybody from Europe had to register at the French-speaking desk so that was where I went. Lists of attendees were lying open, listing people by wallet name with the badge name in one of the later columns. Also, I suddenly realised that I had to pay cash at registration, 120 euros, and I didn’t have any money on me. I left all my bags under a seat and went in search of an ATM.

There was exactly one ancient-looking ATM in the hotel or whatever it was, on a lower level than the registration desk, down a three-step staircase and through a corridor. After I’d tried a couple of times, unsuccessfully, to feed a 25-guilder note into it (that ancient) it accepted the card from the account with my Worldcon money. I had a sinking feeling that I didn’t remember the PIN, but the machine must have remembered because after some clanking and whirring it gave me a full overview of my transactions, mostly in Japanese but I could at least read the numbers. That startled me so much that I pressed a wrong button and not only didn’t get any money, but the machine crashed and didn’t release the card.

I woke up a little at that point and tried to restart the dream with the machine working normally so I could get the 400 euros I’d asked for and get on with the registration, but as dreams go it veered off in a completely different direction, without much conviction, and escaped me, and left me completely awake.

I do remember proposing a last-minute “Draw My Villain” event in which people who could speed-draw were paired with writers to make quick sketches of the writers’ villains, probably because I wanted a drawing of the invisible man (when he was still visible) with the short hooded cloak.


  1. Irina

    I found my IDIC pin. I FOUND MY IDIC PIN!!! While looking for my rec.arts.sf.composition cat vacuuming pin (which I also found). I’ll wear it at Worldcon.


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