Tell Me a Tale of Two Dreamers

I seldom recall my dreams and by how seldom he speaks of them, I’d guess the ToolMaster is the same. But cue the Twilight Zone signature riff, because Tuesday night demonstrated why we are soul mates.

His Dream:

While studying scientific papers on the structure of nuclear reactors, he noticed a recurrent error. If Radium 135 was processed with Nitrogen, he posited, it could produce an unlimited supply of energy. The waste products would so safe you could eat them without fear of developing a third testicle or a hairy spleen.

Because he couldn’t get anyone to believe him, he visited Saskatchewan and bought 100 pounds of raw Uranium from a miner. The excuse he used? He wanted a souvenir.

He built a miniature reactor in our basement. (Apparently I was biddable, ignorant, or on drugs in this portion of the dream.)

It worked. He patented the process.

He approached the head of his company with a deal. He’d get 10% of all profits but they’d have the exclusive right to develop it. When they tried to argue they owned all his inventions, did he hire an intellectual property lawyer? Oh no, he did not. He argued his case with skill and merit, then–

This is where I interrupted. I said that if I wrote his dream, he would be conveniently disappeared under the Canadian laws which are equivalent to the Patriot Act, though because we are Canadian, you’ll understand the detention isn’t carried out in a tent city in Cuba, but rather a regular prison in the East. (Sorry. I can provide no insight into the cultural differences with respect to water-boarding except to suppose we might use a maple plank whereas you might use ash.)

His knowledge would be conveeeeniently misplaced for about 30 years, or until oil prices had been milked to the max and his patent had expired. Then, voilà! He would be released from prison, a pale, doddering creature. When they named the university’s new science wing after him and referenced Uranium in the dedication ceremony, a much-publicized photo would show him peering at his bottom with a confused expression.

“Not so!” the ToolMaster said. “Not so.” See, he’d taken precautions. Before he’d gone into the meeting, he’d mass-mailed his results to the scientific community. If something happened to us, the world wouldn’t suffer. The knowledge wouldn’t die. This was a critical point for me to understand.

Then he wanted to know my dream, and since he’d been somewhat displeased and defensive about my suggested alterations to his dream, and since he now seemed to challenging my storytelling chops, I’ll admit I  beefed up my conflict.  But only a tad, you understand, because more would breach the implied spousal contract.

Her Dream:

My scalp had been itchy for days. I thought it was from chemical irritation because I’d had my hair colored, but as long as I didn’t die from anaphylaxis, I couldn’t regret my choice. I had an upcoming TV interview and needed to look my best.

When I was in the Green Room waiting to be called to the set, I looked in the mirror and saw black insects climbing up and through my hair, using it like a  jungle gym. Several hopped, giving my outline a vague, Linus-like quality. Just as I’d grasped I had head lice, an assistant appeared and waved me forward. I had to go. That instant. There was no time to fake an illness. No time to do anything but hope and pray I wouldn’t be subject to a close-up.

As I stood poised on the studio’s threshold, heart pounding, my eyes lit on the beret the assistant was wearing. I snatched it off her head and jammed it on mine. The hat was pink.

My outfit was red. 

See? Soulmates. 🙂

Do you dream much, peeps? Do your dreams tend to be dystopian, deep, or disturbing?

21 thoughts on “Tell Me a Tale of Two Dreamers

  1. Jan, this made me laugh so hard I almost spit out my tea. I’ve never dreamed about nuclear power or hair color, but my dreams are vivid – must be a writerly trait. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Wow, I am impressed by the ToolMaster’s dream. And I can’t wait to dream-see you on TV, bugs and all (or did you dream it would only be available on the CBC?). They both make my recurring ‘having to return to the lumberyard as a low-level employee ’cause I can’t sell a damn book to save my life’ dream seem so prosaic.

      1. I want to switch dreams with Vaughn too — a lumberyard sounds much better than that math exam I never study for and always have to take anyway, knowing I will fail.
        I remember a lot of my dreams, and they veer wildly from the mundane forgot-to-study nightmares to elaborate adventures with a host of bizarro characters.
        What I love most in this post is your “revision” of the ToolMaster’s dream. Of course, that’s what we do, right, as storytellers always in the process of narration? Love it!

        1. I’m always amused by what happens when “the job” spills over into relationships. (This was true in medicine for me, and certainly applies to the ToolMaster’s engineering.) Can create some interesting friction. 🙂

          Bizarro characters sound like a great place for story to begin, Lisa! Especially if you remember them.

  3. If I had your dream, Jan, I’d be scratching for days. I hate bug dreams. My dreams are usually vivid and weird, and occasionally disturbing. I once dreamed an entire plot. That was awesome!

    Here’s to a varied landscape of dreams that keep you entertained in your sleep. 🙂

  4. Processing safe uranium? My dreams usually involve finding myself driving a vacuum cleaner at 40 mph down a busy street or finding out on the day of the final that I forgot all semester to go to a class I have to pass to graduate from high school and showing up to the exam naked.

  5. I don’t think I’ve ever dreamed of uranium or pink berets, and I can rarely remember my dreams for long after I’ve woken up. I do know that a common recurring theme for me is that I have some marvelous ability, like being able to fly, or turn into a motorbike, or play a piano, which mysteriously gets harder & harder to use as the dream progresses.

  6. My dreams tend to be about the near future–which makes it oddly disturbing in the rare and brief moments when they seem to come about in real life. Some things tend to be predictable if you give your imagination permission to go there. The mirrored elevator, the arena with strange architecture…thankfully the never ending staircase in the hotel has yet appear. Being suddenly onstage seems to be a recurring theme, as does heavy theater curtains.

    Forget the waterboarding. I hear beavers nibble on your toes at night, so ‘tails’ on the Canadian nickle are actually a subliminal crime deterrent. 😉

      1. It’s probably more along the lines of ‘what one can invent, another can discover.’ The mind is a tricky thing–what looks familiar may only have similar elements. But it can dream up a good story.

  7. laughing! 😀 — OH, miss stopping by here, Miz Tart.

    And boy hidey do I dream – lately color has made itself known more – particularly red and blue. And I dream of monsters, and murder, and mayhem, and then I’ll dream of something so sweet it aches, and other times it’s just pure chaos, and others I am on Oprah or Oprah is at my house and she loves my books or sometimes I have an affair – sorry GMR! lawd! My dream world is plenty active and for that I both love it and dread it -mostly love it 😀

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