Dentures, Drugs, and Dreams, Mark 2


I said there were two massively weird dreams screwing up the sleep schedule last time. Here’s the other.

I’m at the window, staring down into the parking lot. A cab pulls up. One of the old school, yellow checker style ones. Someone steps out; hard to make out anything about them other than it’s male, tall and gangly.

He’s wearing a tan beret and a beige overcoat. I see him tilt his head up and glance at the window I’m watching him from while he rummages in his pocket to pay the cabbie. Somehow I know he’s staring at me, and that he’s come for me.

I back away, feeling like someone just reached into my chest and squeezed my heart. I hear footsteps on the stairs outside the apartment and I know the tread. The weight behind them, the pace; I know who’s coming up the stairs, and I react with no surprise but plenty of pants-wetting fear when the doorbell rings. My legs are rubber, my mouth dry, but I can’t stop myself. I go to the door and open it.

It’s him. Of course it is. I should have known when I saw the cab, or the beret. It can’t be him, it’s impossible – he’s been dead for a decade – but it is anyway.

My grandfather is standing in my doorway, though death has been kinder to him than living has been to me. His hair is thick and black instead of thin and steel grey; his eyes are a sharp and piercing, unclouded by glaucoma or retinal surgery or ridiculously thick bifocals. The lines in his face have mostly smoothed out, except the deep creases of frown lines to either side of his jaw, the ones that always made me think of a ventriloquist’s dummy.

He looks like he must have a long time ago when he and my grandmother first met. I remember seeing a picture of him like this, back when I was a kid. Probably why I’ve dressed him this way – the beret gives it away. It used to hang in the hallway of grandma’s house, a relic of him when he might have still known how to smile or take a joke.

But he’s not smiling now. He shoves me back and marches into the house, slamming the door with a sound like a vault or a tomb locking. In the way dreams do, there is no clear divide or sense of order to things, now. Only that he’s yelling at me, and he’s furious.

So am I.

His complaint seems to be that I didn’t buy a Christmas tree for him. I have no idea what relation that has to anything. But he says, repeatedly, that he can’t believe I couldn’t even chip in $8 (the specific amount is also odd to me) for the holidays. The berating continues, but there’s no sense to it. Either I don’t remember what the other complaints were or there weren’t any other specifics and it’s just one of those dream moments where you know things are/have happening/happened but you couldn’t say how you know it.

I’m getting angrier and angrier, and finally, I start shouting at him. I call him a southern-fried son of a bitch. I tell him that it isn’t fair he blames his failures, fear, and procrastination on his family, no matter how fucked up they might have been. I tell him to get the fuck out of my house and go be dead somewhere else.

He sits down in a chair, and I realize the apartment isn’t the layout I live in, now. It’s been changed to grandma’s house and we’re in the kitchen – his kitchen – while he’s taken residence in a half-busted rocking chair that was always in the corner somewhere in the house. He smiles at me, though there is no love, happiness, or actual mirth in it. His teeth are shockingly white and obviously real, not the poor plastic things he wore for the last few decades of his life.

“Make it a threat, maybe I will.” His voice isn’t young again, I realize. It’s still the voice of a 60-year smoker with every drop of venom I remember from my childhood in it.

“Get out,” I tell him. He starts pawing at the air in front of him with his left hand, snorting. He’s doing a bull impression.

“Threaten me,” he tells me again. “Go ahead and do it you little snot-nosed bastard.”

“Get the fuck out of my house, you Kentucky Fried, ignorant, stupid, useless, worthless, gutless old fuck or I’ll…”

I’ll what? I don’t know. I know the dream paused there like it was giving me a chance to come up with something really good. But all the threats I could think of sounded pathetic, the whinging of some little millennial gothling tripping on their own angsty agony and talking about what they were going to do to their bullies. His grin kept getting wider, and I kept getting angrier, and the angrier I got the more stupid and juvenile the potential threats became.

I think I came up with a good one. I don’t remember what it was. I was about to tell him so – and probably be murdered by him for uttering it, assuming the insults I hurled beforehand didn’t push him over the edge – but then I woke up.

Fun stuff, right? At least I’m done with the pain meds, now. Hopefully this cuts the dreams back to my usual recurring nightmares and insomnia. I’m getting pretty sick of this shit.

Until next time.

KA Spiral no signature

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