He’s an eMan, plugging in every day to learn what he knows, useless as a truncated URL without his plug-in.
Lately, my dreams have had their own unique brand. Except for one – where I was the General of Level Forty-three – the dreams were of me watching television. I would be in a chair, in a small room, facing a small television, watching shows. Most remarkable about the dreams were that the quantity, eleven in the last two weeks, and the surreal surprise when I awoke; it always felt like I’d never been asleep.
As for being General of Level Forty-three, only jumbled images and sounds are recalled, a surprising twist to someone like me, who often sharply remembers dream, or convinces myself that I do.
Last night’s dream broke the pattern. I dreamed I was in a room, part of a new home. Plants in pots and planters were nearby. The carpet was as green as Ireland in all those travel posters. Something else was in the room. I didn’t know what, and was trying to see.
Approaching the greenery, I tried peering past them. Movement before me caused me to stop. A snake slithered out from under the plots. I know little about snakes, but I thought it was a rattle snake.
I moved back from it. Simultaneous to this, a large dark gray rat emerged from my left. I attempted to split attention between the snake and the rat. Both worried me, but the snake worried me more.
The rat scurried in past the planters. The snake followed. As they did, a man appeared. Topless, had baggy pants and blue skin. He wore something like a turban. His hair was short and black. A thick mustache hid his mouth. He carried a scimitar.
His appearance shocked me. I demanded to know who he was, and what he was doing. With a look over his shoulder toward me, he raised his scimitar and pointed it in the direction the rat and snake had taken.
Another man, dressed like the first, appeared with a boisterous laugh. “Don’t worry, he’s here to protect you and watch over you.”
Confusion swamped me. Despite his reassurances, I didn’t understand why I needed protection, and why these people had blue skin. But before I could engage him, he whisked off to the right.
I still worried about the snake and rat. Thinking of them, I approached the green plants and parted them. Beyond were shiny, cherry-red objects. I thought they were large metallic balloons.
My perspective shifted. Flying over them, I looked down, and realized they were all small bright red cars. Parked in perfect rows, they were all shiny. I thought them new.
My wife arrived. I joined her. We were inside the interior of an old car, something with the spaciousness and finish of an American sedan from the nineteen fifties. There were seats, but no glass, steering wheel, or instrument panel.
My wife was seating on the plain bench seat. Trying to explain to her about everything I saw and worried about, I sat beside her, to her left, where the driver would sit.
She put her head on my shoulder. Her eyes were closed and her mouth carried a half-smile. “I’m not worried,” she said. “I trust you.”
The blue man with the scimitar re-appeared. Although he didn’t speak, he mimed that he’d taken care of the snake. His expression comforted me. He left us sitting in the car, and I thought, I have no reason to worry.
It’s the last Friday before E-Day 2017, otherwise proclaimed as The Doritos Great American Eclipse of 2017*. I thought an appropriate song is R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine),” from nineteen eighty-seven. It’s a catchy tune, perfect for a non-apocalypse.
* That’s not true. Doritos has nothing to do with the eclipse. It’s fake news that I made up.
I don’t know if I was the first to think it. How could I know? I didn’t tell anyone what I was thinking. It was too damn crazy. There were probably others who likewise noticed, but kept it to themselves. Because, what could we do?
When I began thinking it, I don’t know. I didn’t mark the date. Like the economy, or a war, it took a few months to get a true and complete sense of what was transpiring.
It began with people telling about miraculous recoveries from cancer, and other diseases and injuries on Facebook. Those stories swept across the media as newspapers and television networks noticed. Reporters hunting the stories found bigger stories, even as hospitals and government agencies added other elements.
People weren’t dying. Gunshot and stabbing victims recovered. So did people who overdosed. Burns healed. Drowning victims took sudden new breaths, startling everyone. Diseases went into remission. Those who needed assistance from machines, nurses, caregivers, and doctors were able to push them aside, walking, chewing, and wiping their own asses, without others’ help. Memories, speech, and motor control returned. Their vision and minds sharpened.
So many thought it a miracle, a proof of some God’s love. Meanwhile, the planet’s average temperatures jumped. Hurricanes and cyclones destroyed cities, but nobody died. Glaciers melted. The sea levels rose, as did the heat, shriveling crops. America’s Midwest dried up, becoming another dust bowl. Water grew scarce and precious. Unemployment climbed, because there was less need for taking care of the sick, dying, and dead. People cried and screamed in hungry pain. Animals were killed. Fights over food and water broke out. Then came the riots.
I was sure I knew what had happened. Sometime during the cover given by the eclipse, others invaded Earth. They were wiping us out by accelerating our climate change, and keeping us alive even as we starved. It was a soft invasion. They didn’t want us dead, just weak, so they could enslave us.
Guessing that’s what was happening, I’d taken quiet actions to make things as pleasant as possible for my family in our remaining days. There was no way to kill ourselves; there was no way to die. All we could do was wait.
After eleven months, Nate Silver published results. August 21, 2017, was day zero. That was the last day anyone had died. We should all remember that date, when we meet our new masters. I’m sure they’ll introduce themselves by giving us food.
And we’ll be so grateful, we’ll do what they want.
Scratchnature (Catfinition): Like a signature, a feline’s style of scratching at a surface, such as a door, to draw attention and be let in or out, is unique, and announces their identity to those who know them.