Dream Asylum

I don't pretend to understand them.


My old room has been merged with part of the maze in a level of a computer game like gauntlet or dungeon keeper. A sporadic gang of lilliputian wizards gradually filters into my room from the depths of the maze, and I have to hop about to avoid the magical spheres they lob at me. They walk very slowly.

I wait around, tolerating the wizards, because I know that some other creature will crawl out of the corners of my room and kill them all off. This earns me many more points than if I had just killed the wizards myself. To keep amused, I use one wizard for target practice and fling an orange at it. My aim is terrible in this dream, and I always miss the wizard by a minimal space. The orange rolls all around the room after I throw it, and each time I retrieve it I observe that it is getting mushier and mushier beneath the peel.

All at once, every wizard is dead. I stroll to the corner of the room where the maze merges in, and observe a tiny pile of posessions on each spot where a wizard died. From one pile I grab a small U-shaped chrome piece, sharpened at one end. I puncture the orange with it and put the hole to my mouth, sucking out a stream of fresh juice. My mother knocks on the door and informs me that the phone bill is due, so I'd better pay it.

So here I am, driving on the freeway, in search of ... not the phone company, no! ... the Sentinel office, to subscribe to the paper for a year. Whatever. The freeway ends at an intersection and I ponder for a moment before turning right. The road peters out and I am outside, walking on a gravel path. I arrive at a storage shed and see a glossy paper fragment on the floor, just beyond the doorway. I pick it up. It's a logo for a surfing equipment company, with some evaluation notes dashed out on it in cursive. One fragment reads, "ha ha ha!"

An old man approaches from behind me on the gravel path. I turn around and ask him where I can find the sentinel building. He offers to take me there. I follow him along another path through some underbrush. At first, we are both having a friendly chat, but as we continue along the path the conversation drops away and we trudge in silence. We jog lightly over the roofs of a row of tightly-parallel-parked cars. We walk up along a network of wooden bridges, constructed of many horizontal boards supporting two flat, straight boards, sort of like train tracks. There's a bridge over Fiddle Creek near Sierra City with boards laid in this same pattern.

The bridges slope up and the boards are slippery. At the top of one I have to flail for balance. The old man notices this over his shoulder and smiles understandingly. When we step off the bridge and onto a path, our conversation rises from the ashes and we are chatting away again, about the town, the weather, and our histories. The path ambles around a big bush and I see a low building with large eaves, supported by beams. Many people are working under the eaves, behind counters and in booths, as though a chunk of the fisherman's wharf has been airlifted here by mistake.

I part ways with the old man and stroll around. I observe a group of people in white uniforms messing with stacks of boxes with 'Sentinel' written on them. I ask someone where the office is, and they point down the row of booths a ways.

I begin walking, but I fade away before I get there. Instead, a voice-over begins, of the manager of the Sentinel office. He raves about how he would have a paper to give to the masses, but for the main Sentinal building in some other city, where all the decisions are made.

The main Sentinel building. It is a cube-shaped maze of translucent walls, populated by Sentinel employees, all of whom have no heads- only truncated lobes where their necks end. They like to pretend that this is not so, however.

Our Hero, apparently a little seal-shaped blob, has infiltrated the depths of the Sentinel building. There it is, we can see it from outside the building thanks to the translucent walls. The blob is at an intersection of three hallways. To pass a series of opening and closing doors, blob morphs into a disembodied head and floats down the hallway at just the right speed to pass each door. It floats around a corner and into a large translucent room, filled partway with a sloping hill of fine yellow sand. Part of the room is under a few inches of blue water- about half, actually, because the water stops at an invisible plane, bisecting the room vertically.

The blob, back in a roughly-humanoid seal form, lays down on the yellow beach, with its' head against the translucent wall. The right half of its' body is submerged in the blue water, while the left half remains in the open air. Beyond one of the translucent walls we see a woman floating in the air, putting on a dress and playing with her hair in a mirror.

Suddenly the water level in the beach room rockets up, filling both sides of the room halfway horizontally. "Whoah!" yells our hero. "Not half! Hold it!" The blob yells some command that sets the water level back the way it was, and leaps to its' feet, angry.

The humanoid seal is through fooling around. Crazy Sentinel building. It runs to a wall in the beach room and pulls down on a knob, flipping a large switch. The hero has shut off the illusion power in the nearby rooms. The woman in the dress beyond the wall fades away to a colorless naked body with no head, and floats gently to the floor.

Our Hero runs around the building throwing switches as it goes. In one translucent room is a large bed, on which two women and a man are fucking away in a threesome. Their heads, skin, and body characteristics fade away, revealing three indistinguishable black mannequins, one of whom is wearing a wetsuit and a large plastic strap-on dildo. Another body points at the body in the wetsuit and giggles, "You're quimming in urine!" All three bodies begin to laugh heartily. Don't ask me how they manage this with no heads.

Another room is equipped like a gym. People in leotards are floating up into the air and joining hands in geometric patterns. They fade like the others, and some of them begin to stretch and elongate. The stress of holding the pattern proves too much for one body, and it snaps in half at the waist like a gummi-bear. Uh oh.

Outside the building stands the mayor of the town, some cartoonish Simpsons character. He has turned completely green. While he rakes back his long, crazy hair, we see the Sentinel building undergoing a change in the background. It is becoming one big party house. Banners unfurl and fires kindle. The town is relying on the mayor to stop this chaos, but secretly the mayor is planning to run deep into the building and party instead. He makes some voice-over about finally getting what he deserves, sounding like Major Quimby but looking like a green Principal Skinner with two looong spikes of hair like rabbit ears. Hmmm.

Everything descends into chaos and I wake up.