Dream Asylum

I don't pretend to understand them.


We are carving and assembling a giant sandstone statue in a secret underground chamber in the middle of the desert. The supervisor, an insane genius, conducts his workers as they fit an arm onto one of the figures in the statue. The arm is made of stone sections joined by interwoven reed strips. The mastermind's idea is to make a life-size replica of two gods, large enough for people to climb around inside the hollow parts. The route the spelunkers naturally take will describe a path that is the key to some extremely powerful puzzle.

To distract the workers I ask a couple of them whether they prefer the coke or the pepsi we have with us. My archeologist partner, a counteragent like me, blows up one of the computers and makes it appear like a 'crash' to the computer illiterate people we work with. I act surprised when I hear the explosion, and stroll over to the ruined PC. A desktop case, blown open like a flower, is smoldering on the pale yellow sand. "Looks like a hard drive crash" I announce.

Shortly after this, a term of mercenaries approaches the entrance to our cave. They are directing a long line of affluent-looking hostages from a hijacked plane. We rush around grabbing and loading weapons, and hide in corners, creating a standoff between our team and the mercenaries. Guns are being pointed everywhere while the hostages mill about, trying not to get in anyone's way, uncertain of whom to back, and of their fate in general.

After some shots are fired and a few people die, the mastermind and the leader of the mercenaries yell for a cease-fire. The mastermind grabs my hand and hauls me off to a room deeper in the caves, to participate in a meeting with some of his other officers. My friend is not among them. Maybe he's been killed.

The cavern room looks exactly like my younger sister's bedroom in my old Scotts Valley house. We're all sitting on the bed, discussing our next move. The insane genius asks me what I can do to help them, and I get up and walk to a window on the eastern wall, left of the doorway. There's no window like this in my sister's actual room, but if there were, it would open onto the upstairs porch railing.

I slide open the window and cool night air billows the lacy curtains. There's the railing. I tell the boss I can climb out to the porch with my gun, make my way around the house, and ambush them from behind one at a time. Since this is my sister's room, I'm the only one who can use the window. My boss exclaims that this is a great idea.

While I'm crawling out onto the porch I realize that this would be a fine time to escape, but I decide to stay around and help the mastermind, just because it would be more fun to shoot mercenaries. I do end up killing a lot of them. The next morning, I stand around chatting with my co-workers in the driveway. The ex-hostages are wandering around the property randomly, trying to organize themselves, and I nonchalantly shoot the ones that wander too close, as though they were of no more significance than mosquitoes.