Monday, February 9, 2009

Fever Dream

Something like being buried alive. Cold earth everywhere. Damn cold. Over my lips so breathing comes only in dirty, shallow sucks. Eyes pulsing with the beat of my heart and so hard I can feel it in the back of my skull. My head. Like I was smacked with a shovel.

Not moving for maybe hours or years or maybe minutes. The ridge around my nostrils fills with yellow sweat. So too my forehead. My eyelids. Something like darkness, eventually it gives way.

Skyscrapers made of tree branches made of Styrofoam. And inside the elevators move back and forth—never up or down—but that does not matter. Security guards at the front desk remove my coat and underneath I have nothing. No jacket, no sweater, no shirt. No skin, no muscles, no bones. Nothing.

“You’re looking for the twenty-second floor,” says nobody in particular.

And they are right, of course. Though this is the first I’ve heard of it. But in the elevator there is no button for the twenty-second floor. So all I do is hit the button for the second floor twice. Very fast. And hope for the best.

Metal doors part and this is not the twenty-second floor. And this is not the building. But this is where I am so this is where I should be.

“C’mon. If we don’t get out soon, the fish won’t be much for biting,” says a man who looks nothing like my father but is my father. I don’t even question, I follow.

At the pond, there are no fish. So I dive in, swim five yards down, I bite my own line and I reel myself in. I fillet myself. Marinate in lemon and butter and pepper. I light a wood fire under a portable grill, and I cook myself until I am no longer pink in the middle. Then I dine and I am good.

My back is twisted into knots that are twisted into knots all the way down to the base of my spine.

Eyeballs throbbing so hard, I peel the lids open with two fingers. They are gummy and wet. The ceiling is white. Please be sweat. I’ve soaked all through the sheets.


dave hambidge said...

A deliciously vivid delerious nightmare. From experience?


Derek Tench said...

Thanks. I was sick as hell a week ago. No dreams just like this but it got me thinking how disturbing fever dreams can be.