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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Blonds and Ghost Recon

I was at school this morning, only it was nighttime, and the school looked more like a fancy hotel with plush carpets, polished woodwork, real crystal and gilded bannisters––certainly not the school I went to. Anyway, we were finishing a critique in one of my art classes, and I was surrounded by people I don't actually know in real life, but that seemed perfectly normal there in my class. While we were finishing up the last critiques, I was ogling one of the pretty girls in class (Becca, you were not in this dream, so I wasn't technically looking at other girls, not when I was single and there was no one to make them into other girls…) and trying to figure out how to ask her on a date.

I don't remember much about her, and I'm horrible with names even in my dreams, but she had short blond hair and somewhat impish features, including a dazzling smile and mischievously happy blue eyes. Her appearance was of particular interest because I have always been more attracted to brown or black-haired girls with dark eyes and darker, Spanish-American features. Either way, I don't remember anyone else from the critique though, my attention having been entirely on her.

Class ended and everyone started packing their stuff up. I was slow in putting my paintings away, and by the time I had it all packed, the girl from my class had already left. There was a sense of urgency as I left the classroom and started looking up and down the fancy-wallpapered halls for her, as if this were maybe a final critique before the semester ended. I spotted her as she reached the elevators at the far end of the hall, past the fountain and surrounding jungle of potted plants.

I knew I would not reach the elevator in time, so I went for the stairs. Unlike the emergency stairway tucked away into some out-of-sight doorway at the schools that I am used to, this school had a grand staircase that curved down the center of the magnificent front hall toward the first floor landing, 40 feet or so below it. Another fountain was at the center of the hall below, right before the landing, and surrounded by marble copies of Polykleitos' Doryphoros Spear-Bearer, Praxiteles' Aphrodite of Knidos, and other Greek masterpieces.

I rushed to the stairs but found them full of students; I would not be able to get past them in time to catch the blond girl as she left the elevator and exited the building. So I did what any sane man would have in these circumstances––I vaulted the bannister, 40 feet above the ground, clung to it with a chicken-wing hold and slid all of the way down to the landing.

"Get out of my way!" I yelled as my momentum increased, and I hit the landing at a run.

The next thing I know, I'm outside of the school, climbing onto a city bus––except that it isn't a bus. It is really just the back of someone's pickup truck with fixed seats in it, but the other passengers and I don't seem to notice that detail. Apparently, I have concluded the scene with the blond girl, because I seem to be content and relaxed, not running around frantically looking for her. But I don't know whether or not she said she would go out with me, as I am failing in the stupid-grin and cocky-stride department.

Next to me on the "bus" is a bald black man in a blue suit, late thirties or early forties. He is smiling about something and beating out a rhythm on his backpack. After a moment, he extends his hand and introduces himself. For the life of me, I can't remember what he says his name is, but his accent is North-African, and he introduces himself as an immigrant to the States as of 15 years ago or so, having come from a small country that I haven't heard of, between Sudan and Mauritania, and South of Hohenstein and the Outer Banks (Sudan and Mauritania are actually on opposite ends of the northern Africa; Hohenstein is actually in Germany, and is not even a country; and the Outer Banks are in North Carolina––but in my dream, all of this made sense).

He points at my Marine Corps ball cap and mentions that he served in the military when he first came to the US. We strike up a conversation and I learn that he made it all of the way into the Navy SEALs, where he took part in a super-secret cryogenics experiment. Now, the detached non-dreaming part of my brain seems to be ok with the casual disclosure of government information, and even the sci-fi-esque cryogenics part, but it becomes suspicious about the Navy SEALs part––and justifiably so––until we have conversed more and he has convinced me that he is indeed what he says he is. Every fake vet that I have ever heard of claims some sort of elite service, from Marine Infantry and Army Rangers, to Delta Force, Navy SEALs and British SAS; the glory, attention and self-imagined sense of superiority are part of the reason that they do it, so it stands to reason that not too many fake vets are claiming mail room and admin clerk as their legacy.

Anyway, after a few minutes of conversation with the guy, where he knows the terminology and answers the questions correctly, I am satisfied that he is indeed a former SEAL. It is at this point that he seems to understand that I believe him and will listen to stranger things, because suddenly he goes into detail about the cryogenics experiment.

Ten years ago, he entered a government-controlled cryogenic freeze through some agency that didn't ever officially exist. Physically for him, time stopped and he ceased to age or to have any bodily functions. But mentally he was still awake. For a while, he was lost inside of his own mind, reliving his memories as perfectly as if he were there again. But after a while, he found that he could detach his mind or spirit from his body and that he had become aware of the world outside and could travel mentally or spiritually through it. This was the plan of the agency scientists all along, and they had employed psychic mediums to bring him back and train him to be a psychic spy and assassin. For ten years, he slipped ethereally in and out of the meeting places of terrorists and foreign diplomats, taking information and lives as ordered by the American government. Finally though, he tired of it all and demanded to be returned to his body and former life.

It had taken months of hearings and visits with high-ranking officials that always tried to talk him out of it, but finally he was allowed to resign. They presumably had other incorporeal assassins anyway, so they probably all still had their jobs, and they must have trusted him enough not to keep too tight a reign on his post-service activities, or he probably wouldn't be in the back of a truck telling me all about it.

Now, back in reality in our current day, he is exploring the tangible world as if returned from the dead, enjoying the simple things in life like the spring breeze on his skin, and the taste of good food. But he has a secret that he feels he needs to pass on to someone else. He can still detach his mind or spirit from his body at will, and he is pretty sure that he can teach me how to do it as well.

Why is he telling me this, I ask, a little incredulous and alarmed. He leans closer and lets me know that the government isn't always to be trusted, that they use these psychic assassins in less than honorable ways fairly often, and that there needs to be a body of similarly capable people willing and ready to stop them.

Well duh, I think. I've known for a while that you can't trust the government. And being trained in some poltergeist martial arts sounds really cool. So now I am getting excited by the what this guy is offering, even if it is rather nonchalantly in the back of someone's pick-up truck public transit.

That, unfortunately, is when Becca shakes me awake and lets me know that it is my turn to get up with the kids.

*Legal Disclaimers: Government officials to me can be compared to middle school kids––taken one on one or even in small groups, they're not too bad, and most of them can be trusted. But if you get any sizable group of them together, then they become rampaging little hellions drunk with their own imagined kewlness and power, and intent on making the rest of the world suffer for their own amusement and prosperity.

For that very reason, I am currently putting out job applications to the federal government so that I too can abuse my fellow countrymen for a paycheck.

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