Author Topic: Woke from a Dream and Wrote This and I Don't Know Here It Is  (Read 30199 times)


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Woke from a Dream and Wrote This and I Don't Know Here It Is
« on: October 29, 2016, 12:51:36 AM »
I Have A Fear

“…and so, while I guess, there’s not, like an actual actual reason I’m afraid of them, I’m just like totally freaked out by giant squids or krakens or whatever you want to call them. I know we’re landlocked and their cell walls explode above a certain crush depth and all that shit, but just the idea of one is enough. I mean—the word giant is in the name right? Think about what that means, you know? GIANT.

“Damn,” says Tyler, “no more kalimari for this one!”

Everyone laughs. No one means it. Two because it isn’t funny. Two because they don’t know what a “kalimari” is. One because he wasn’t really paying attention. Tyler because he’s desperately trying to keep up the façade of normality that holds back a crushing tide of existential despair. It’s that kind of crowd.

“SOooooo who else?” Tyler beams, slipping the ‘light-hearted, conversation-starting mischief’ mask on that black orb of depression he keeps trying to masquerade as a head. “Who else wants to share their greatest fear this Halloween night?”

“Oh c’mon, Ty” Magda says, nervously scanning these chrome fixtures indicating a club too-expensive for her to keep drinking at. “ ‘Give me a list of your greatest fears?’ It’s a bit transparent as an evil plan?”

Her catty-ness is not trying to hide anything vulnerable from the group. Magda just can’t stomach to listening to Tyler much longer. She’d always kind of frenemied him, but ever since a mutual acquaintance had described him to her as ‘the edgiest youth pastor at Bible Camp’ the image had kind of stuck, and she couldn’t stand him any longer.


Tyler makes this soundboard-perfect maniacal laugh in response. Everyone laughs, but weaker this time. Tyler feels his mask slip.

Then Greg says, “I have a fear.”

It is not expected for Greg to participate in this Halloween icebreaker– or any other conversation, for that matter – due to the fact that pretty much everyone knows that publicly listing his greatest fears in any form of public speaking, especially at a swank club, would have to be, ironically, one of Greg’s greatest fears.

But no. It’s much worse than that.

(Wait…why was he invited again? Does anyone know? You?)

Greg says, “I get this feeling sometimes that I can see through time. Not in a like a hippy-dippy way, but in the same way you can see chess moves or think in…what is it?...counterfactual terms. I think that’s the word. So, I feel like I can see events, if not perfectly, then with a pretty large degree of accuracy. And this sensation gets way worse when I’m at points I can recognize as big choices in my life. Not the Butterfly Effect little stuff, but major decisions which you know are make-or-break moments. Moments where you can literally picture Door Number A and a Door Number B. Where to go to school. Which job to take. Marriage. Kids.  Stuff like that.”

“I can see these sorts of things like branching paths, and it’s easy for me to think these visions of possible futures are correct because, what with all the other choices between my current crossroads and future destination, I’m not even going to recognize that other road by the time I reach the next intersection. Like, that other path is going to be so in the rearview that it’ll be invisible, and I’ll have nothing to compare my past predictions to except the persistence of the present…which is about the most persistent thing there is, when you really think about it. “

“Sorry…rambling again. Anyway, my fear is that when I’m inside these moments and really believing in these alternate timelines, I look ahead and see the best path – the full Voltaire best-of-all-possible-worlds package – and the man I see there totally disgusts me. I’m afraid that, from my current position in life, I’m always going to view success with this sort of knee-jerk, reactionary scorn that I’ll never be able to root out. I worry that I see my best self – waiting down there to become me at the end of a very clear path of choices leading to the best possible outcome – I worry that I see myself there and I just find that guy to be the. Most. Insufferable. Asshole.”

“Like, I fear that I’m so fucking programmed with the need to hate myself, that I view the mere possibility that I might be better one day as this tragic story that’s yet to happen. This moment of pyrrhic victory I’ll do anything I can to avoid. No fate worse than the smarmy, insufferable dickhead I’m just certain I’ll become if I let something good happen.”

“So anyway, Tyler, my Halloween fear is that I see these choices every second of every day, and my unshakable need to hate myself consistently makes me take the worst path with even consciously registering I’m doing it. I’m afraid I make the worse choice constantly. I’m afraid I’m making this mistake right now: telling you this, sitting in this nice restaurant with friends. I worry that this one is the one: the choice that will cause me the most pain in all the possible worlds, a quantum collapse of a life. I worry that I’m always going to be here because I’m always going to choose to be here, and whatever happens I’m always going to believe…truly believe…that I deserve it.”

Greg was a real hit at costume parties, but Tyler didn’t invite him to his next one. Tyler also didn’t have a next one.

Magda felt a vague sort of attraction to Greg after the speech – in a weird way, obviously – but she wrote it off in the next moment as something that would probably never work out.

The two other friends didn’t know what the majority of those words had meant, and they had joined the one who wasn’t really paying much attention.



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Re: Woke from a Dream and Wrote This and I Don't Know Here It Is
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2016, 08:31:27 AM »
That's a good Halloween read.

Everyone is Greg's alternative future selves, arguing for Greg to chose their path so they'll survive/come into being?
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Re: Woke from a Dream and Wrote This and I Don't Know Here It Is
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2016, 01:46:53 AM »
that's good stuff man, i would love to read more. if you ever have more.