The Red Shirt Diaries #7

My first bad dream of the last week was clearly a sign of watching too much Supernatural as I returned to the series to complete the last of the 11th season over the course of the a couple consecutive evenings.

It’s no surprise at all that I woke up suddenly to the reality that a Bela Lugosi looking creature was not grabbing my ankle to drag me out of bed.

No, Deizel, he was not dressed as a sailor, either.

I can even attribute bad dream number two of this week to the fact that I have been living in a state of shocked disbelief over the last two weeks as America’s new president essentially waves his dick around at everyone.

Plus, I wrote about my feelings on that topic last night, ate a large amount of emotional food with a couple glasses of wine and then went to bed.

In one of the most surreal dreams that I can recall – which is saying something for my dreams, which kind of begin at “surreal” – I was drinking at a bar when in walked you-know-who.

I know, drinking at a bar isn’t surreal for me by any stretch of the imagination.

But the fact that then he goes on a rampage, killing 49 people…that’s kind of surreal.

I had mentioned in my blog post from last night that I hadn’t felt this affected and shocked as a person since the Pulse Massacre, and guess where I figure I was?  If there’s credit to be given here, it’s that unlike Omar Mateen, the Cheeto-In-Chief wasn’t firing a gun…he was killing people with his actions, tweets and Executive Orders.

He grabbed someone by her pussy:  dead.

He breaks for a moment and checks his phone, tweeting, “You’re overrated” and someone else collapses:  dead.

He critically looks someone up and down and says, “Wrong”:  dead.

He mimics someone with a disability:  dead.

He whips out a padded folder with an executive order in it, signs it and throws it onto the dance floor, where several people are hit by it and hit the ground:  dead.

It goes on and on in slow motion for what seems like years.

Four years, I’m assuming.  We’re all just trapped in there.  It’s happening so slowly that I get to witness areas of the bar where people aren’t yet aware of what’s going on, they’re just blissfully sipping and chatting and dancing…totally oblivious.

Kind of like our current administration, except these people look happy.  Ecstatic compared to any of the folks in this administration…most of whom look as if they haven’t shit since before Woodstock.

He tweets out “Fake” and several more people drop amid a cacophony of tweet alerts:  dead, dead, dead and more dead.  I note the irony of people in a gay bar dying when someone calls them fake…but it is bittersweet.  Actually, just bitter.

I’m now hiding in the kitchen with several others, peeking through the swinging doors as the rampage seems to be losing steam.  As I peer through the round window in shock, a Marine that just magically appeared by his side sets a briefcase on the bar and opens.  Keys are inserted, digits are punched and a countdown clock begins.

I run into the kitchen and start tearing food and shelves out of the oversized fridge and crawl inside.

I can’t – and yet…strangely can – believe that the asshole kills himself with a nuke.

Once I woke up – and this friggin’ nightmare, like out current shituation is not over – I couldn’t believe the similarities between what I assume to be Omar Mateen and our fervent Cheeto’s mental state and the culture of mental health neglect that created them.

Repressed by culture, religion and/or overbearing parental figures.

Situationally isolated from a peer group by race or class.

Aggressively seeking to dominate everyone around them to disprove their own feelings of impotence.

I also spent some time thinking about how forced parenthood leads to mentality ill children:  neglect, abuse, escapism into drugs and alcohol or bullying.  How does a child cope with the feelings they must be able to sense or intuit about not being wanted?  As my parents’ favorite child – of the year I was born – I can’t imagine firsthand how that happens or feels.  But while I was stirring this insane dream around, my second cousins popped into my mind.

I know exactly why.

My first cousins were my closest cousins growing up.  The children of my grandmother’s sister and her husband.  Visiting them was exciting and terrible at the same time.  Exciting because they lived on a farm.  Terrible because they seemed to believe that the farm existed in the 17th century.

Only The Lawrence Welk Show on the TV – the only show they ever seemed to watch and which somehow always seemed to play during our visits – and the equally 180-degrees-from-modern-pop-music loaded Wurlitzer proved we were still in the 1970s when we visited.

There was women’s work.

The kids were all home schooled.

There was a grotto to the Mother Mary in their home, although I may be confusing that with their compound…er, home from later in life.

My great aunt never spoke out against her husband, and my great uncle never spoke, so much as growled or commanded.

The viability of their children seemed to diminish over time.  Starting with what seemed like two perfectly normal girls, then moving on to a string of less and less functional boys.  I think it was basically Mother Nature picking up the vibe my great aunt was putting down…perhaps the children’s diminished functionality was a result of Mother Nature trying to give my great aunt a break from raising and schooling another farm hand.

Who knows?

What I do know is that by the fifth kid, my picture of unrecognized and unmanaged “special needs” was complete.  Whenever I remember my male second cousins, I visualize the eldest as a prototype of his father, bullying his two younger brothers and calling it love when it was really just therapeutic mis-management of his isolationist upbringing manifesting its rage.  I remember the two youngest as faceless toddlers doing stupid shit like running full speed into a wall.

Faceless, because in my memory, they each always have a bucket on their heads.  I think the buckets were stolen from where the older girls made their mud pies in preparation for growing into the women who would eventually marry twin brothers.

In the same ceremony.

american-gothicI know I’m not painting a strong enough image of how different that side of my family was…or is?  Let me just say this about the folks who are the faces of all Cheeto voters in my mind as I type:  when my great aunt finally divorced my great uncle – which I cheered – it was after my own parents’ divorce, which thankfully didn’t stick.  He shows up at my mom’s door, according to family legend, and drawls out something along the lines of “Your kids need a father and my boys need takin’ care of…”

I just imagine my speechless mom slowly closing the door as he stands on her porch.

But the childhood of those boys…that’s what I imagine Omar Mateen and the head of the Embarrassment Branch of our government experienced growing up.  Sure, not on a farm 30 miles and 300 years outside of town, but that same type of minimal parenting and social isolation…it’s not good for kids.  I was an odd duck kid and my parents made me participate in the shit other kids were doing:  intramural sports – which was so inadvisable, street games like hide and seek with the other kids from the cul-de-sac, birthday parties that I’m sure my cooler siblings were invited to and I went along as part of the package.  I just don’t imagine people who grow up to behave so contrary to the norm to have endured – er – had that type of parenting.

So, lucky me.

Until now, anyway.

End on a fun note?

I didn’t die in Trump’s “suicide”.  I got to live in the nuclear winter that followed.  I emerged from my industrial fridge cocoon in the North Park Blocks outside my building, which is weird, given that my dream began in Orlando, right?

But, dreams.

I go into my building and head up the stairs to my place, because…no elevator, right?  My unit is in the back of the building, which is nestled between a still under construction hotel and the street facing units of my building.  The place is pretty well destroyed, but partially protected from the blast by the elevator shaft.  I think to pack together what canned food I can before heading out to find more suitable lodging.  Since it’s my kitchen, there’s more canned cat food than anything else.  Broken bottles of wine rest in their overturned racks as a grim reminder of the one staple I kept at home for meals.

As I’m entertaining the dark thought that I might have to consider alternative food sources, it occurs to me that Myrtle is nowhere to be found.  Unsurprisingly, really.

I am heading for the stairwell when it occurs to me that I should check the other units on my floor.  The doors are blow completely off the street facing units and I can see the haze of the nuclear winter through them, so I opt for my neighbor’s – whose blog name I have forgotten, but I recall that it was a completely not subtle acknowledgement of his all American slash wholesome hottiness – place.  It’s not trespassing since his door is most definitely more off the hinges than on.  Thank you, shock wave.  I’m picking around in the debris as I head toward the kitchen to forage imagining how it must have looked pre-nuclear holocaust.  My foot catches on something and when I lift it from the ash, it has a leather harness hanging off of it.

My all American hottie neighbor had a secret.

Make that, my most likely dead all American hottie neighbor…but The Silver Fox would be gloating right now because he used to tell me that he had seen my neighbor kissing a guy outside on one or two occasions.

a-boy-and-his-dogBefore the thought is even completed, I’m on the stairs and heading across the park to The Fox’s Lair when I run into him in the park.

With George.  Of course his inherited pooch survived, making my The Fox Don Johnson from A Boy and His Dog.

I here I thought this was gonna be a Thunderdome-type dream.

What, you don’t have those?

The Fox and I lament how the absence of coffee would add to our post apocalyptic catch up sesh in the park and make a plan to get out of town since the survivors all seem to be radicalized and hungry.  I suspect I get his drift all too well, so we decide to hike out toward my family’s homes outside of town.  My brother and brother-in-law are both former military and my bro-in-law is law enforcement, and we figure we could do with the skill sets inherent with those vocations for the foreseeable future.

We pack up and head out on our journey.

I don’t know why the two day hike finds me holding out such assured hope that my family has likewise survived, but I upon discovering the error of my assumption, my grief is somewhat mitigated by the fact that they will be spared the future left to humanity as well as the warmth of knowing my mother and sister would both approve of the faith that sustained me on the journey.

The Fox and I decide to keep heading out Highway 30, finally taking that road trip to Astoria that I’ve been not so subtly suggesting to The Silver Fox for the last couple of years.  Although, I’m fairly certain that the breweries I was anxious to visit will still be around at this point, it seems like as good a plan for our final days on earth as any.  I’m awoken in our cave-campsite on the second night of our hike to the mouth of the Columbia by George’s incessant barking.

Of course, what would normally annoy me, terrifies me given the current circumstances.  I turn to check on The Fox, only to discover that he’s not there.  I let my eyes adjust and try to listen for movement, I creep on my stomach toward the opening of the cave.

All I hear is that damn barking.

Until I don’t.

I quickly belly crawl as deep into the cave as possible before I hear intruders rustling in our – I guess now it’s just my – campsite.  From where I am perched, I can hear the nonsense Bible versus they are quoting about how the lord hath provided for them yet again.

I can vaguely make out a red ball cap that one of them is wearing and I suspect it was made in what used to be China.

Those people.

I am powerless to do anything to defend myself or my makeshift campsite and resign myself to waiting them out.  I am not afraid that they might find me, nor of what would happen to me if they did.

They leave.

I lay there planning my next steps; ultimately deciding that whether I’m to live or die, I’m going to do it where I call home.  Magically, I’m standing in front of my building as dusk settles…it’s not so much something I visually observe through the grayness of our nuclear winter so much as simply sense.

I also sense that I am not alone.

I begin backing toward one of the giant tree stumps that used to shade the park B.T. and I can see something darting around my peripheral vision.

Something hits me from behind with a feral hiss and I fall to the ground, rolling onto all fours as I look for my attacker…knowing who it is.

I am jolted awake just as the yellow green eyes of an only slightly more feral than normal looking Myrtle runs directly at me…with the instant realization that I had slept through the whole night.

I hadn’t woken once in almost eight hours, not even to pee, which is way out of the ordinary.

Experiencing that fucked up dream seems like way too high a price to pay for a night of physically undisturbed sleep.

Anyone want a cat?

The Red Shirt Diaries #7

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