05 July 2008

Dream Plots

My late writing partner Teri Smith suffered horrific health issues, but they did have one unexpected benefit: painkiller dreams.

One problem or another was constantly sending her to the doctor or the emergency room. I’d call as soon as I received the bad word, worried about her condition—and evil person that I am, the progress of whatever story we were working on at the time.

“No problem,” she’d say. “They’ve got me on codeine [or Vicodin or Percocet]. We can talk now, and I’ll have something for you in the morning.”

“How?” I’d ask. I didn’t—and still don’t—take much in the way of painkillers. I’ve been prescribed codeine exactly three times in my life, and in every case I used it for less than 24 hours before I shifted back to over-the-counter meds.
“Oh, I’ll dream it.”

And she would. In living color and stereo, populated by our characters or characters from books, television or movies. She once dreamed an entire fanfic of Methos, from Highlander, The Series, in a Mexican cantina getting hit upon by a bar girl who hoped he’d take out her boyfriend for her. Other times it would be Looney Tunes Warner Brothers neglected to create. I think she even managed Smell-o-Vision once. I didn’t know you could smell in dreams. But Teri did.

My dreams, even on meds, were so much more prosaic. If I was worried about a presentation, I’d invariably dream myself naked behind the podium. I still run through the traditional Italian dream catalogue on a regular basis: bugs and rodents equal lots of little problems, dogs and cats equal bigger problems, while babies are full-scale disasters. Dead people give you friendly warnings and advice, but brides in white are harbingers of death.

Since my message dreams are invariably spot-on, they must be “true sendings” from what the ancient Greeks called the Gate of Horn. But I wouldn’t mind a “false dream” every so often, particularly if it had a plot and didn’t involve me falling from a great height. Teri’s Ivory Gate Productions were always so much more fun.

Now it looks like I’m going to get my chance. I’m on the calendar for a little surgery next week. Nothing major wrong with me. Nothing major about the surgery, either, but the doctor said to expect a fair amount of pain the first couple of days. And he prescribed Percocet.

Remember, I’m the girl who goes to sleep on half a codeine. Pain and Percocet will send me over the moon. Something tells me I’d better take a notebook with me to record the trip.

Wish me pleasant dreams.
Jean Marie
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