I guess the three days off was insufficient to get my brain to fully shut down and purge. I have always been a champion sleeper. I could sleep anywhere. Fall asleep fast. Be dreaming in ten minutes. I woke just after 2 am from a nightmare. I never have nightmares, at least I used to never have nightmares. I have them now with disturbing frequency. The wrinkle is that while I have always been a very lucid dreamer, I could always remember my dreams. For all their layers and complexities, for the often ridiculous cast of characters, I could remember it all. Not these nightmares. The wake me and then fade into the fog, eery and disturbing. They leave a feeling or a single image burned into my mind’s eye. What keeps me awake is my natural (and obviously problematic) tendency to Rubick’s Cube everything trying to make sense of the nonsensical. I ask, “Where the hell did that come from?” as if the subconscious mind keeps an inventory of the mental materials used to construct its dreams. If that were the case, my mind could flip the dream over and look through the materials used to build the gruesome and macabre as if Ikea had assembled the pieces and parts necessary to create the nightmare capable of waking and keeping me awake.

All I remember is the candy department at the Sears & Roebuck store in Cutler Ridge. They sold candy by weight, popped popcorn and roasted nuts. In the dream I can feel the heat generated by the lamps used to keep the cashews warm. I can hear the small metal scoop digging into the store brand M&Ms. Behind the counterĀ  and in the hardware department adjacent to the candy department there are bodies. And blood. There is blood everywhere. The dream pans over the counter and then to the left to view the blood and the gore. The store is silent. No Muzak. No walkie-talkies. There are no sirens outside. And that is all I got. I am awake and I have been lying in bed teasing at the image trying to figure out where the hell it came from and what in the last three days triggers such detris to percolate up from my subconscious. I got nothing. And I definitely have eliminated any chance of sleeping any more today.

This will be a long day.

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