SPOILER ALERT! What follows are the twist endings of ten of my all-time best dreams.
(1) I close the medicine chest and in the mirror I see the man who killed the dolphins, standing in the bathtub and covered in dolphin gore. He holds a long knife, and lunges toward me. Terrified, I am unable to move from the spot, and expect at any moment to be sliced to pieces. His body seems suspended in midair as it moves centimeter by horrific centimeter, ever closer to me. Tired of waiting, I leave the bathroom and travel back to third grade where I am expected to take a pop quiz testing my knowledge of the multiplication tables. All but one question is “4 x 3 =”. The answer to the odd question reveals the name of the killer (“George Clooney.” Not the famous actor George Clooney, but the dolphin killer George Clooney, who can’t help me get my spec script produced).
(2) Knowing that most cavemen hate the water, I stand on the edge of the lake and laugh at the caveman standing on the other side. Then, shockingly, he dives into the lake and begins swimming toward me in a relaxed but speedy movement that shows he’s been swimming a long time. Frantic and confused, I turn to run, and find myself in the hardware store that had been robbed by the religious zealots. The clerk who I thought was my friend turns out to be the brother of the “caveman,” who has just entered the hardware store, no longer wearing his caveman outfit. The two of them attack me with the same power tools that my father had once tried to teach me to use.
(3) The curtain rises and Carol Channing and Marilu Henner, in a pair of matching sequin-covered jumpsuits and top hats, take the stage. Their opening number is a rousing paean to their enduring friendship called “Carolu!,” which also gives the show its title. I am forced to admit that the show is good enough to save the theater, but for some reason the critic John Simon, sitting three rows ahead of me, disagrees.
(4) The bus driver turns toward me and I realize that it is my mother. In the same voice I’d heard emanating from the mysterious figure peeking at me and my girlfriend through my window on the night of the thunderstorm, she exclaims, “Why are you looking at me like that? Just pretend I’m not even here, like you always do!” Suddenly, she loses control of the bus, and it drives over a cliff-- falling, ever falling, seemingly never to land.
(5) My talk show is a failure in the ratings, and the organized crime boss who sponsored the show has called me into his office. Thinking I’m to be a “made man,” I step into the room feeling cocky, and I’m shocked to discover that I’m in the kitchen from the restaurant where I had my first job. I cannot leave until all the dishes are clean, and there is an infinite number of dishes. I ask one of my coworkers if this is just a dream, explaining that if it is just a dream, I’m not going to bother. He laughs and says, “If this were a dream, would I do this?” He then just stands there, staring at me, doing nothing.
(6) The man I thought was my best friend from grade school is actually a demon from hell, sent to torment me as part of a plan to steal my motorboat. When he steals the boat he laughs a laugh that echoes throughout time, and as the boat pulls away from the dock I see my girlfriend from first grade in the window, waving at me forlornly. She had stowed away in my memory, just as I’d asked her to!
(7) My girlfriend rescues her poodle from the burning house, leaving me lying helpless in the middle of the room with a heavy wooden beam covering my legs. As she passes me, she says, “You can save yourself, but my princess is hungry!”
(8) I slowly come to realize that the woman I see at the far end of the arroyo is a woman I once spoke to in La Posada at the University of New Mexico. Now that I am single, we are free to go out! Anxious to explain the situation- I’m sure she’ll be pleased- I start to run toward her, but the faster I run, the further away she seems. I decide that I should jump, so I begin jumping, each time rising higher in the air, but making no forward progress. On my last jump I can see that she is speaking to my mother, who is introducing her to the man for whom my college girlfriend left me.
(9) The comedienne Roseanne reveals her diet secrets, which involve lopping off her own limbs. She lays on the couch, armless and legless. "I lawst a good fif'y-six'y poun's this way, easy," she drones. I'm appalled both by her actions, and by the fact that our society favors thinness, which seems to have driven her to such a desperate act.
(10) The doctor who has just told me that I have a terrible, life-threatening disease tips over, and I realize that he’s a cardboard cut-out. I rise and step over the flat body, making my way to the mirror on the far side of the room. In my reflection I see that all my teeth are loose, and I realize that no one could ever truly love me.