Monday, May 12, 2008

Sweet Dreams

Most of my postings on this blog are religiously oriented. However, I love to write and probably don't share enough of my writing with others. Here is a short story I wrote a while ago called Sweet Dreams. Please feel free to post comments telling me you liked it, hated it, how it could be better, etc. Enjoy.

“Doc, you just don’t realize how much pressure the average accountant is under. The never-ending deadlines make me crazy. You know we really have very little to do with a company’s revenues, however, when it comes to financial reports we’re expected to do magic. My boss always tells me that he expects me to make two plus two equal whatever he needs it to be. Keeping the shareholders happy is always stressed. When our stock price takes a dip, you just know that if it doesn’t turn around soon that layoffs can’t be far behind. Accountants are often considered nothing more than a necessary evil at any company. Most executives wish they could survive without us, but they know they can’t. The bankers and investors want us around, which is the only reason most of us have a job. I come home mentally exhausted everyday.”

Dr. Sayer remained impassive with his patented stoic gaze, lounging in his burgundy leather chair as he replied, “And you think this is what’s creating the dreams Colby?”

Glaring up at his psychiatrist’s white ceiling panels from the comfort of the tan leather couch he laid on, Colby replied, “How else would you explain it, Doc? I mean, it’s the same dream night after night. Very little change. Do you think that I’m crazy?”

Chuckling, which was unusual for Doctor Sayer, he looked down his wire rimmed glasses at his middle aged, haggard looking patient and stated, “I think that it means you have a healthy imagination Colby. Dreams are a part of life. Some are very vivid and we remember them for a long time. Most people will dream all night long and wake up without remembering a thing about them. Just because you remember your dreams doesn’t mean you’re suffering from some neuroses. Tell me more about your dreams. Do they frighten you? Are they violent? Are you at your job naked? What is it about your dreams that concern you?”

Sighing as he looked out the window on the Phoenix skyline, he noticed a heat shimmer creating a subtle wavy appearance that struck him as rather dream-like in nature. Colby turned back to his psychiatrist and responded, “Haven’t you been listening? It’s the same dream every time. Clearly my subconscious is trying to tell me something. Violent? No, I don’t remember anything violent in them. They’re about as far from being frightening as you can imagine. Naked? Now that you mention it, I’m not really sure. I don’t think so, but I don’t recall anyone wearing a lot of clothing. Not myself, not anyone. Does that mean something Doc?”

“Do you think that it means something Colby? How does it make you feel when no one is wearing much clothing? Please Colby. Just humor me and tell me your dream one more time.”

Running his hands through his hair, as if he was being asked to do something he really would rather not, he started in a mere whisper, “I can’t exactly remember how they begin, but once I become conscious of my dream and my surroundings I’m frequently flying. I have thin gossamer wings on my back. Everybody flies. It’s how we get around. The place is a tropical paradise. Multi-hued flowers bloom year round and waterfalls are everywhere.” Sighing again as he looked out onto the desert landscape just outside the window, he continued, “Imagine the most beautiful rainforest you can think of. Then multiply that thought by a thousand. The green of the trees is greener than anything I can describe; the blues, bluer, the reds, redder. Am I making any sense, Doc?”

Nodding his head, Doctor Sayer, waived his hand in a forward rolling motion and said, “Continue.”

The air conditioner hummed in a soft, monotonous, high-pitched drone. Colby found it near hypnotic as he continued without really thinking, “My life there is much different than here, Doc. I’m going nowhere fast here. I have my job, which I go to every day, sit in my cubicle and desperately hope that I can do my work without getting yelled at by my boss. When work is done, I go home, pop a frozen dinner into the microwave, vegetate for a while in front of the T.V., and then go to bed just so I can do the same thing tomorrow.”

Trying not to be intrusive, Doctor Sayer interjected, “Let’s go back to your dream, Colby. Tell me more about what it is like in the rainforest. Do you have friends? If you have a job there, what do you do? Does this tropical paradise have a name?”

“Right, right. I’m sorry Doc; I got a bit distracted there for a moment. It’s just the difference between my dreams and my existence here is so opposite that in an odd way I feel that I’m describing either place in the same sentence. One is black and the other white. My dreams are the opposite of my life. Now you really are going to think that I’m crazy, I’m important there. I’m like a…I’m a king. Ok, there you have it. Here I’m nobody, and there I’m loved and respected by everyone. The people, or creatures, or whatever that live there are my subjects. Oh, did I mention that I have a wife there. She’s gorgeous. She’s slender, with blond hair and milky, white skin. She has an ever-so-slightly high pitched voice, and when she speaks it’s as if she is singing the sweetest song you’ve ever heard.”

Colby wiped away a tear that started to form just under his eyes. He faked a cough to cover his movement as he struggled to regain his composure. “She’s a vision from heaven Doc and she loves me unconditionally. Her porcelain features give a fragile appearance and yet, she’s fiercely loyal and strong. I’ve never even had a dog that would protect me like she would. We’re madly in love with each other without a care in the world.”

“Many people would consider being a king a rather difficult job with a ton of responsibilities, Colby. Do you have any responsibilities as king, or do you see your sole reason of existence to be so others can cater to your every whim?”

“Huh, what? Responsibilities? Yes, I believe so, but really everything seems to take care of itself. People there aren’t my slaves. I’m the king, but we all live in perfect harmony. We don’t have any cares. Why should we? Everything we need is provided in the rainforest. Can you imagine Doc, no deadlines? Nobody screaming at me to reconcile their bank accounts, no one demanding that I need to find a creative way to increase bottom-line profits, no one asking me to compromise my ethics because of my profession. We sing, dance, flit here and there, no one’s worried about appeasing shareholders. The rainforest provides our food and though I’m the king, it’s almost a figurehead position. I get the chief seat at our nightly feast, that’s my job. I tell the performers and food servers what a wonderful job they do. Not too much stress there.”

Even Dr. Sayer couldn’t help but sigh in envy at the idyllic scene just described by his overly paranoid, but quite clearly healthy patient. Looking at Colby with his patented concerned, yet slight smile, he responded, “I hate to disappoint you Colby, but you sound very healthy to me. You’re not wild about your job here. You find your life to be somewhat bland. Your dreams are providing you with an outlet, an escape from the pressure and stress that you feel here. It’s all very healthy. Do you sometimes fantasize about being in your paradise even when you’re awake?”

Colby’s jaw dropped to his chest in disbelief, as he exclaimed, “Yes, I do. All of the time.” His eyes wide open in wonderment he queried, “How did you know that? You’re really good as a psychiatrist, Doc,”

Unable to contain his amusement, Doctor Sayler chortled and snorted as he replied, “Don’t be that impressed Colby. We all daydream. Me, you, and probably every person that you’ve ever come in contact with I hope spends a fair amount of time daydreaming. You see we all have our dreams. We all have our secret alter egos that can do things we as mere mortals cannot. Now if you were dressing up like the person in your dream, or if you were dancing around my office feverishly flapping your arms, screaming, ‘look at me fly, I’m flying,’ then I think that we would have issues to deal with.” The broad smile still etched on his features the psychiatrist continued, “Have you ever done any of those things, Colby?”

With a bit of dejection etched into his features, Colby responded, “No Doc, I’ve never done anything quite as crazy as that. It’s just…how do I describe it. The dreams seem so real, but that’s not all of it. I wish they were real, Doc. I really do. I wish that I could live the carefree life of my dreams.”

Almost in unison, they gazed out the window. Both seeing a heat shimmer on the skyline that made it look both liquid and otherworldly at the same time. “Yes Colby, we all feel like that sometimes.”

Just then, Colby looked back at his therapist, squinting his eyes and cocking his head to the side. The high-pitched humming sound of the air conditioner grew ever louder. For his part, Doctor Sayler just smiled as he looked back at Colby waiting to see what he would say next.

Lost in thought, all Colby could do was fixate on the sound of the air conditioner as it grew louder and louder. Hypnotic he thought again. In the middle of the high-pitched sound reverberating throughout the room he heard a crystal-clear voice calling out, calling to him, “My lord, my lord Sythyx. Wake up my beloved. The day-dawn is breaking. The night shadows are racing from the rising sun. Be up and doing my love, your people anxiously await you in the Greenwood Gardens.”

Confused, lost in a thick haze of uncertainty, Colby rubbed his eyes and slowly re-opened them.

Sythyx, High Lord of Greenwood, Kingdom of the Faeries, yawned as he pulled his hands away from his eyes and stretched his arms wide. He smiled as he saw his beloved wife, sitting at his bedside next to him; her porcelain features and striking beauty still amazed him, despite their fifty years of marriage.

Contented to see recognition in his eyes, Amerelia, Queen of the Faeries, gazed down on her husband. “Did you sleep well sweet lord? You had a fearful look of concern on your features that I did not fancy. What unspoken terrors trouble you my darling? Did you have a disturbing dream, my love?”

She stretched out her hands and took a firm hold of his. Lord Sythyx brought his hand to his chin and thought hard for just a moment before saying, “I had the strangest dream my queen. I lived in a world of constant confusion. I felt empty and lost, hollow like a seashell whose owner has long deserted it. I feared and fretted about everything. Worst part of all, I was a human, unable to hie away from the horrors that haunted me. I shared my worries with a man. He seemed quite kindly, but he too was stuck in this world without merriment and mirth.”

With a protective and loving smile, Queen Amerelia peered down on her lover and stated, “T’was but a dreadful dream my love. Banish such baneful thoughts. Let’s sing and dance and play with our people, while the morning sun shines. Your nocturnal nightmare will quickly become a distant memory and then simply disappear.”

Gazing into her penetrating blue eyes, he said, “You’re right my love. T’was naught but a nightmare.”

With that said, he sprung from his bed of leaves and flowers, and grabbing his wife’s hand, together they flew out into the new day, contented with the songs of their people greeting them as they entered their garden. Not even once, did Lord Sythyx think back on his dream ever again.

1 comment:

Michaela Stephens said...

I LOVE IT!!!! HILARIOUS!!! If this is the story that you referred to elsewhere that the BYU fantasy students hated, I just have to say they didn't know what they had.
Can you expand this? What if Colby would go to bed in the Faerie world and then wake up in the real world and then go to bed in the real world and wake up in the faerie world?