I find myself in a circular and dimly lit room with two doors on either side of me and one in front. The door in front of me is red, the door to my right is blue, and the door to my left is white. I’m sitting in a hard plastic chair, looking anxiously at each door, trying to decide which one to go through. I notice that each door has an eerie green light emanating from it. I stand up and my dream-self decides it would be reasonable to go through the red door. I’m not sure if it’s because this door looks less ominous, or if it’s because I like the colour red. I open the door and step through what looks like a portal.
The portal transports me into the interior of some sort of underground military base and shopping mall. It’s disconcerting to see clothing stores and coffee shops juxtaposed with stalactites and mounted gun turrets. Surrounding me are people just as bewildered as I am, and lots of them have strange wounds and burn marks. Soldiers with odd looking weapons are guarding us. All of a sudden, a large section of the cave’s ceiling collapses and aliens with ray guns start pouring in. As the soldiers and the aliens start fighting, I run for my life. I can only guess a flying saucer is shooting at the base, causing it to shake with chunks of rock flying down. Unfortunately, as I’m running up an escalator, a large chunk of rock falls on me. However instead of dying, I just end up right back where I started. That the soldiers and the aliens are scoring points on each other rather than dying indicates that my brain has decided to put me in some sort of weird video game dream. After several attempts, I eventually make it out of the base and escape the aliens.
When I wake up in the morning, I realize that my dream was probably inspired by trying out the demo of an alien invasion game called X-Com: Enemy Unknown. I probably need to cut down on my playing time.
As always happens when I dream, my house isn’t really my house. I’m in my room when I hear the voice of a girl I once knew as she wanders past my door sulking. I open the door and begrudgingly ask her what’s wrong. She holds up a cheque that says, “$0 for food and water,” signed by her father. I offer her some tea, but become suspicious that she’d been sleeping in a cupboard downstairs (I’d recently heard a news story about the man in Japan who found a woman living in his closet. My subconscious likely held onto this). The girl dissolves and I walk downstairs into the kitchen where my dad is standing by the light of the stove, kneading a cantaloupe-size ball of cheese that starts turning into pizza dough. Memories of being three years-old came flooding back: we used to make pizza together every Wednesday. He would make an adult sized pizza to share with my mom and sister, and I would make a mini one, just for me. He‘s kneading and mixing it so fast that it starts spinning and turning into all kinds of things: first a penguin, then a lighthouse, and finally, a Buddha-like man. The spinning stops as he raises the dough off the counter and covers his head with it. I laugh uncontrollably at the bizarreness of his gesture, and pull out my camera to take a picture but the buttons won’t work. Noticing my frustration, he says, “It’s disgusting anyway.” As my sister appears out of nowhere and wholeheartedly agrees, the kitchen morphs into the one from my childhood, and I wake up thinking about the days my dad and I spent cooking together while everyone else was at work or kindergarten.
I’m in a religious service and notice that some of the people around me are being loud and disrespectful. I become very agitated, and want to ask them to leave. However, I don’t want to come across as uptight. I keep thinking to myself, “Why am I here?” Around the room are many vintage-looking white bath tubs. Some people begin to lie down in the tubs, including the people who were being disruptive earlier. I understood that this was part of the service. Others, myself included, stand behind the tubs and turn on the taps. The tubs fill with butternut squash soup, completely submerging the people inside. Still, I’m asking myself, “What is the point?” Then, we drain the tubs, inside of which are only human skeletons. Once the tubs are drained, the service is over, and the crowd mingles and chats surrounded by the tubs and skeletons within them, not seeming to be aware or guilty of what happened. Although the presence of the dead is felt, it’s not explicitly being acknowledged as disturbing or grotesque. I continue to ask myself, “Why? Why am I here?” while also partaking in the casual post-service chatter.
Finally, I have a moment of revelation where I become suddenly and horrifyingly aware of what took place, and think to myself, “Why do we do this? These people are dead. We killed them.” However, all at once my certainty as to whether we killed them wavers and I think that maybe they had been dead all along. I keep asking, “Why? Why?” and then the answer occurs to me, “because this is just what we do.” Still upset, I want to yell out loud, but find myself muted as the crowd shuffles out sadly en masse, like mourners following a funeral procession.