.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Fermius Firefly

A Dream Log, whenever I remember the dreams I've had.

My Photo
Location: San Marcos, United States

Fermius is a pen name drawn from a series of short fiction I wrote when I published the small press magazine Stellanova (on paper.) I play RPG games to escape from my daily grind as a technology wage slave for the state of California. I eat out a lot in order to do my part in supporting our increasingly service level economy. I am butler to 2 feline masters. If you ask them they will tell you I'm not very good at it, late with dinner, don't have enough hands with brushes in them, and sometimes I even lock them out of their office.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Thatch, Wattle and Daub...

Mandolin and flute version of "Shake, Rattle and Roll" only the lyrics were:
"Thatch, Wattle and Daub,
Woo ooo!
Thatch, Wattle and Daub.
Something something, something,
Gonna patch our doggone home..."

Seriously, my brain sometimes.

(It is over 100 degrees and im in the sixth day of a severe shingles outbreak, so there might be some extenuating circumstances.)

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Working on a Game in My Sleep

I dreamed that I had just gotten a set of plastic pawns, men and women in business suits. They were for a game which I was playtesting with a couple of close friends. There was a board, laid out with abstract representations of several areas. Each color team had several pawns: two tall (Partners) two medium (Detectives/Experts?) and six short (Interns/Paralegals). The purpose of the game was to exonerate your defendant, or validate your plaintiff. The cases were in the form of cards, which were double-sided and the game's mechanisms, how you used your pawns, determined in the "Courtroom" which side of the card was placed face up in the Jury Box. The other mechanisms were based on hand-size mechanics, with the Partners being able to fill their brief case and carry a portfolio (Some cards could be in one or the other or both.) The medium pawns could carry one of either a briefcase or an evidence box. The small pawns could carry either a folder, or an evidence box.

Playing the game itself was a little murky in the dream as the dream focused mostly on the miniatures and how cool and detailed the sculpture was. I was very happy with the shipment, and only wished it had not taken two months to arrive, as there were backers chomping at the bit to get a hold of them. I already had the boards and first eight card decks for release. S was there when the pawns arrived and was eager for me to take photographs of them so he could use them as art in the online version of the game he'd programmed and I'd made available for my earliest supporters.

L said she thought the backers would be delighted when their games arrived, as the pawns were certainly worth the wait.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Dream In a Dream In a...

I was dreaming of an alien creature, radially symmetrical, very intelligent, and covered with spikes. Instead of clothing, the aliens wore paint, and would keep it on for long periods of time, as they had an exoskeleton. They liked the idea of bracelets and rings, however, and I was bartering with them for various bangles.

I woke up, in the dream, and told my partner that I needed to write down this dream, as it might be useful.

She asked if I meant the dream I just had or the one I was now having....

"I don't know," I answered and then woke up again. There was something bumping up against the hull of the boat, I reminded myself that I needed to write down my dream and hoped whatever was bumping the boat was just something boring or I would be sure to forget.

Then I woke up again, this time with Giles and Ember in my face asking for breakfast.

I just don't get my brain.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Apparition

Was running through a bunch of corridors full of beige and steel colored pipes. The apparition chasing us (myself and a group of high school aged kids) and I was falling behind. When I finally caught up to the group, they were trying to open the rusty bolt of a door whose little round window showed the outside. The apparition appeared on a large screen monitor, terrifying everyone, I stood between it and the kids, arguing that it was just an image, urging them to keep on trying to open the door by rotating the handle back and forth to loosen up the rust. They were making progress when the apparition leaned out of the monitor, splashed us with rusty water, then grabbed both my hands with its own. I turned my hands over and returned the grasp, but with all my force. "So much for not being real..." it started to taunt us.

"You're not," I insisted and pulled myself up by its rough dry hands towards the monitor and into wakefulness.

Full on thundering heart and drenched in sweat, but happy to know I was right.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, March 26, 2018


I dreamed I was eleven again, riding my orange Spider Bike down the main road headed for the library. Oddly, the library was in its current location in town not where it was when I was actually eleven. Delightfully warm sunshine, the hot jeans sticking to my legs, and the big blue girl's bike weaving in front of me in a path that looked anything but controlled. My best friend was a wild child on her bike, and I was always worried that she was going to shimmy out into traffic, or pull in front of a car coming out of a driveway, as it seemed like she spent more time looking back at me talking than watching the road ahead of her. Our trips always seemed so much safer when I was the one in the lead. When we got to the library there was no space on the bike rack, so we locked our bikes together with one chain and then looped the other to the end of the rack. I loved the feel of the cold air on my bare shoulders (was wearing the beige tank top with red piping.) I found myself wondering aloud how long before my legs would cool off.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Cute Rocket, Cute Astronaut, Cute Explosion

I dreamed I was at my large screen computer, mouse in hand, drawing software at the ready, and in a few short moments of creative flow I had created a new set of icons for a new set of game tokens.

If it were only that easy to get the lines and colors to line up the right way. I wish I had dreamt a little more of the actual rules of the game that was going to use the cartoonish and cute little tokens. Or, perhaps I will spend the next few days trying to recapture the look and they will become the elements of my new company logo.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Fever Dreams with Robots and...

The fever dream started like any other dream, a nice normal seeming classroom of ten year olds taking my "Robotic Programming" class. I was working a two hour a day shift at a private elementary school, teaching the very fun class with robots and then supervising the playground in the afterschool hour while waiting for parents to come get their students. All in all a very good gig. It was paying the bills while I used my pension to make board games. It was one of those classes where I had as many parents in the room helping as I had kids.

One afternoon, as the classroom began to empty out, the Principal arrived to tell me that they were cutting the class. I pointed to the parents still straightening up the room and kids still excitedly reviewing what they'd accomplished. I didn't understand the decision. She reassured me it didn't have anything to do with my teaching or my class, it was that the board had decided to purchase a new turnkey curriculum and my course couldn't be fit into the new system. She handed me an envelope with my current pay and two weeks extra. I said thank you, but pointed out that I had a contract for the full school year that would have to be bought out. "Unless we can find you another position, which we're trying to do."

I was still mighty unhappy about the situation, but resolved to deal with it another day. I stuffed my anger down and went back to helping clear out my classroom. One of the moms was a labor attorney, she handed me her business card, "just in case you decide you need me." I thanked her and went out into the playground to fulfill my after school supervision. Kids eventually got picked up. Several of the other teachers had stayed behind and we all went into the school, having to duck between the movers who were packing up everyone's classroom in neatly labeled boxes, even taking apart the school's furniture. We watched in disbelief as box after box with our class names on them went out of the building to be loaded up on big trucks. The Principal arrived to let us know that the board had agreed to let us teachers go through the materials from our classrooms to keep what was ours and any thing else they weren't using before it was all sold at auction. A couple of my colleagues were shouting and upset that the movers were packing up their private stuff, including one who's purse and car keys (thus her way home) had already been packed. We managed to intercept the box from her room before it got put on the truck and rescued her personal belongings. I went to my room and grabbed my hat and coat as well as my computer bag, figuring I had the time to go get anything else later.

Saddened by the state of things, I asked why the Board hadn't retrained their current staff, and she started to tell me that there was no robotics... I cut her off, and asked about all of the basic education teachers, some who'd been at the school for decades, weren't re-trained.

"That doesn't concern you."

I put on my coat and hat and stepped out into the stormy afternoon. The weather had changed to match my mood, dark threatening clouds, hints of thunder in the distance, the thick smell of pent up rain. I walked out into the public park.

A row of Thundermen appeared and gathered in front of me, grey fedoras, beige trench-coats, black shoes with wide white spats, immaculately tied ties over white shirts. They stopped my progress. They lined up behind the leader, and a row of apparently meaningful gestures began to form behind him. While I couldn't make out what they were trying to signal I mimicked the gestures as best I could. My Beige trench-coat and fedora (green instead of grey) seemed to confuse them a bit. Finally, after exchanging some pleasantries, and commenting on the delightful lightning and thunder that had begun in the sky behind the school, the leader of the thundermen told me I could be locked in the bathroom until the storm passed, or I could re-enter the school through J-3. I had no desire to be locked in the public restrooms, so entered the classroom, which was still having its desks assembled, oddly, in the desks that were already put together, there were students, or some sort of simulacra of students already seated and working on their lessons. I had a very uneasy feeling, the teacher looked up from her planner and I apologized for the interruption, moving through the room into the schools central hallway. There I ran across the Principal who was beaming at how efficient and trouble free it was all going to be. I started to worry about what was going to happen to all of our students. Were they being replaced, too?

I made my way through the faculty room, and out onto the little patio that faced the open hillside behind the school. Lightning filled the sky, thunder rolled across the valley and shook the windows of the school, I could hear them rattling all down the length of the building. I looked out to see the fluffy pink bunnies and leaping unicorns lightning struck and suddenly come to life. The plastic cavorting turned into the real thing, accompanied by a tinkling and high pitched whistling music, they danced under the darkening sky until they seemed as one, to notice me watching. They lined up facing me, much in the same way as the lightning men. I started to make the same gestures and then stopped myself, speaking directly to the head unicorn instead.

She blinked. Obviously not expecting me to actually try to interact with them. At first she seemed to think I was a Thunder man, and wanted to run me through, but I somehow managed, by taking my hat off and bowing, I think, to convince her that I was just a former teacher who'd been replaced. This saddened her and she raced away, leaving me to watch her fluffy bunny and unicorn minions cavort to unearthly music. Eventually she returned, accompanied by a large pink and white dragon. The dragon had to be as big as the school she surveyed from end to end with a single sweep of her long neck. She settled over the hill and curled around her bunnies and unicorns, shielding them with one giant wing. She began to shoot the unicorn who'd spoken with me, jolt after jolt of pink lightning.

"Stop" I shouted. "She hasn't done anything wrong!"

"You live, Thunder man, that is not to be tolerated, I will get to you in a moment."

I don't know where the courage to do so came from but I stepped in front of the unicorn, letting my wet trench coat drag the lightning to the ground. I felt the tingle on my feet, but though painful, it wasn't in any way debilitating.

"If you kill her, how will she learn and become an even better leader for you?"

The dragon stopped mid breath. Her great head lowered down to my own, her eyes, as large as myself, took turns looking at me. I felt like I'd been put in a giant MRI or CAT scan machine.

"You are not a Thunder man."

"Thanks, I think."

With that she picked me up and flung me high in the air over the hill and above the clouds. I don't know how every bone in my body wasn't broken by ahd acceleration. I found myself cresting the top of my arc in the clear sky overlooking a vast ocean and a road, suspended in the air. There were small figures, moving, single file along the road as I flashed overhead. A rope was tossed to me and I managed to grab it as I dipped below the road. I crammed my hat on my head, and held on with both hands as the rope curved my fall into a pendulum swing just below the roadway. I pumped and at the crest of the next swing back, managed to grab the hands that were being offered down below the road edge. The large scaled arm pulled be up past the road and let me down on my feet.

It was an assortment of characters, I think from my own gaming past. The large spear toting Lizard Man, a pair of spindly hobbits in all black kit, and an elf of surprising beauty with two longswords on his (her?) hips. The only one I didn't recognize was a nearly topless scaled woman with short curled horns and long nails. Like the Lizard Man, she had a long tail, whip-like rather than trunk-like. They greeted me and one of the hobbits asked if I was a Thunder Man. The Lizard and Demon Girl looked like they were ready to throw me back off the skyway.

"No" was all I could manage to croak. I checked my bag, somehow it hadn't dumped anything. I took off my hat and bowed, that seemed to convince them. I surmised at that point that the hat was part of a thunder man, so they couldn't do that.

"Where are we going?"

"To the other end of the road!" chimed in the hobbit twins, getting disgruntled looks from their companions.

The elf spoke, explaining that they were on a quest and had traveled on the skyway for the better part of two days. They believed they were much closer to their destination than their beginning, which was, though civilization, nothing the matched what I knew. Plus I only had a muffin and a half bottle of water in my back, so didn't fancy going that way until I could replenish my supplies. The Hobbits were the only two in favor of letting me travel with them, but somehow they managed to convince the demon girl after the two women had a hurried conversation out of earshot of the rest of the group. They resumed travelling, single file, except for the hobbits who trotted ahead of the group hand in hand.

"They are a cute couple," I volunteered, trying to make conversation.

"They're twins." The Lizard man grunted, shouldered his spear and leaned forward to pull away from me. The elf had dropped back far behind us and only the demon girl stayed close enough to converse with until we met the end of the road.

I had to explain that I wasn't flying but falling, as I'd been thrown by the pink and white dragon. The hobbits looked at the elf and said "your prayer must have worked!"

"I doubt that." The Elf had barely spoken to me the whole trip, he seemed to have something against me from the very start, but never revealed what he was thinking or feeling.

It had been much easier to befriend the Lizard man, I taught him tic-tac-toe, and despite there not actually being toes in the game, he was quite taken by it.

The Hobbits seemed to love everyone equally, and the Demon Girl, seemed to be practicing sultry on the Elf, and not succeeding, ignoring the Lizard Man, who seemed all too interested. I had the impression that there was some history there best left lie. She would at least converse with me, explaining her own world and listening intently to tales of my own "crushingly boring" world, which the hobbits seemed to enjoy.

We sat at the end of the road, obviously not what any of us were expecting. I noticed that there was a large blue square with writing in it, but I couldn't make it out from where we were.

Soon I found myself being lowered on the end of the rope. "Press to Call" was what the writing said. I asked them to pull me up and we looked around, but didn't find a button like it in the covered bridge area, at least, not on the side we were on. One of the hobbits took the rope and tied it around her waist. The Lizard man tossed her over to the other side. She landed with a giggle, and found the button, but it had been smashed in and wasn't working. They hauled her back over, and I thought of an idea.

The rope wasn't long enough for me to swing over to the skyway support column, though. I then thought of another idea. We filled up my water bottle and unraveled the knitted border of my sweater to lower it towards the button, again not long enough, until they lowered me on the rope. The bottle landed on the four foot square button, and the elevator shot towards me. the team started pulling me up, but I still slammed into the platform. The bottle rolled off the button and the elevator slowed to a stop and began to fall. I managed to recover enough to pull the bottle back up and roll over to the button. Whoosh, the elevator slowed and then accelerated skyward.

It took a few tests to figure out how to raise and lower the platform smoothly enough not to launch me into the ceiling, or more importantly to land at less than terminal velocity. Apparently whatever controls were supposed to be in operation were no longer working. I drove the platform up to the team and they let me fly them back to the ground. The elf looked greener than usual after the trip down, but the hobbits wanted to stay and see how fast they could make the elevator go back up. As we left One of the hobbits had put a rock on the button I turned in time to see the elevator platform crash through the roof of the bridge structure at the top of the skyway, and then come fluttering, obviously no longer under control back to the ground. We all ran out of the range of the falling debris. When the Elf started to chastise the hobbits they just pointed at each other.

Somehow they convinced me to come with them rather than build a hundred foot ladder to climb back to the roadway. (Even though I was pretty sure the roadway didn't lead back to where I needed to go, I felt it was at least closer to home.) There was a short barrage of other travel stuff. Something to do with a big blue glowy thing, and a pretty wild celebration party that ended with an acrobatic naked tangled celebration between the Demon Girl, Hobbit Girl and myself. The team asked the pink dragon to send me home. Good thing I hadn't tried going back by the skyway.

There was a knock on the door. The police were looking for me, as I had gone missing. I explained that I had been playing a video game the whole time, and was right here. They looked dubious. I noticed the figures on the screen were the Lizard Man, Demon Girl, Elf and Hobbit Twins with a Long Coated stranger in a Green flat brimmed hat. They were waving good-bye as the stranger headed into a pink and white portal and the rest of the team, escorting a wagon with a strange blue glow coming from under a tarp, headed into town, they turned and waved, not at the portal, but at the screen. I was at my computer, but dressed in the clothing I'd been wearing since my "disappearance" including an adventure's worth of wear and tear. Not to mention a bag of gold coins and semi-precious stones that I might have some difficulty explaining.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Sunday, January 14, 2018

No Disintegrations

Dreamed I was playtesting one of my games, this time a computer space simulation game instead of a card or dice game. I was using an ADM (Artificial Intelligence Dungeon Master) to generate the various plots, sub-plots and missions of the Galaxy simulation. As per usual in these sorts of games, it wasn't long before the game took on a reality of its own, and I discovered that when I engaged my two different space drives at the same time, I would shift into an alternate universe. I quickly sat down with my crew and worked out that I'd somehow programmed a way to shift one "universe" through the "cubes" of a tesseract, depending on the side closest to our current travel vector. Further, I calculated that we only had to make one jump similar in the same direction we were headed to go right back to our home universe. So we weren't as lost as we feared we might be.

That's when trouble reared its head. We were hailed and told to stop for boarding. We hit the afterburners and fired up the drives, only, they had taken some damage from our last experiment, and we didn't shift out of the universe, just carved a long curved hyperspace path to another system, and its navigation beacon. We hauled up, drives mostly lame from the extra burst. Fortunately there was an open port that had landing pads available for a limited duration. We had no viable credit in this system, so could only barter with what we had in our holds, and the knowledge of the Trans-Universe Jump technology I'd accidently coded. "Access to an infinity of universes!" my co-pilot bragged, but I was sitting with the engineer I was dealing with, and according to our calculations, while that might well be possible, the way our current drive was configured, we only had access to 8 universes.

"Cant we just point the ship in a slightly different direction and jump to a completely different universe?"

I explained that it didn't work like that, because I'd used a cube shape for my universal vector references. It was a server size and computational resource limitation.

Cut to inside of an alien ship. Darth Vader Mark II was there, talking to a bunch of bounty hunters. "I want them alive. No Disintegrations."

I hadn't remembered programming that into the system.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Elite Dangerous: Escapades

In my nap time dream I was playing Elite: Horizons, and shortly after uploading and installing the newest update, called Escapades, or Escapes, I can't really remember I logged out, and then logged into the new game. At first it wasn't any different, but then I noticed that when I was a cruising speed, I could lock the helm and get up and walk around. I was able to switch to the other seat, below me, with a great view below the ship. While this was going on I got the interdiction warning. There was no fighting it though, as I was being interdicted by the kill in 5 second alien ship.

Oddly, I didn't get fired on, it was like it knew I wasn't at the helm. I rushed back and took the helm off of its course lock. BIG MISTAKE. The alien vessel opened up on me, and true to its nickname, I was floating in space.
"Okay," I thought. I should have been facing the rebuy screen. However, I wasn't. I was floating in space, seeing a helmet HUD item "Engaging Remlock" and as the screen dimmed out from the outer edges in, I saw the five second ship drop a glowy set of tendrils that reached out for me.

Vision returned and I was in an alien structure, on foot. I was not, as far as I could tell, restrained except by the massive structure I was in. I began to explore, and there were minerals and broken ship parts to pick up, but more importantly, there were signs of other life, noises in the distance - voices. A data pad with only enough power to read out a couple of entries. My own data pad was at 99% Power. I wandered around for about an hour, picking up stuff at random, finding old Lakon control panels that still had some data stored in them. There was alien technology as well, but I dumped it pretty quickly as my health began to suffer. In the dream I played through a couple of hours of this. Having managed to scrounge up enough parts to build a makeshift weapon, I found myself in and underground tunnel system fighting robots that looked uncomfortably like glowing eyed skeletons. I was looking out over a long drop. There was a lot of red blood trickles that lead into a pool shaped like a leaf with a glowing center. I swayed back and forth, judging the distance, I was just figuring I could make a safe-ish landing when I was struck from behind by one of the robots I had left for dead. It wasn't, but now I was facing the rebuy screen. There were new options... to continue my "Captivity." It had a note that you would lose access to the insured ship just as taking the free sidewinder option. There was a line for bounties and fines in the ship insurance cost. Mine were "0" so I'd apparently died a good boy.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Stormy Moving Day

I dreamed I was moving into a new home on a low hillside overlooking the ocean. The unpacking was a little chaotic as J and her family were there helping, as well as L and a couple of other folks including my brother and his wife. We were unpacking one of my parent's dressers when we discovered that it didn't sit very even. I opened up the top and we discovered an entire sewing machine cabinet, disassembled, stored under the top shelf. It was something my brother had inherited, but we'd not found it at the time.

Of course we took a break to assemble it and my brother decided that he wanted it. We had to disassemble it so we could ship it to Virginia. J was in a little bit of a mood as the kids were wildly running around discovering all the neat features of the house. Her son, however, thought it was because this was our fourth anniversary. I tried to point out to him that we hadn't been dating in almost two years, so that seemed unlikely (and it was the Sunday, not Friday before Thanksgiving, so there were still a few days left even if that were the problem.) All the while we were working, the light kept growing dimmer until I looked out over the bay and saw huge cloud wall, churning gray and green and full of lightning. A waterspout headed right for our little beach. I yelled at the people outside to hurry and get into the house. When they asked why I pointed out to the waterspout, and that got them moving. Several strangers also ran towards the house, then looked confused about what to do then, as they were sort of trapped against our sea wall. My brother and I helped them up over the wall and shooed them into the house. I was being pelted with water and small fishes as I ran into the house and pulled the french doors shut behind me.

"There's a box of towels in the back bathroom, bring them all."

The group of people from the beach were all trying not to drip on the carpet, so were all huddled in the six by nine tile space right in front of the doors. This room had indoor/outdoor carpet, though, and was meant to be more of an enclosed patio than a regular room, so I told them to spread out, "the carpet washes out." I remembered that it had plenty of sand in it when I bought the place, so wasn't worried about it.

The water spout lifted and vanished as it made its way overhead. The house was well built (very dome like) and it didn't even shudder, though lightning was flashing and you could hear the thunder so loud some of the people were holding their hands over their ears. The kids were helping me pick up the little wriggling fish and put them in a small bucket. I opened the door and ran out to the edge of the sea wall, a wave reached up to just a few inches below the wall, so I was able to scoop up a half bucket, it would be enough to save at least some of the fish. At least there weren't any more falling from the sky, just normal rain at that point. J's grandkids joined the beach kids in catching the fish and putting them in the bucket.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Ghost Squadron

The ready room was empty, or at least it looked empty. There were no signs of habitation either, no half finished drinks on the table, no tins of cookies, no clothes draped over the backs of chairs. The room felt used, busy even, but there was no visual sign of it, until the siren went off.

Doors flew open and pilots appeared from no where, translucent forms in uniforms from different countries and eras, but all with the same unmistakable air of people about to enter a fight for their lives.

In space, the squadron formed up and the briefing was short and sweet. Avoid the interceptors, and take out the lances and torpedo boats before they exited the transfer orbit of Jupiter. Our ships lurched under ghost thrust and we went with them. We engaged the invaders at impossible speeds, outside of time, wedded to fibre-optic synapses and finely honed machinery that spit iridium death at an enemy that didn't know fear, and little knew defeat. every encounter was a split second, magnified by our ghostlike condition to feel like several minutes. No living being could survive the speeds and energies needed to wage this sort of war, but no machine was trusted to do it alone.

Our sortie was successful, but there were a few losses on our side. Back in the barracks, the beds of the lost pilots shimmered and the pilots woke back to their previous selves, mind and flesh re-united, limited, unable to rejoin the fight, the transformation was a one time deal, no one came back from a second tour, the body and mind re-union just failed. No one knew where the spirit went from there, as none had returned to tell from the second journey.

Almost every pilot volunteered to go back in, even though it was certain death. So the decision was taken out of their hands, they were rotated out of service, placed in command of local defenses or in ships of the line where they could interface live rather than the ghost link. It was fast, and their experience made them invaluable, but it wasn't the same as pouncing intruders from a ghost ship at faster than the speed of thought.

I did not look forward to the time when I wasn't fast enough to jink around the blast of an enemy interceptor and found myself re-united with a recreation of my twenty first century body. It was a weird thing, only those of us who'd failed to move on were able to save the world. Though I'd been dead a long time, I wasn't eager to live in the flesh again, particularly in a world under assault from what appeared to be an implacable enemy. There'd been no demands, no conditions, just surveys, beachheads, and the ever increasing stream of inbound alien technology. We assumed, that like us, they were landing colonies of their own ghosts, who would resurrect once they had a successful beachhead. But, we really didn't know.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Hot Springs Carnival, Hospital Hoedown

I was walking with a couple of friends of mine, off campus. A carnival had been set up on the lot of a former strip mall. Years earlier the owner demolished the mall and graded the property, preparatory to new construction. Funds fell through, so the graded lot was fenced and forgotten, (except by the local LARPers.) As we walked through the carnival, noticing that it was very poorly attended, we came across a sexy woman who we thought was one of the Carnival performers. She was incredibly sour about that, as she was a witch of some great renown, or infamy, at least by her own admission. She was tired, and it seemed to amuse her that we were still treating her politely, even after her revelation. She strolled along with us for a time, finally stopping outside an alleyway between rows of red and white, striped carnival booths.

"This alley is haunted. if you proceed you will be forever changed. Or dead, your decision."

The female member of our trio looked into the alleyway. "Is that what happened to you?"

The witch pondered. "No, this is what happened to me." With that she reached out and took our friend by the hand. They raced together down the alley between the fabric walls and vanished almost faster then the eye could follow into the tent at the end of the row. All right, I could definitely credit that to magic.

My friend and I looked at one another, then nodded as if in accord.

I raced down the alleyway, making it past two tents before I realized the sound of my friend's footsteps were heading in the opposite direction.

I turned to shout at him to stop dicking around, but he was completely out of sight.

"Friends abandoned you, did they."

I turned around to see who was talking to me, but there was only an empty suit of armor hanging from a rack. It creaked. I moved closer, fully willing to believe it was haunted. It reached for where the hilt of its sword would be, then pantomimed swinging it at me.

"I think the city made the carnival surrender or store all of the customer accessible weapons." I had remembered reading that in the local news.

"What! You should still run in terror." it shook a gauntlet at me.

The suit of armor clattered and I took a step back. It didn't seem to be able to get down from the rack.

"If you stop trying to harm me, I could try to get you down from there, then we can try to find your witch and my friend."

"She's not my witch!" the suit of armor seemed to pause, thinking, not sure how I could tell that. "Granted."

I approached, and the armor stopped swinging. I couldn't budge it, though. I looked at the armor, there was a ring welded onto the back of the breast plate, the whole thing hung from a hook on the rack. It was far heavier than it looked. "Perhaps if I could take the armor down a part at a time and then put it together on the ground."

The armor paused, again, seeming to consider. "Granted."

I took a look at the right boot and shin guards, I found how they were tied together and unlaced them. So far so good. I pulled them off, and though there was no sight of it, it felt like there was a person in the suit. Everything was good until the armor cleared the foot.

There was a banshee wail and the armor, except for the piece I held started flailing around. I reached out until I found the spirit's kicking bare foot and slammed the boot back on, then tied it back in place.

"Sorry about that."

"We didn't know." The spirit sounded almost like it might be sobbing.

"I wish I were strong enough put you down whole."

"Granted," the spirit said quickly.

I felt a tingle and tried lifting the armor off of it's hook. It seemed much smaller than the first time I'd tried, and though it was a little bit of a struggle, I was able to rock the armor off the hook and then gently set it down on its feet. It tottered, the leg we'd taken the boot off of seemed to wobble and buckle oddly under it. I reached down and pulled the suit upright from the ring on its back until it could get its feet under it. That was when I noticed that my big floppy flannel shirt was tight around my arms, and the end of the sleeve was just below my elbow. I looked down at myself. My baggy cargo pants were now more like the length of board shorts, and strained at the seams. My flip flops only covered two thirds of my foot, like I was wearing kid's sized sandals.

"What's happening?"

"You have to be very strong to put me down whole." The suit of armor laughed. "Good thing I didn't have my sword, who knows what you would have turned into then."

The armor limped up the alleyway, all the while regaining control of the leg, and every time I noted an improvement in the spirit's strength and mobility, I seemed to grow.

We reached the end of the alleyway and entered the tent, I had to duck down to go through the flap. The witch was gone, nothing but her clothing left in the middle of the floor. My friend was there, her eyes newly shining with power. The armored ghost flew at her. I managed to grab him by the right foot and pull him back.

"Just because I have her powers, doesn't suddenly make me her." She looked at me with a quirky smile, one I'd only seen her give her future conquests. It made me a little uneasy.

"I see you have the strength to dismantle that thing."

"Can't we free the spirit without hurting him, he deserves better."

She looked at both of us. "Mental strength is also part of being strong. Your test isn't finished yet, but I need to go if I am to keep everything under my own control. Meet me at the hot springs. Bring a suit..." she looked me up and down, and I swear she licked her lips, it made me uneasy, that look, again, "or don't."

With that, she vanished. The armor wailed in frustration, then hung limp. The visor turned to glare at me.

"Perhaps I can put you down easy, by releasing you."

"It would be good to rest, I mean really rest. But someone must mind the witch."

"I don't think my friend will need much minding, but I will certainly attend to that task."

The armor sighed, "granted," I set him down, and after another little tingling feeling, saw how the armor and spirit were all connected, and how I could release him.

"Goodbye, rest well." I reached out and gave the armor a strong thump, every piece of it separated from the others and the spirit sighed, formed whole in silvery presence for just a moment, smiled, looked down at its un-gauntleted hands, flexing them then pressing them together as if in prayer, and then vanished with a smile and a wave.

I suddenly felt a very strong desire to don the armor myself, but backed quickly away. Then I turned around and took the plated belt and oversized buckle, picked up a plaid bed cover and pleated it around me, then held it up with the knight's belt. I took off the remains of my plaid shirt/jacket. The muscle tee was stretched to its limit and I reached under and removed the remains of my split pants. I tore off the sections with the wallet pocket and cargo pockets. The phone was in one cargo pocket and I draped it over the belt with the phone pocket on the outside, and the wallet and other pocket tucked on the inside. I looked one last time at the armor, resisting the urge to put on the helmet, and headed out the alleyway.

On my way back to the Hot Springs I couldn't resist stopping at the "ring the bell" carnival attraction. I made it shoot almost to the bell, then handed the hammer to a kid, "you try!"

The kid wobbled under the hammer, I knelt down and helped him steady it, "Aim for the outside edge, you'll get better leverage.Let the tool do the work." The kid lifted the hammer up and just as he let if fall, I gave it a pinky tap, sending the bell all the way to the top.

The crowd applauded and cheered, "Fist bump!" I held down my fist, it was larger than his head. He bumped me, all smiles.

People lined up to try the attraction, "Come back any time!" the operator shouted at me as I headed down the main walk for the exit. Lots of people wanted to stop and pose with me on the way out. I realized this would become tiresome pretty soon, I needed to go find some normal clothing that would fit, though I was quickly coming to the conclusion that there might not be any. My muscle tee had started to rip at the collar and under the arms. The Spirit of the armor was gone, I figured I would shrink back to normal size. If anything I seemed to be getting bigger.

I wondered what my students at Hot Springs Technical were going to think if this form didn't shrink back down. My friends and I were all "Senior Tutors" for the local University.

I decided to take the hillside path to the Hot Springs. The witch was waiting for me. She'd also changed her clothing, more modern than her predecessor, but every bit as revealing. Power seemed to radiate out of her. "I know why she thought she could rule the world."

"Rule the world?"

"Yes, this much power should never go to a megalomaniac."

"Are you sure that much power doesn't make you a megalomaniac?"

She slumped just a little then straightened up, "not as long as I have friends like you to keep me in check."

And that was when I knew, that was exactly what had happened. The powers in the alley had found two new hosts, only, we weren't playing along with the usual rules, and with only the belt from the armor, my powers just kept making me larger.

That was why there was a group of folks waiting for both of us at the changing house.

They wanted a sit down meeting with the witch, and made me wait in the lobby, which was way too small, I barely fit through the door, and the light fixtures were at eye level, so I had to stoop to move around. I noticed that there was an open space enclosed next to the lobby, completely unused. That was neat, being able to see the spaces in the building just by touching a wall. I tapped the concrete block wall, and it fell down. Revealing a trapezoidal area where I could actually stand upright. I used the rubble of the wall to build myself a chair. If the witch couldn't do something about my size, I was going to have trouble with my house. I was glad I had ten foot ceilings in most of the house. I'd still be ducking to get into my bedroom and the bathrooms.

My friend came storming out of the meeting room.

"All the local powers will be arriving soon, you need to be prepared..." a voice shouted at her from the conference room.

She cut of any further conversation by slamming the door shut on them.

"Nice chair. Get up, we have to go, there's people to save."

From behind the door I heard someone say "That's not your job! that's his, you'll upset the balance."

We left them behind and looked out over the field of hot springs, people were swimming in the well lit largest pool, and others were sitting in the smaller pools. No one, of course was anywhere near the boiling pools about half mile away. I noticed that the water was getting warmer, and that there was someone coming up from the depths.

"We have to get them out of the pool before it reaches the surface."

I shrugged and stood up to my full height, which was now somewhere near eight feet, I think. It was odd how much that two plus feet made everything look so much smaller. I shouted "Geothermal anomaly incoming, everybody out of the pool!"

That worked. I was surprised how loud I was, then noticed my friend had placed her hand on my back, I could feel the tendrils of her power pulling away from me. This could be trouble long term, I could feel it, she enjoyed playing the puppet master a little too much, and it made me sad. We made our way down the hill hand in hand, and her affection for me was palpable, I was very confused. I could see the creature below swimming for the surface, even though the water was too dark for normal vision. I leaned on the retaining wall, and without meaning to, caused it to collapse into the large pool.

I leaned over and waved both arms over my head at the creature to get it's attention, I waved it over away from the falling debris. It moved, and then watched the debris go by, hesitating.

A young man approached the other side of the pool and ran towards the cliff to dive in. Everyone around shouted "No!" at the same time. But he was already committed. He hit the water with a hiss and I could see him turning red even before his feet went under. My friend vanished and I knew she was trying to save the kid, I don't know that she'd have time. I turned my attention to the water boiling at me feet and stepped back from the heat. A large creature with a human face and segmented crayfish looking back and belly pulled itself out of the water.

"I am ready to defeat your champion!" As it stood up from my crouch he looked up at me and gulped. He held out a tube of gaming dice. "Do you have any dice?"

Now, I'm a long time game master with a dice addiction, so the answer was a resounding yes, only, they weren't on me. I asked if anyone had any dice to donate to the cause. After a few minutes I had a respectable pile of dice. He drew up a board on a broken cinder block and explained the rules, a combination of button men and some other dice territory games. Once I was fairly sure I understood the rules we chose our dice "teams."

I started talking to the Guardian of the Hot Springs, he liked that name. I asked him if he was the cause of the boiling, and he said no, it's a natural occurrence every decade or so. He could come up any time in some of the hotter pools, he just didn't like to, there weren't anyone who wanted to game with him. I could tell that wasn't entirely true, I was sure he spent a lot of time in the pools. I knew, somehow, that he could 'be' the water where it was above a certain temperature. The ritual of the Guardian of the Pool always ended up with people being injured, so he delayed as much as possible. I asked if he'd be able to surface before the event to warn people away. He stopped and looked at me.

"It would fit the name, you know." I said.

"I could, but the ritual..."

"Isn't this contest going to be the ritual this time?"


"So why not every time?"

"Oh." He sat looking at me, thinking about it. "But what if I lose, er, don't lose?" I could tell he wasn't even close to losing our contest, so he was worried about it at the moment. That struck me as odd, until I realized that he liked being the Guardian of the Springs. I looked at the tiny number of mismatched dice I had in my dusty grey reserve field, two of them were little pink pigs, we decided that the number of feet they had on the ground would be the number they expressed, and then looked at large shiny matched dice he still had in his home row. No, this context was all but over, only a truly miraculous set of bad throws on his part and great throws on my part could turn it around.

"Shouldn't the winner decide if they want to be the Guardian of the Pools?" I suggested.

He thought for a moment, then brightened, "Well, duh. Yes." I felt the magic plonk of rules and links being re-arranged and wondered if this was part of my ability to see how things were connected, and then discombobulate them.

"How many of these folks do you think would want your position, even if they could beat you in a game you've had decades to perfect your play? Plus, you're going to take the dice I lost as sacrifice, aren't you?"

"Hadn't actually thought of that, but sure, except, I want to get my dice back from you."

"Happy to swap prisoners at the end of the match."

The monster laughed. I asked if he like role playing games. I wasn't sure why, but something told me it was the right thing to ask.

"It's the only thing I miss from up here."

"Maybe we can figure out something to do about that. We'll have to play close to here, so you can do your job if needed, but I think there's a place big enough if we can get permission to use it." I was thinking of the recently renovated changing house lobby.

He made his last plays and I conceded the game. We traded prisoners so he had his original set complete, and several new dice. He didn't have any pockets for them, so I tore my pockets apart, and gave him one of the cargo pockets from the remains of my pants. "I don't know how that will hold up in the long run, but I'll toss you something better when I get a chance."

"Hey, thanks, man."

"Anything you can do about the kid?"

I pointed into the pool. He leaned over and stuck his hand in the water. "He's not there."

"He was pretty red..."

"Nope, no bones, nothing. I think your girlfriend got him."

I found myself hoping so. I decided not to correct him on the girlfriend thing, since she liked to use some of the hotter pools from time to time.

"Well, this hot bubble should be mixed in enough in a few hours, let people know that when I'm gone it should be safe again." And with that, he did a flip backwards into the large pool, and started zooming around underneath. I watched him with a little bit of envy, I would have liked to swim like that.

I noticed the elder magic types standing around with sour expressions and pursed lips.

I was expecting the little old lady of the group to bust out with "That's not how this works, that's not how any of this works," but she didn't, she just looked at me, shook her head and sighed. I smiled and waved.

I couldn't find my friend anywhere, and it was getting late, so I decided to stop ogling the coeds in the hot springs and go home. I was amazed at how fast everyone seemed to forget there was just a giant human crayfish swimming around, and that no one seemed to find it odd to see an old giant in a kilt and torn under shirt hanging out at the pools.

When I got to my car I realized that I was bigger than it, I typically drove it with the seat nearly all the way back, so an extra three inches wasn't going to cut it. I picked up the front end and began to pull it along the road home.


It took so long to document the first dream, even in low detail mode, that I don't remember anything about the second dream other than it took place in a hospital, and there was English Country Dancing, rolling intravenous stands, and wheelchairs involved.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Reality Storm

I was stranded on an Island Nation, my plane had crashed and us few survivors managed to patch ourselves together and get the attention of locals. The Island Folk were perfectly aware of the modern world, and some had even gone off the Islands to college, but had returned to farm and fish. When the first group of rescuers came I stayed behind because I was on one of the smaller islands, learning about the various fish, fowl and flora, what they were each used for, and what to avoid. I was a little bit depressed that I had missed the "rescue" plane, but decided that my letter home would be sufficient to let people know I was alive and well. I helped the village by repairing their packet radio receiver and the village cell tower (not that the cell phones really could reach off island, but the islanders could talk to one another. Because I had repair skills I was admitted into the ranks of the priesthood. When I was asked if that made me a witch-doctor by a tourist I explained that it was more like an Electron Shaman. That got a confused look from the tourist, and lots of laughs from the Islanders.

I was quite content with my life there, and glad to have been accepted for citizenship; the elders of the island sitting around drinking grape crush and root beers saying "yep, he belongs here."

One morning I was helping replace the batteries in a local fisherman's Garmin Navigation system when I spotted some really odd lightning filled clouds on the horizon.

"Reality Storm, looks like a bad one." The fisherman hurried me along and asked if I wanted to ship out to sea with him to avoid the storm.

I was feeling echoing flashes in my head, like a migraine coming on, so I deferred. He shook my hand and thanked me for everything. In doing so, it felt a lot more like a permanent good-bye.

I made my way back towards my tree house in the hills, the Reality Storm overtaking me with bright flashes overhead, big splots of rain and echoing flashes in my vision. I never made it. I remember seeing my friends running towards me as I collapsed and then the world vanished in a white hot blur of headache and flashing. When it subsided, I was someone else.

Or, more accurately, I was somewhere else, I had never been a shaman, and those memories were rapidly fading, but I was still a technician, retired, and very confused. With the help of a friend I managed to get out of bed and walked to the balcony. I apparently had a micro condo in a tall high-rise. I couldn't stop talking about the Island and my life there, but my friend suggested that it was just a fever dream, aided by the unseasonal lightning storm we'd just had. The paramedics insisted, however that I dress and come with them. At the hospital there were lots of tests and poking and prodding. What my prostate had to do with cluster migraines was beyond my, but "I'm no doctor." I joked. My sister came to visit, and was the only person who seemed to be very interested in my experience. She even encouraged me to remember as much as possible of it. It was odd, in a way. I knew she was my sister, but we both couldn't tell a single incident from our childhood together. She said not to worry about it, she might be able to shed some light on that later.

On my third night in the hospital, oddly not missing my own bed, because I really had the feeling that it wasn't really my bed at all, in the sense that I'd woken up in it, but hadn't ever really been in it before then, a visitor arrived. Hew was dressed as an orderly but introduced himself as a friend of my sisters. I thought that odd because it was definitely plural, but I was sure I only had one sister. He asked me about my experience with the Reality Storm. I had, by then decided it had just been a dream, but played along and told him about it. He asked if I was feeling anything about like it still. I wasn't, he grunted and sat down to continue our conversation.

Now, I hadn't been, but as we talked I noticed the tiny flashes starting at the back of my brain, just at the base of my vision. I mentioned that, figuring he might be interested. He nodded, rose, went to the cabinet next to the bed and handed my my clothes. "Let's get you out of here now." As I scooted to the end of the bed he took the big machine at the foot of the bed and laid it down where I'd been laying. "Hurry, before the storm gets here."

He was very urgent about it, so I dressed, wondering if leaving the hospital before falling victim to the headaches was actually a good idea. As we walked out of the Hospital. "Where are we going?"

"The storm is heading for your sisters, we need to be with them if we're going to weather this."

"Weather this? You mean this storm might send me back home, to the Island?"

"Not likely," he explained, "Reality Storms, as you call them, affect different folks in different ways. Some get tossed about to different times and places so often they start to remember all of them, some get shifted once and never again, we suspect some get shifted and blend right into the new reality without ever even knowing, and some pile up. Like your sister."

We entered a large suburban home, my sister, and two other of her were waiting for me in the large living room. I knew I only had one sister, but all three of them were her. "Oh, my." The flashes in my head increased and I collapsed into a chair. The four of them were talking when police broke in through the front and back doors simultaneously. The Orderly and my sister (well, one of them) grabbed me and crushed themselves together with me sandwiched between them. The lighting flashed and thunder from outside drowned out the orders of the police to get on the ground and the three of us found ourselves under a threatening sky in an alleyway with trash cans overflowing and the stink of not having been collected for a couple of weeks, at least.

"Garbage strike," I informed my companions. One was dressed as an orderly and the other seemed to be a mildly attractive housewife sort, very suburban looking and quite out of place in a trash-filled urban alleyway. I vaguely remembered dreaming of an Island and a shining clean hi-rise world with a high tech hospital. I wasn't sure what had happened that had made me collapse in the alley. I checked, my wallet was still in my pocket, so I didn't seem to have been mugged. I was grateful that these two had come along to help me up. We made our way out of the alleyway next to my apartment building.

"It worked, sort of." They spoke to one another in front of me like I was supposed to know them, or what was going on. It was apparent they knew one another, and I thought it was odd that I was being helped by two people from my dream while unconscious in the alley. Though, that made some sort of sense if I'd noticed them before I passed out.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Pointless, Mean Work.

I was working in cubeville, doing endless pointless, uninspiring and essentially mean work on the computer. (Designing stuff that was essentially mean to people.) I was retired from one job and had taken this job to refill my savings after making a rather impulsive purchase.

The manager of my part of the cube farm was even more uninspiring and mean, and I finally decided that I had enough. I went on a rant about the only way to keep us doing uninspiring, pointless and mean work was to pay us well and treat us well. And I don't have a complaint about how well we're paid.

The company boss came over and gave me the perfect bound quarter page sized booklet about how to "get along" the "Company Way." I pointed out that it was available on the company web site in PDF format, and I had read it. It was 64 quarter-pages about how to go along and get along with your bosses, and it was pointless and uninspired. I then took the book, slid the spine half off the table hold it firmly in place with one hand I whacked it the other, breaking the glued spine. I then tore it in half and gave it to my boss, who, flustered, wandered off in a huff. My co-workers just sort of kept their heads down and looked away while I went back to my work, which now consisted of labeling some of my assignments as "pointless," or, "Paint it whatever color you want, it doesn't really matter." And then I selected every part of the drawing and made it Primer colored.

At this point I figured they would either fire me or ignore me, but I figured they certainly wouldn't bother to try being less mean or uninteresting.

Labels: ,