Monday, July 11, 2011

Dream 07-10-11: Cats and Yarn

In my dream I am the lead character in an epic fantasy trilogy story. I play the dopey, clumsy and yet pure-at-heart lowly apprentice. I don’t remember much of the early part of the dream; it was all Roadtrip and petty intrigue and build-up for the final boss battle anyway. I do recall that Me and my buddy Mykel traveled to the final Good-Guys staging area in an old Rambler station wagon and at one point had all of our gear stolen, including Mykel’s sword, and my weapon of choice, a Kirby vacuum cleaner.

So I am hanging out in camp, watching all of the various heroes and armies and colorful characters saddling up and filing out onto the seaside road that will lead us to the Bad Guy’s castle. I’ve lost track of Mykel somewhere too. I am feeling lost and miserable, bereft of any weapon – I wasn’t sure how much my vacuum would’ve helped, but I thought I was reasonably smooth at operating it.

I am standing alongside the road then, watching this grim parade pass me by. At one point a Wizard in a motorboat comes along. The boat is on a trailer and he is standing in the boat and driving the truck ahead via swishes with his wand. Roped behind the motorboat is a smaller boat on its side that is dragging in the dust. The Wizard stops in front of me.

“Cats and Yarn! I’ll never keep up like this. You! Boy!” He addresses me. I step forward, humbly. “Yes, Sir?” I answer. He gestures behind him. “Get in that dinghy and steer! I don’t have time to figure out the knot I used to tie it up and now it’s slowing me down.”

I shrug, jog over to the tiny boat and set it upright. Its trailer is four wheels, each about 6 inches across. I climb aboard and look up at the wizard. He nods, sort of in thanks, and turns his attention to the empty, idling truck ahead of him and we set off.

My watercraft is about 3 feet long, and consists of a round padded seat that I sit on and a plastic steering wheel to hold onto. As we round the first corner I realize that the steering wheel is just for show – it isn’t connected to anything. Instinctively I lean in the proper direction and the dinghy turns and makes the turn. I try to look beneath me to see what the matter is, but the sides of the boat, tiny though they are, are just wide enough to prevent me from seeing any of the details of my vehicle.

The road is long, as it always is in Fantasy stories. The endless line of elephants, armies, juggernauts, flying dragons, mounted knights, etcetera, slowly makes its way North. The shining sea is on my left, and dense, dark impenetrable forest on my right. A cacophony of howls and grunts and scurryings can be heard emanating from it. The wizard has not looked back at me once, but I take that as a compliment on my leaning skills.

At this point a bicycle pulls up on my right. “Angus!” a familiar voice shouts. I look over and it is my friend Willow pedaling beside me. “Hi!” I reply. “What are YOU doing here?” she asks, and then looks at the rest of the strange vehicles that I am tied to. “And what ARE you doing?”

So I explain my purpose in this landlocked aquatic parade float, showing her a few leans and turns on my little dinghy. She laughs. I then ask her about the forest and all of the strange sounds coming from it. She glances at it once, and then back at me. “Oh yeah, you’re not from Winterhole. That forest is one of the richest in all the Lands. Game, fruit, nuts, all the food you could ever want. It’s just tough to get into, and there are so many animals in there that you may get run over in the mad confusion. In fact, it is said that you can’t raise your arm without Rock Squirrels coming and hanging vines on it and wrapping rocks around the vines.”

We both laugh. “Rock Squirrels are my friends.” She smiles, and then she grabs an overhanging branch as she wheels under it, breaking it off. She tosses me a stick. “See? Tough stuff.” She then nods her helmet in salute and pedals on up the road. I examine the black wood, which is almost like stone in my hands. I shrug and stick it in my shirt.

About 100 yards from the walls of the gigantic castle the Good Guys start assembling as they file into the clearing. The Wizard parks the empty truck and the boat trailer off to one side. He then climbs out and walks back to me, shiny purple robes trailing in the dust. “Now, unhook the boat from the trailer – that’s how I will fly into the castle. And see if you can untie that infernal dinghy – it’ll only slow me down. Cats and yarn! Now I’ve gotta go confer on strategy with those nincompoops.” He stalks off without waiting for a reply.

I climb off my little boat, sore and stiff, and begin unhooking and unlatching the big boat from its trailer. That done I start working on the rope that connects the two craft together. While I am working on that a booming voice emanates from the castle. “Have you chosen a Champion?” The reply is a cacophony of shouts and wails and elephants bellowing and jets of flame from the dragons. I shrug. Bureaucracy. That could take awhile.

I figure out the knot finally and roll the dinghy back away from it, coiling the rope and putting it over my head and over one shoulder, Gilligan style. The voice from the castle booms again. “Let one brave contestant step forth.” The reply this time is more perfunctory – they are busy negotiating and arguing.

My job complete I now take a look at the strange vehicle that I have been riding all this time. I am astounded to find that the vehicle under the little boat is motorized. I follow the mechanism up to the top, where the round padded seat is, and sure enough, there is a pull handle, like on a lawnmower. It’s a motorized barstool!

“Choose a Champion now!” The castle booms. “Or I will smite you all where you stand. My patience grows thin…..” the Bad Guy adds, menacingly. There is an uproar from all the assembled wizards and armies and knights.

Bored, I hop on the barstool boat, get my rope situated across my chest and yank the pull handle. The barstool instantly leaps to life and zooms me straight ahead, I barely have time to lean one way and the other, trying not to hit animals or combatants as they dive out of the way and yell at me. And then I am through and in the clearing and headed for the gates of the castle. I frantically look and feel around me, but I can find no brake or off-switch for the bar stool.

“This? This is your Champion?” The castle asks, incredulously. “No!” comes the reply from the Good Guys, finally united on at least one point. The voice from the castle actually chuckles. A roar of condemnation arises from the Good Guys. “So be it.” The Bad Guy says, trying to be grim, but only partially succeeding. I feel a wave of rainbow power hit me and suddenly I am floating in the air, over the castle walls, and headed for the topmost tower in the center of the castle complex. I look behind me and I can see the vast array of the Good Guys, all leaping and shouting and gesticulating at me.

And when I look forward again I am now staring at the feet of the Bad Guy. His foot is as big as I am on my barstool, which is now idling. I look up and he is huge, even sitting on his mighty throne. Think of the Devil from Fantasia done up in shiny black scales. In his right hand is a tree trunk, all smooth and polished. It takes me a moment to register that this is his wand.

He looks down at me now, depthless black eyes regarding me, and swings his wand my way. “Well,” he says casually, “You were Brave. I’ll give you that much.” And electric fire bursts forth from his wand. I instinctively lean forward and the barstool leaps into gear and shoots off. The spell from the treetrunk wand just nicks the back of my dinghy as it zooms away, breaking the shell of the boat off, leaving me with just the barstool.

It is much faster now. I race around the polished wooden floor, leaning this way and that. The Bad Guy shoots electric fire bolts at me that create big, smoking holes in the floor. The smoke hides me pretty well, and the leaning skills I picked up on the road serve me well now as I dodge all of his attacks.

The Bad Guy grows more frustrated and starts firing more wildly, taking out chunks of the tower wall that fall and destroy other parts of the castle. The floor, holed like a swiss cheese now starts to bend and twist and my bartstool is starting to smoke itself as the tiny motor overheats. I circle widely around, taking a look at the floor between me and the Bad Guy, He shoots at me, but short, buckling the floorboards into a rough ramp shape. I lean far forward and the game little barstool blasts forward one last time. I hold on as best I can, steering it towards the broken floor. A firebolt from the Bad Guy flies over my head and takes out most of the wall behind me. The Bad Guy is bathed in sunlight now.

The barstool hits the ramp as the Bad Guy reacts to the sunlight by jerking out of its path. I fly through the air, leaning one last time. I hit his right arm, grasping onto one of his scales as I use my legs to jam the barstool into his armpit, forcing his arm out straight. His tree trunk wand falls to the floor with a mighty crash, tumbling down through the floorboards and on down the many floors of the tower crashing and crashing and crashing and finally stabbing itself into the floor of the dungeon far below.

The Bad Guy is stunned. I climb up onto his outstretched arm and uncoil the rope. While I am affixing it to one of his scales I begin to hear a strange scratching sound; an epic scurrying. I wind the rope around my rear and wind it around itself in front of me and then I repel off of his shoulder, just as the Bad Guy begins to swing at me with his left hand. As I descend down, past the smoking and straining barstool motor, aiming for what is left of the floor, hundreds of squirrels pass me, each as big as a footlocker, swarming up the trunk of the Bad Guy and onto his outstretched right arm. Each squirrel carries a length of vine in its claws and several good size rocks in its cheeks. They begin hanging their vines off of his scales and winding their rocks into the vines.

I hit the ground, teetering on one of the holes in the floor and then duck as the Bad Guy’s mighty left fist comes flying through the air. I leap away and then run around as best I can, dodging his fist, which is as big as Me. The floor is now more holes than floor, and I am growing very tired and discouraged. “Cats and yarn!” I yell breathlessly as I hop across a wide hole in the floor. The stick in my shirt vibrates.

I stop short as the fist smashes through the floor in front of me, momentarily getting stuck in the floor below. “Cats and yarn!” I exclaim again, and the stick in my shirt jumps against my chest. I pull out the wand, look at it and then point it towards the gigantic scaly forearm in front of me. “CATS AND YARN!!” I shout, barely hearing myself over the noise of the squirrels and their rocks and the grinding gears of the dying barstool.

Instantly hundreds of cats and thousands of skeins of yarn erupt from my wand, landing all over the scales of the arm and creating a stupendous mess. Bellowing, the Bad Guy rips his arm from the floorboards, but it is too late: hundreds of cats hanging on with their claws and batting at the dangling yarn is too much for him and he cannot raise his left arm high enough to smash me.

I step back, almost out of the tower and behold the colossal sight before me. One arm wedged out and covered with huge squirrels and vines, the other covered in cats tangled in  yarn. The bad guy grimaces at me in unholy rage. “Cats and squirrels?!” He bellows. “I have no spells against cats and squirrels!!”

I hear a cheering behind me, and I turn carefully around, poised on the edge of the crumbling tower, and see the armies of the Good Guys all waving and smiling at me. And then a tremendous explosion rips the air as the barstool’s motor explodes, ripping off the Bad Guys right arm and sending it like a missile through a hole in the tower wall, with hundreds of screaming squirrels jumping off along the way. The cats, distracted from their yarn by the squirrel screams, leap as one and follow the arm-missile, jumping over the heaving and buckling floorboards, leaving the bad guys left arm free, albeit covered in thousands of brightly colored, shredded strands of yarn.

The Bad Guy leans down and regards me, as he flexes his still mighty left arm. Black blood gushes from his right arm socket. The crowd behind me goes silent. “Cats and Squirrels?!” He thunders in my face. “You come after me with Cats! And Squirrels! They are BENEATH me!!” And he sits up again, plopping himself back down on his mighty throne.

I look up at him and smile. “On contraire. There is nothing beneath you.” And the Bad Guys soulless eyes pop wide in alarm as the floor beneath him gives way and he and his throne go crashing down through the tower, smashing through floor after floor, down and down and down to the dungeon where he is impaled on his own wand and dies with a resigned gurgling noise.

Bereft of its flooring the tower itself is now collapsing in on itself. I look back behind me and see the Wizard, floating up in his motorboat. “All aboard!” he smiles. I leap into the boat as the tower walls fall in and the entire structure quickly disintegrates. The wizard and I float serenely down to the clearing in front of the castle as the armies and elephants and dragons cheer.

A General steps forward and addresses. “Who? Who is this brave Champion who has rid us of this mighty Evil?” Mykel then steps out of crowd and hands me my beloved Kirby vacuum. “’Angus’ is his name!” and the crowd cheers once more.

I search the crowd and find Willow, who is petting a squirrel and feeding it pebbles. She smiles and winks at me.

As Mykel and I walk towards the camp, as the sun settles in the ocean to the West, as the mouth-watering aroma of dragon-fire-roasted-squirrel reaches my nose, the General approaches. “Oh mighty Angus!” He addresses me and salutes. I move my vacuum to my other hand and salute back. “Defender of all the Lands!” he says. I wait. He takes off his Generals hat and looks ashamed. “We now have this cat problem……”

Transcribed in two hours, directly from dreamstate.
2,700 words
Angus McMahan

1 comment:

  1. “CATS AND YARN!!” I'll never watch a cat play with a ball of yarn again without thinking of this tale.